More than 200 killed in massacre in Ethiopia

Around 10,000 people on the run from violence (Press Release)

The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) has warned of increasing inter-ethnic conflicts and a civil war in Ethiopia. Previously, it had become known that at least 207 people died in a massacre in the west of the country on December 23, 2020. Initially, it was assumed that about one hundred people were killed. In the course of a pursuit, 42 people were killed by the security forces. Apparently, most of the victims are members of the Shinasha minority, but there are also Oromo and Amhara among the victims – men, women, children and elderly people. Over the last few months, there has been a significant increase in attacks on minority groups, committed by members of the Gumuz, who are in the majority in Benishangul Gumuz state. The increasing tensions are often based on land disputes.

Around 10,000 people have fled the violence in the Metekel district of Benishangul Gumuz state since Christmas Eve, and the STP is calling for humanitarian aid for the refugees. The human rights organization emphatically warned against a renewed military intervention by the Ethiopian army along the lines of the operation in Tigray province, which began in November 2020. "The catastrophic human rights situation and the humanitarian consequences of the military operation in Tigray are not properly documented – and politicians of Ethiopia's ruling party are already calling for another military intervention in Benishangul Gumuz. We can only warn against such a military operation. The consequences would be devastating for the Horn of Africa," stated Ulrich Delius, the STP's Director, in Göttingen on Saturday. This month, politicians of the Women's League of the ruling party have repeatedly demanded an intervention of the Ethiopian army in Benishangul Gumuz in order to end the violence.

The STP expressed deep concern over the escalation of inter-ethnic tensions and called for a political solution to the underlying land conflicts and political disputes, emphasizing that priority would have to be given to the protection of minorities. Furthermore, those who are responsible for the violence must be held accountable. Otherwise, Ethiopia will see another increase in the already high number of internally displaced persons (currently about 2.8 million).