September 1, 2020 (Ezega.com) -- At least 12 people were killed and 10 others wounded in ethnic-based clashes over forest ownership rights in Ale special district in South Nations Nationalities and Peoples of Ethiopia, an official has said.
“Gunmen killed 12 persons and wounded several others in pre-arranged attacks in Gerama and Guroze localities in Ale district,” Government Communication Affairs Head of the district Sawra Gebeyehu told local media.
This is the second time that clashes broke out between ethnic Konso and Ale communities over land ownership right in the district.
“There has been major property damage, mainly the burning of several houses and a religious institution in the area,” said Sawra who blamed the regional government for failing to resolve the conflict in the district.
Tadesse Wajo, Deputy Head of the region’s peace and security officials confirmed the death of six people due to the ethnic clashes.
He said efforts are underway to know the exact number of victims and resolve the problem permanently.
He did not provide an exact death toll but said the assault caused the displacement of thousands of people to neighboring districts.
At least 13 people were killed and several others wounded in ethnic clashes occurred last month in the same district. More than 20,000 people were displaced due to the same conflict.
The head accused some PP members in the region of involving and guiding in the conflict over ownership rights of "Kokobasal" dense forest.
“Among the detainees, eleven of them were officials who were officials in the Ale district and Konso zone while the remaining were arrested from the Mesqana and Mareko,” the head said.
The gunmen have not been identified but the head said the attacks appeared to be retribution for the death of at least 13 people during the previous attacks.
Communal clashes, typically sparked by disputes over land, are common in Ethiopia where a fast-growing population has added to pressures on farmers in a country of sharp ethnic divisions.
According to the head, the ruling party has suspended its members in the region over participating in the violence that occurred in different parts of the region.
The previous clashes were put under control after members of the country’s defense force were deployed in the area.