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News: Three killed, 23 injured after unidentified militias launch deadly attack on public buses near Gambella city

Bullet holes on one of the buses (Photo: AS Source)

Addis Abeba – Three individuals were killed and 23 injured in a violent attack on two public buses near Gambella city, in the Gambella region. The assault took place on 13 July at a place called Ochom on the outskirts of Gambella city, according to two local sources who spoke to Addis Standard.

“The buses were en route from Wentawo district of Nuer zone to Gambela city when they were ambushed in Ochom, just 10km outside of the Gambella City,” said one of the sources, who asked to remain anonymous for their safety. The source further clarified that the victims were from the Neur community.

Another local resident, also requesting anonymity, detailed the circumstances of the attack. “Despite the presence of security forces escorting the buses—a measure taken due to the rising fear of attacks following similar incidents— the attackers managed to launch their assault from the rear, where the vehicles were most vulnerable,” the resident informed Addis Standard.

The buses endured damages during the attack (Photo: AS Source)

The second resident went on to disclose the specific methods employed in the violent attack. “One of the buses was targeted with a bomb, while the other was subjected to a barrage of gunfire,” the source revealed, highlighting the severity of the incident.

Following the assault, the injured passengers were immediately transported to Gambella’s primary hospital for emergency medical care, according to the first local source. The source alleged that the militiamen who perpetrated the attack were members of the Agnwa community, whose militiamen clashed with Ethiopian Defense Forces on the night of 04 July, 2023, resulting in the death of one high ranking member from the army and five from the militias.

Both informants confirmed that, while a semblance of normalcy has returned to Gambella city public offices remain closed as the area continues to grapple with the fallout from the deadly incident. There has been growing tension between the Nuer and Agnwa ethnic groups in Gambella city and Itang Special Woreda over the past months.

In May, nine people were killed and 17 others suffered major and light injuries in Itang special district and the capital Gambella city after a dispute between individuals residing in the Pingwa and Ler kebeles of Itang Special Woreda escalated into communal violence, according to regional president.

Attempts by Addis Standard to reach local officials for comment on the latest incident have been unsuccessful. AS

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