ADDIS ABABA (AFP) — Dozens of civilians were shot dead in ethnic clashes in Ethiopia’s northern Amhara state, a regional official said Friday, describing the attacks as retaliation for earlier violence.
“Search and rescue missions are still ongoing to find victims and survivors from Monday’s attack, but I can confirm the death toll runs into several dozen,” Geleta Hailu, the director of communications in neighboring Benishangul Gumuz state, told AFP.
He did not provide an exact death toll but said more than 80 people were injured in the assault on the Gumuz ethnicity in the state, and 90 others had taken shelter in a local school.
The gunmen have not been identified but Geleta said the attacks appeared to be retribution for the killing of at least 21 people in separate clashes last weekend between the Gumuz and Amhara ethnic groups in Benishangul Gumuz state.
Homes were also torched in that outbreak of violence, which local officials said began as a dispute between two laborers.
Communal clashes, typically sparked by disputes over land, are common in Ethiopia where a fast growing population has added to pressures on farmers in a country of sharp ethnic divisions.