Ethiopia: Conflict in Gambella Reignites

Land grab and ethnic clashes claim the lives of dozens in Gambella region of Ethiopia
Land grab and ethnic clashes claim the lives of dozens in Gambella region of Ethiopia

By ESAT News,

THE conflict that had calmed for a few days in the Gambella region of Ethiopia had reignited since September 18, 2014, ESAT’s sources reported from the Region.

Gatluak Tut, the Regional President, told Radio Fana, the voice of the ruling Front, that 13 people have been killed due to the “plot of rent seekers and land dealers, who tried to divide the people that lived together for centuries.”

He also said similar clashes had broken out in other small districts of the region leading to the deaths of an unknown number of people. 

Gatluak gave no details of the “land dealers”; however ESAT had reported that the main cause of the conflict was the land grab by retired Defense officials of the Tigrean Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF), who displaced the local residents.

Although the President said the conflict had diminished and displaced people have started returning to their homes, ESAT has learnt that the conflict has restarted in small districts and towns of the region; many people have also died. Two investors from Tepi area have reportedly been killed on September 18, 2014 and many people are still in hiding in forests.

The residents of the Region say the total number of the dead is over one hundred, ESAT has not verified the report from independent sources.

The government had recently arrested the Region’s Security Head.

Nyikaw Ochalla, Director of the Anywaa Survival Organization, said the government causes inter-ethnic conflicts whenever elections approach and has blamed the government for instigating the conflict. The Director said the Ethiopian government’s land grab policy has also contributed to the conflict.

The residents of the Region do not believe the conflict could be settled effortlessly.