ADDIS ABABA (Xinhua)―The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) said on Tuesday (October 2, 2018) that more than 70,000 people have been displaced by communal violence in western Ethiopia’s Benishangul Gumuz regional state.

In a press statement, UN-OCHA said communal violence in the Kamashi zone (one of the three zones) of Benishangul Gumuz regional state since the weekend has left more than 70,000 people displaced inside the region or flee to the neighboring Oromia regional state.

The recent communal violence was triggered by the killings on Wednesday of four high-ranking Benishangul Gumuz regional state officials in neighboring Oromia regional state, the statement said.

The officials were reportedly heading back home attending an inter-regional security meeting between Oromia and Benshangul regional states.

On Tuesday, Chief Communications Officer of Benishangul Gumuz regional state Zelalem Jaleta told state media that communal clashes in Benishangul Gumuz, near areas bordering Oromia regional state, has left at least 44 people dead and tens of thousands of others displaced.

Zelalem Jaleta said the federal army and police forces are currently deployed in the area in collaboration with local security forces to calm the situation.

In addition to UN-OCHA’s press statement, the East African wing of Amnesty International called for the Ethiopian government “to investigate the killing of at least 40 people in Kamashi Zone, Benishangul and bring to justice those responsible for killings and assassination of 4 Zone officials during the conflict.”

Benishangul Gumuz regional state witnessed a similar deadly unrest in May involving locals and other ethnic groups residing in the region, reportedly over access to land and state resources.

Benishangul Gumuz hosts Ethiopia’s largest development project, the 6,450 MW Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which is under construction on the Blue Nile River.

Source: Xinhua
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