‘Massacres’ in Ethiopia as rival groups clash

Officials in Ethiopia say women and children are amongst the victims of what are being described as “massacres” in the west of the country.

The violence in Benishangul Gumuz region was reportedly carried out by organised militias from the neighbouring Amhara region and was in response to clashes last week that left more than 20 people dead.

The area remains dangerous, and no-one yet knows how many people have been killed.

A spokesman for Benishangul region, Gelata Hailu, told the BBC that two villages were virtually destroyed and 80 people were being treated at a hospital.

The fact that he used the word massacre to describe what took place on Monday and Tuesday gives an indication of how serious the situation is.

Last week the majority of the victims were Amhara and this time in retaliation the Gumuz were attacked.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is often praised for the rapid pace of reform taking place in Ethiopia. But his greatest challenge is to stop the spread of ethnic violence which is threatening the stability of the country.

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