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Benishangul-Gumuz region locality residents appeal for help amid fears of massacre repeat – Mereja

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Residents of Village 42, Hardengetu locality, Muzinga district, Kamashe zone of Benishangul-Gumuz region are appealing for help amid fears there could be a repeat of a massacre that happened earlier this year.

Speaking on condition of anonymity to Mereja. com, an ethnic Amhara resident of Village 42 said practically all residents of the village have fled to nearby forests after Shene (Oromo Liberation Army) rebels overrun the village killing at least seven ethnic Amhara residents and nine ethnic Gumuz residents who tried to defend against the attack.

Village 42 and the neighboring Tole locality in West Wollega zone were the scenes of a gruesome massacre last June that left at least hundreds dead. The Ethiopian government blamed Shene (OLA) for the attack but massacre survivors at the time said local ethnic Oromo civilians, Oromia region security forces and local ethnic Oromo administrators were also complicit in the attack.

“The latest attack was carried out by Shane rebels with dreadlock hairs and wearing Oromia region special forces, but there are also local Oromo civilians complicit in the attack mainly through looting of victims properties,” the survivor told Mereja.com.

“The few local Gumuz militias and Benishangul-Gumuz special forces that were trying to defend us have run out of bullets and some have subsequently been killed by the attackers,” the survivor further said.

The survivor said he estimates more than 1,500 iron and grass thatched houses have been burnt by the attackers so far.

The survivor further said there’s another danger that’s stalking Village 42 residents: thirst and hunger.

“We’re asking anybody to save our lives. We’re scattered and hiding in abandoned schools, mango trees and under forest cover, but fear its only a matter of time before the attackers come to our hiding spots,” the survivor said expressing his fear.

With residents unable to harvest their crops, and with the area cut of from basic services such as as banking and access to local markets for close to two years, hunger and illness could take lives just as bullets.

“We’re suffering from hunger and illnesses, we’re asking ourselves when we will be considered as human beings and able leave our forest hideouts. For now, we including breastfeeding mothers are eating leaves, burned beans and corn leftovers to survive,” the survivor told Mereja.com despairingly.

With the area effectively under media coverage blackout, telecommunications intermittently cut off and residents surrounded on three sides by Shende (OLA) controlled country and on one side bordered by Dedessa river, residents are left with no option, but to appeal to the government to rescue the remaining survivors.

“We can’t do anything about the dead, but we appeal to the government to save the surviving ones who are enduring heat, rains and cold on open land,” the survivor told Mereja.com

If, no urgent government help comes soon, the survivor fears he who is being warned personally to keep quiet and the rest of his group will perish.



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