Communal clashes in Ethiopia’s western Benishangul Gumuz regional state left eight people dead over the weekend, authorities said on Monday.
The clashes involved ethnic Gumuz native to the regional state and ethnic Amharas who’ve migrated to the area over the past decade.
Nigusu Tilahun, spokesperson for Amhara regional state, said 11 people suspected of involvement in the clashes have been arrested.
However, Tilahun said the clashes were of a personal nature and not ethnic-based.
The Ethiopian Army and police have secure the area to prevent further clashes, he said.
Ethnic Amhara activists said the figure of eight dead was an underestimation and that the clashes were ethnic-based and not of a personal nature.
Ethiopia’s version of ethnic federalism has been credited with ensuring the relative stability of the Horn of Africa country and giving economic, cultural and political rights to the 80 plus ethnic groups living in it.
However, critics allege Ethiopia’s ethnic federalism is in danger of magnifying ethnic differences at the expense of unity among the country’s population of more than 100 million. Enditem