More than 101,000 people have been displaced due to unfolding attacks in Ethiopia’s Benishangul-Gumuz regional state since July 2020, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) has said.
“Between end of July 2020 and 04 January 2021, more than 101,000 people were displaced by violence from Bullen, Dangur, Dibate, Guba, Mandura and Wombera woredas (districts) of Metekel zone in Benishangul Gumuz region,” the UNOCHA said in its situation report published on Wednesday.
Due to “the deteriorating security situation in the zone, humanitarian access and lifesaving assistance to the 28,000 returnees and 101,000 new internally displaced persons (IDPs) are challenging,” it said.
It also noted that the regional government has been providing limited lifesaving assistance since July 2020 using armed escorts.
Clusters at sub-national level have been mapping resources but so far insecurity has not allowed transporting staff and commodities to affected areas.
The Ethiopian federal government is in the process of establishing an Emergency Coordination Center (ECC) in the Metekel zone to coordinate the humanitarian response to the IDPs, the UNOCHA noted.
In recent years, deadly inter-communal violence has taken place in the Metekel zone, eventually killing hundreds of civilians.
In late December, the zone witnessed similar deadly attacks, which claimed the lives of at least 207 civilians, Ethiopia’s federal rights group confirmed.
Among the victims were some 20 elderly persons as well as 17 children, including a six-month-old baby, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC), a rights group established by the Ethiopian parliament, said on Dec. 26.
The latest bloodshed, which occurred at around 10:00 pm local time (1900 GMT) on Dec. 22, was carried out by armed men who set fire and shot at residents while they were asleep, the commission said.