Melese Beyene, head of the Benishangul-Gumuz Regional State Government Communication Affairs Office. Picture: Metekel Zone

By Siyanne Mekonnen @Siyaanne

Addis Abeba, December 09/2020 – Benishangul Gumuz regional state communication bureau announced that security forces in the regional state have started taking “decisive measures” against armed groups accused of killing civilians in Meteke Zone of the region.

According to Melese Beyene, head of the Benishangul-Gumuz Regional State Government Communication Affairs Office, although the deadline given to these armed groups to surrender has come to an end on December 08, no member of the armed groups in the area has surrendered. The regional state blames these armed groups are associated with and supported by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and Oromo Liberation Army (ALA), a breakaway armed faction of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF).

Melese further said that members of the national defense forces, the regional state’s anti-terrorism task force, the special forces and members of the regional militia were coordinating the measures and were determined to take “a decisive measure once and for all.”

It is to be remembered that on December 02, Ashadli Hassan, President of Benishangul Gumuz regional state, has issued a one week ultimatum to “anti-peace” armed groups operating in Metekel zone “to surrender.” He said these armed forces, who he accused were supported by TPLF, were engaged in destabilizing the region.

In a related news, yesterday, the Amhara Mass Media Agency (AMMA) reported that there have been fresh round of attack against civilians who were collecting their harvests in Debate Wereda which left more than 10 people killed.  “Residents of Metekel Zone, Dabate Woreda and surrounding areas reported that OLF Shenie and other anti-peace forces brutally killed people,” AMMA said, adding the attack were mounted when residents “started collecting their crops together; they were surrounded by armed forces from the forest [who] brutally killed more than 10 innocent people. Residents of Debate said they are still in a state of panic as the situation is dire,” AMMA said.

Melese Beyene was quoted as saying “a special order has been issued to the army, the regional special force, the federal police and the local militia to ensure stability in the area. He said the Benishangul-Gumuz regional state is aware that OLF militants are active in the neighboring kebeles of Albasa, Korka, Muzen, Senbosre, Galisa and neighboring Bullen Woredas,” AMMA reported.

The attack in Debate Wereda came a day after the commissioner of the Amhara Regional State, Commissioner Abere Adamu, announced that the Amhara regional state police was requesting the federal government to either be given the responsibility or for the federal government to intervene in Benishagul Gumz regional state in order to stabilize growing security crisis in Metekel zone of the region and secure the safety and security of civilians. AS

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