12 killed, 21 injured in Ethiopian ethnic conflict

Unrest in central Ethiopia
Unrest in central Ethiopia

An ethnic conflict in Ethiopia’s Gambella regional state located in the western part of the country has killed 12 people, an Ethiopian official said on Thursday.

Speaking to media outlets, Thomas Tut, Head of Gambella region security bureau, said the ethnic clashes which happened for several days last week was sparked by the murder of a local official. “The murder of a local official in Nuer zone of Gambella regional state sparked deadly ethnic clashes that left 12 people dead and 21 others injured,”. “Another 7,000 people were displaced in the clashes, while more than 400 houses were destroyed and at least 300 livestock were looted in the clashes,” said Tut.

Gambella regional state police force personnel have been deployed federal police and army units to prevent a possible recurrence of the deadly ethnic clashes. Security forces have also arrested six people suspected of involvement in the ethnic clashes pending a completion of preliminary investigation into the violence. In recent years, deadly clashes between various ethnic groups in Gambella regional state has killed scores and displaced thousands. The clashes are mainly over access to power and land resources.

Ethiopia follows an ethnic federalism model, which has been credited with giving self-governance rights to more than 80 ethnic groups that make up the country’s estimated 110 million plus population. However, critics claim that the ethnic federalism model magnifies ethnic diversity at the expense of national unity causing occasional ethnic tension and clashes.

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