ESAT News (September 19, 2016)
Residents of Gizan in Benishangul Gumuz region in south western Ethiopia protest against high brass army commanders and officials of the TPLF who went to the area to explore gold. The locals were protesting against the robbing of their natural resources by the over 1000 corrupt army commanders, officials and cronies of the regime who settled in Gizan as gold prospectors.
Over 300 locals who took part in the protest were arrested by security forces and reports say up to 20 people might have died while in detention.
Head of the Benishangul Human Rights Organization, Kalid Nesir told ESAT that the region, which is rich in gold, has been targeted by the regime’s army commanders, whose only interest is enriching themselves while the locals have never benefitted from the natural resources.
Kalid, who said his organization has a list of the victims, told ESAT that the detainees were also falsely accused of terrorism, a charge the regime routinely uses to stifle any kind of dissent.
He said what happened in Benishangul was part of the pattern of scramble over natural resources by regime officials in Gambella and other regions rich in natural resources.
The regime has deployed army to the area to control the protest, he said.
An Egyptian mine company that signed exploration agreement with the regime two years ago had found out that the region is rich in gold and other precious stones that is unparalleled anywhere in the country.