ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Gunmen suspected to be from Ethiopia’s Amhara region killed 26 people and injured 15 in an ambush on a vehicle carrying militia in neighbouring Oromiya, local officials said on Thursday.
Ethiopia has struggled to contain violence in its ethnically-based regions in recent years. The Oromo are Ethiopia’s largest group and the Amhara its second, with frequent attacks on both sides of their border, mainly over land.
Tuesday’s raid targeted a vehicle carrying about 100 militia members as it passed through the town of Korke in Oromiya, said Ababu Wako, head of the East Shewa district, about 170 km (105 miles) southeast of the capital Addis Ababa.
Local administrator Frezer Abera said the assailants came in seven vehicles from a nearby town in Amhara. “We are still burying those who died. This is the first time that we have seen such a well orchestrated attack in our area,” he said.
Ababu said that two federal policemen and one driver were among the dead. After the attack, he said, the assailants called Oromo militia members with a phone of one of the deceased to say they were members of the Fano volunteer Amhara militia.
Fano does not have a formal leadership structure so it was impossible to seek comment. A spokesman for the Amhara regional government did not respond to requests for comment.
(Reporting by Addis Ababa newsroom; Writing by Aaron Ross; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)