On the evening of April 21st, local time, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission announced that Sedal Woreda, in the Kamash district of Benshangule-Gumaz state in western Ethiopia, had been attacked by armed groups and that the county had been fully under the control of armed groups as of 19 April.
The county has about 25,000 inhabitants, and many public and private property has been burned or looted by armed groups. There have been reports of local residents being killed and civil servants abducted, while the number of security forces near the county is low and other troops deployed to the area have not yet arrived.
The Esse Human Rights Commission called on the Federal and Regional Governments of Ethiopia to intervene immediately to strengthen security in the region.
According to local media reports, four senior officials were killed in September 2018 in the Kamash district of Benshangule-Gumaz state, resulting in hundreds of deaths and thousands of displacements in the area and the nearby West Volaga region of Oromia state. Since August 2020, at least 500 people have been killed in frequent attacks by armed groups against civilians in Benshangule-Gumaz state.
The security situation in the state has been increasingly tense due to conflicts over land and resource allocation among some ethnic groups, as well as in the run-up to Ethiopia’s general election.