AT least 102 civilians have reportedly been massacred in the latest outbreak of ethnic violence in Ethiopia.
Local reports said the Ethiopian army had responded by killing at least 42 militants in the western region of Benishangul-Gumuz.
The attack on civilians came a day after a visit by prime minister Abiy Ahmed – last year’s Nobel peace prize winner – who called for armed rebels to be brought to justice.
The attacks are separate from the ongoing conflict in the breakaway Tigray region in Northern Ethiopia.
Yesterday locals near Bulen in the west of the country said armed men raid began the massacre at dawn.
Farmer Belay Wajera told Reuters he counted 82 bodies in a field near his home.
He and his family awoke to the sound of gunshots and ran out of their home as men shouted “catch them”.
He said his wife and five of his children were shot dead.
He was shot in the buttocks, while four other children escaped and are now missing.
Another resident of the town, Hassen Yimama, said armed men stormed the area at about 6am.
He said he counted 20 bodies in a different location. He grabbed his own weapon but assailants shot him in the stomach.
A local medic said he and colleagues had treated 38 injured people, most suffering from gunshot wounds.
Patients had told him of relatives killed with knives, and gunmen who set houses on fire and shot at people trying to escape, he said.
“We weren’t prepared for this and we are out of medicine,” a nurse at the same facility told Reuters, adding that a five-year-old child had died while being transferred to the clinic.
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The federal government blamed a local separatist militia and launched a revenge attack today, according to reports.
They are said to have killed at least 42 and captured weapons.