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News: Escalating violence claims lives, fuels tensions in Gambela region

According to an informant, an ambulance transporting a patient to Gambella City encountered a barrage of gunfire on 01 February 2024, leading to the death of the police officer who was escorting the ambulance (Photo: Local Source)

Addis Abeba – A succession of violent assaults carried out by ethnic militias in the Gambela region last week has led to the loss of two lives and inflicted multiple injuries, according to residents who interviewed by Addis Standard.

During a particular incident that occurred on 01 February, 2024, an ambulance transporting a patient from Kuergeng town in Lare district to Gambella city encountered a barrage of gunfire, leading to the unfortunate demise of the police officer who was escorting the ambulance upon its arrival in Abol town.

A resident who preferred anonymity revealed that the ambulance driver harbored apprehensions about the journey owing to the recognized risks associated with such assaults. Despite the police officer effectively repelling the initial attacks, they encountered another ambush near the police station in Abol town around 3 p.m.

The informant asserted additional claims suggesting that the assault was executed by law enforcement personnel from the Angwa ethnic group. Consequently, it has been reported that four police officers have been apprehended in relation to the aforementioned incident.

According to the residents, there is heightened tension prevailing within Abol town subsequent to the occurrence of the assault.

In a separate incident on 30 January 2024, a Bajaj vehicle en route from the Baro Dar locality within the Itang special district to the Nuer settlement area near the hillside area was ambushed by armed individuals, leading to the fatality of the driver, another resident conveyed to Addis Standard.

The resident further divulged that the assailants purportedly belonged to the Angwa militant group. He alleges that the driver met his demise due to his involvement in the transportation of food and other essential supplies intended for residents who belong to Nuer ethnic group.

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The recent assaults compound a succession of violent episodes observed within the Gambela region in the preceding year.

On 13 July, 2023, three individuals succumbed to fatalities, and 23 sustained injuries in a violent assault targeting two public buses in close proximity to Gambela city.

According to local sources, the incident transpired at a site known as Ochom, situated on the outskirts of Gambela city.

In the same month, an armed militia incursion targeted a Nuer village situated in Gambela city, leading to a minimum of 31 fatalities and 20 injuries. Among those who perished was Kwang Nial Poh, a faculty member of the psychology department at Gambela University. AS

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