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News: Normalcy returns to Godere district, Gambella region after deadly attack claims six lives

Meti town, major urban center in the Godere district, Majang zone, Gambella region (Photo: Godere Communication Office/Facebook)

Addis Abeba – After a fatal attack that claimed six lives, towns in the Godere district of Majang zone in Gambella region are now gradually regaining normalcy, according to local residents who spoke to Addis Standard.

According to an anonymous local resident who spoke with Addis Standard, six individuals fell victim to consecutive attacks that occurred on Monday evening, 04 September and the next morning, orchestrated by unidentified armed groups in Goshne and Akash kebeles/villages.

The resident further revealed that the assailants claimed the lives of four rural dwellers who were peacefully resting together within their farming residence on Monday evening. Furthermore, it was disclosed that another two farmers fell victim to the same group when they arrived at the scene the following morning to examine the initial killings. This resident also revealed that a similar incident had transpired in the area back in 2007 during the month of Pagume.

Another resident, speaking anonymously to Addis Standard, alleged that the attackers belonged to the Majang community and cited an alleged land dispute as their motive for the heinous act, accusing farmers from the Amhara community of encroaching on their territory.

In the aftermath of these tragic events, both residents informed Addis Standard that the local community refused to bury the victims, opting instead to transport the deceased to Meti town in pursuit of justice from government officials.

A Meti town resident, who also wished to remain anonymous, disclosed that the deceased were brought to the city by the affected farmers on Tuesday, which escalated tensions in the urban center. However, following discussions with local officials, the resident revealed that the farmers eventually returned to their homes and conducted a proper burial for the deceased.

All residents who communicated with Addis Standard unanimously reported that the zone has now reverted to a state of normalcy, with essential services such as banking, transportation, and other facilities resuming regular operations.

On Friday, following a discussion held between a zonal security task force and residents drawn from seven villages surrounding Meti town, major urban center in the district, the district’s communication office acknowledged the loss of lives and property damage during the attack, and emphasized that a thorough investigation is underway to identify and hold the perpetrators accountable.

The security task force called on the community to support efforts to return to their homes those displaced by the attack and restore lasting peace to the areas.

Earler on Wednesday, the Task Force announced that the security challenges  experienced in the Godere district are now being effectively managed. Consequently, the Task Force has issued a directive for government employees, public transport services, and banks to resume their normal operations. Furthermore, the statement explicitly prohibits the possession of illegal weapons and other concealed firearms for all individuals, except authorized security forces.

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Gambella region has lately been a scene for deadly armed attacks. On 13 July, three individuals were killed and 23 injured in a violent attack on two public buses near Gambella city, Addis Standard reported speaking to two local sources. The buses were enroute from Wentawo district of Nuer zone to Gambela city and were ambushed in Ochom, just 10km outside of Gambella City. The sources claimed that the victims were from the Neur community whereas the attackers were alleged to ethnic Agnwa militias.

Five days later, on 18 July, another deadly attack on Nuer village in the city of Gambella resulted in at least 31 fatalities and 20 injuries, according to a source who spoke with Addis Standard. The source, who is close to the matter, said 19 people from the village and 12 from the attackers, who are alleged to be ethnic Angwa militias from Abol district, were killed during the attack, adding that among the dead is Kwang Nial Poh, a respected member of the psychology department at Gambella University.

On July 24, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) urgently called for attention to the security crisis in the Gambella region, citing severe human rights consequences following recent ethnic militia attacks in various areas, including Itang special woreda, Gambella woreda, Gog woreda, and Gambella city, which have resulted in significant harm and rights violations among residents. AS

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