ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia
The death toll from Wednesday’s armed attack in Ethiopia’s western Benishangul-Gumuz region has risen to 207, the country’s rights body said late Friday.
The Ethiopian Rights Commission (EHRC) said in a statement that 133 of the victims were adult men and 35 were adult women. Besides, 17 children, one of whom a six-month-old baby, and 20 elderly persons were killed. Two of the victims died while receiving treatment in a hospital in Bulen.
“We are engaged in verifying the identities of the deceased with help of survivors and Identification cards,” the commission said, adding that it’s following the burial processions.
“A committee comprising of members of the police, regional authorities and the General Attorney’s Office has been set up and is currently monitoring the identification, registration and burial of victims,” they added.
Over 10,500 people from Chilanko, Bekuji, Dishbako, Bar as well as Bekuji Kelebe have been displaced and are sheltered in bus stations, schools and meeting halls, the statement noted.
The committee emphasized that “While Bulen residents and volunteers are seeing to their basic needs, for the time being, there is an urgent need for a more sustainable humanitarian assistance.”
On Wednesday, armed people from Gumuz ethnic group attacked minorities in Bulen County.
The attack came a day after the country’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed visited the region.
Scores of regional officials suspected of involvement in the attack have been arrested.
An official in the regional capital, who asked not to be named due to security concerns, told Anadolu Agency that sweeping security measures are currently underway in the region.
“Military personnel is arriving in the region and more officials suspected of assisting the rebel are being taken into custody,” he said.
*Dilan Pamuk contributed to this report from Ankara