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Witnesses say the latest ethnic clashes in Ethiopia have left dozens dead

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NAIROBI, Kenya — Witnesses claim several dozen civilians and combatants were killed in the latest clashes between the Oromo and Amhara ethnic groups in Central Ethiopia.

Fighting broke out on Saturday in the town of Jewuha in the Amhara region. A witness, along with others who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation, told The Associated Press that fighters believed to be part of the Oromo rebel liberation army attacked a camp used by the Amhara special forces and killed more than 20 of them. killed them. The witness said they also helped bury three civilians.

According to the witness, the fighting has spread to other cities. Another witness in Jewuha involved in burials said that “several dozen” bodies had been collected.

A witness in the town of Ataye in the Amhara region claimed that there were clashes between OLA and Amhara special forces and thousands of civilians were displaced. A doctor at Shewa Robit Hospital told the AP it had received the bodies of “several people” since Monday, as well as some victims with serious injuries.

The Amhara regional government on Wednesday confirmed the clashes and said members of the federal army, federal police and Amhara regional armed forces were working to bring the situation under control.

A federal police spokesperson did not respond to calls. A spokesman for the Ethiopian government, Legesse Tulu, hung up.

Some Amharas and Oromos, two of Ethiopia’s largest ethnic groups, are in bitter rivalry over new and old grievances. Amharas have been targeted in several locations in the neighboring Oromia region, prompting Amhara militias to deploy.

Oromos is also said to have been the target of deadly attacks by Amharas. The Oromo Legacy Leadership and Advocacy Association said in a statement this week that “under international law, the Ethiopian federal government has a duty to protect its citizens.”

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