Officials in Ethiopia’s Benishangul Gumuz regional state announced on Monday they have arrested 121 people suspected of involvement in a recent deadly attack.
In a press statement, Benishangul Gumuz regional state communications affairs office, said the 121 suspects are accused of involvement in a recent deadly attack that left at least 13 people dead. In July, unidentified gunmen killed 13 civilians and injured several others in Benishangul Gumuz regional state.
“Federal and regional security forces recently conducted a joint security operation to apprehend suspects behind the recent attack, and 121 people have been arrested in the security operation accused of various offenses ranging from suspected direct role in the recent attack to criminal negligence,” said the statement.
Ethiopian officials have previously stated the attack had an ethnic focus with all the dead being ethnic Amharas who have settled in the region in the last several decades.
Benishangul Gumuz Regional State, located in Western Ethiopia along the Ethiopia-Sudan border, hosts Ethiopia’s largest development project the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which is under construction on the Blue Nile River with a construction cost of close to 4.7 billion U.S. dollars.
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 100 million people.
However, critics claim that the ethnic federalism model magnifies ethnic diversity at the expense of national unity, leading to occasional ethnic tension and clashes.