60 Ethiopians arrested over suspected role in ethnic violence

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Benishangul Gumuz region of Ethiopia.
ADDIS ABABA (Xinhua) — Ethiopia said on Friday it has arrested 60 individuals for their suspected roles in ethnic violence in the western part of the country.

The 60 suspects are accused of masterminding and executing violent acts against civilians in the border areas of Benishangul Gumuz and Oromia regional states.

In a press statement, Ethiopia’s Oromia regional state communication bureau said the arrests were made in the last few days in coordination with regional and federal law enforcement bodies.

A total of 27 Kalashnikov rifles, 140 traditional rifles, four grenades, five handguns and 261 arrows were seized along with the suspects, the statement said.

In December, Ethiopia established a command post to deal with a security crisis along the Benishangul Gumuz and Oromia regional states.

The border areas of the two regional states have in recent years witnessed deadly unrest involving various ethnic groups residing in the border areas. The dispute is reportedly over access to land and state resources.

The unrest has led to the death of scores of people and displacement of around 255,000 others, according to a recent report from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

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