By Staff Reporter
September 27, 2020 (Ezega.com) -- Eight gunmen were killed by government troops in counter-attacks in the Metekel zone of Ethiopia’s Benishangul Gumuz regional state, a military general has said.
The gunmen, believed by the military authorities to be bandits, had massacred at least 150 ethnic Amhara, Agew and Shinasha people in the same region over three months.
The latest being the killing of at least 20 civilians in Dengez locality in Dangur district that took place around midnight.
The gunmen also killed at least 89 ethnic Amhara, Agew and Shinasha people two weeks ago in extended attacks in Wenbera and Bulen district of the same region.
“We launched a counter attack after we received information about the killings around 6:00 AM," said Brigadier General Negari Tolina, commander of the 22nd regiment under the west command of the Ethiopian National Defence.
The attackers had tried to escape but eight of them were killed in counter attacks, he said though the killing is not confirmed by a third party.
Some of the gunmen fled in disarray abandoneding some of their military equipment, said Negari who spoke nothing if there were gunmen surrendered.
The commander said the army is conducting multiple military operations to defeat the gunmen who are belived to have armed with heavy weapons.
Massacre, Banditry and looting of properties belonging to ethnic Amhara, Agew and Shinasha and other criminal activities have recently become rampant in Benishangul Gumuz region after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power in April 2020.
The military commander said they are in control of the situation with ongoing multiple operations against the gunmen.
Meanwhile, the Federal Attorney General said it has filed lawsuits against 5728 suspects over the killings of more than 200 civilians that occurred following the death of prominent Oromo singer Hachalu Hundessa late in June.
The suspects have been accused of participating in identity based attacks said the attorney general while announcing completion of its investigation against them on Friday.
In a briefing jointly delivered with the Oromia Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General Fikadu Tsega said 3377 of the suspects will face the charges at the federal courts and the 2351 are to face the charges in Ormia courts and they will be charged with 114 and 374 files respectively.
Attorney General Gedeon Timoteos said many number of people participated in the attack though some opposition forces blame the government for engaging in a mass arrest. According to the attorney some politicians were also arrested for alleged involvement in the attack not because of their political ideology.
Fikadu said those suspects who were identified to have lower participation in the attack will be released on bail as of next week.
The Office of the federal attorney general in a statement said 167 people were killed, 360 others wounded and 4.67 billion worth of property destroyed during July’s violence that followed the death of popular singer.
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