by Engidu Woldie
ESAT News (June 27, 2018)
At least seven people were killed yesterday in ethnic violence in Asosa, Benishangul Gumuz region in Western Ethiopia, while several people were injured, some critically.
A hospital source speaking on the phone from Asosa told ESAT that he saw seven bodies. He said most have died from an apparent gunshot wounds and thirteen people are in critical condition. The source feared the death toll could rise.
According to the source, the locals in the region known as the Bertas have launched an attack against other ethnic groups, whom they called “Habeshas,” demanding they leave their region. The source said police shot and killed the non-locals who were holding a counter protest against the attack by the Bertas.
ESAT has received gruesome pictures of attacks by the Bertas.
Calm has been restored in Asosa today despite the sound of sporadic gunshots. Members of the defense forces have been dispatched to the region to restore order.
Meanwhile, local police shot and killed two people in Mao Komo district in Benishangul region in a demonstration held in support of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Reports show 40 others were wounded. It was not clear why the local police would shoot and kill people who came out in support of a populist Prime Minister.
The developments in Benishangul and similar incidents in other regions are feared to become a snag in the efforts of Dr. Ahmed, who has been touring regions, calling for restraint, forgiveness and peace among ethnic groups.