Over 20 Killed As Anti-Muslim Attacks Break Up In Ethiopia

Over 20 Killed As Anti-Muslim Attacks Break Up In Ethiopia

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By Spy Uganda Correspondent

More than 20 people have been killed in an attack on Muslims in the northern Ethiopian city of Gondar during the funeral of a Muslim elder, a local Islamic group said on Wednesday.

The Islamic Affairs Council of Amhara, the region where Gondar is located, described Tuesday’s attack at a cemetery as a “massacre” by heavily armed “extremist Christians.”

The attackers “fired a barrage of heavy machine guns and grenades… leaving many dead while others who were injured have been taken to hospital,” the religious body said.

“More than 20 have died due to yesterday’s attack which also saw the looting of Muslim properties,” it added.

The mayor of Gondar, Zewdu Malede, said that the “incident was carried out by a few extremist individuals.”

“There has been some destruction and loss of lives from all sides,” he said, without offering further details about the identity of the attackers or the victims. “The situation was (brought) under control by 7:00 pm.”

The cemetery where the attack occurred neighbors a mosque and church and has been the subject of an ongoing dispute between Muslims and Orthodox Christians, who are the dominant group in Ethiopia.

‘Break People’s Unity’

“An effort has been made to break the people’s unity in the historic city of Gondar, a symbol of co-existence and tolerance, by aiming to create conflict using religion as a guise,” the government said.

A senior Muslim official in the capital Addis Ababa said on condition of anonymity that “the attack was planned” and said the armed men set fire to the mosque and the Koran.

The city’s mayor said the attackers were extremists who had sought “to burn down, to destroy, to destabilize and to loot Gondar.”

“This in no way represents the Muslim and Christian communities,” he added.

Muslims make up about one-third of Ethiopia’s population of 110 million and are a small minority in Amhara, the country’s second-most-populous region which is dominated by Orthodox Christians.

In 2019, multiple mosques were attacked in the town of Mota in Amhara, more than 350 kilometers (217 miles) north of Addis Ababa, in a wave of religious violence that sparked condemnation by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

Analysts caution that conflicts that appear to be rooted in religion in Ethiopia are often also shaped by disputes over land use, ethnicity, and other issues.

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