ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopian troops clashed with gunmen involved in a deadly attack in the western Benishangul-Gumuz region, killing 42 of them and seizing bows and arrows and other weapons, state Fana TV reported Thursday.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said he was sending more troops to secure the region bordering Sudan the day after unidentified gunmen killed more than 100 people in a village there.
Ethiopia has struggled with outbreaks of violence since Abiy was appointed in 2018 and accelerated democratic reforms that loosened the state’s iron grip on regional rivalries.
“The massacre of civilians in the Benishangul-Gumuz region is very tragic,” Abiy said on Twitter. “The government has deployed a necessary force to solve the root causes of the problem.”
Fana TV reported that the military had killed “42 anti-peace elements” without saying when the clash took place or identifying the gunmen. It said the armed group had participated in Wednesday’s attack in Bulen County, citing regional officials.
Dawn raid on the village of Bekoji killed more than 100 people, the Ethiopian State Human Rights Commission said. Residents told Reuters they had seen dozens of dead bodies. Doctors said they treated people with gunshot wounds and stab wounds.
The Ethiopian state news agency reported that five senior officials, including a prime minister of the federal government, have been arrested in connection with security issues in Benishangul-Gumuz.
The Ethiopian military has been fighting insurgents in the separate northern Tigray region for more than six weeks in a conflict that has displaced more than 950,000 people. The rollout of federal troops that has led to fears of a security vacuum in other recurring regions.
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