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Rights Commission calls for federal control of Metekel Zone

The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) called for the full control of federal security forces in Metekel Zone of the Benishangul-Gumuz region because the security situation is beyond the region’s capacity to control.

Speaking to The Reporter, Commissioner Daniel Bekele (PhD) said that the peace and security situation in the zone is very concerning. Reminding that there are people who are under threats of attack apart from the recently attacked civilians, Daniel said that forces that would take rapid action are imperative in the region. To do this, he added, federal intervention should be imminent as the situation has already exceeded the capacity of the region.

On December 23, 2020 in the Kuji Kebele of Metekel Zone in Benishangul-Gumuz region, civilians were attacked by armed insurgents who burned houses killing hundreds and destroying harvests. As a result, many have been displaced from their residence, the commissioner stated.

Daniel also calls for a quick humanitarian and medical assistance to the region. But his commission could not go to the exact location of the attacks to investigate because of the volatile security situation in the area. The fact that the place of the recent attack is 90 kilometers far from the woreda town delays information on the atrocities committed let alone deliver humanitarian assistance in time. This contributed to the complication of the matter, he added.

The commissioner said that they are following the situation in the area through their investigative team that covers places up to Chagni and they are discussing with all the relevant bodies of the government regarding what needs to be done.

Reiterating that it is important to prevent such harms beforehand and minimize the level of the atrocities after they happened, he stated that his commission is working to carry out its mandates such as ensuring support to the victims and ascertaining that the perpetrators are brought to justice.

In addition to the attacks in Benshangul-Gumuz region, in a statement the Commission issued on December 25, 2020, it expressed its concerns regarding the recurring conflicts and humanitarian crisis in the Konso Zone of the Southern region. The statement detailed the level of gruesome killings, injuries, displacements as well as destruction of property. In this conflict, 66 people are killed and 131,142 people were displaced. It also asserted that the security situation in that area has been deteriorating because of lack of sustainable solution. Hence, apart from providing the displaced people with the needed humanitarian assistance, the commission called for the federal and the regional governments to seek lasting solutions through participation of the local people.