ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Armed men killed at least 16 people and injured about two dozen others in a small village in northeastern Ethiopia, a local police official said on Monday, in one of the deadliest attacks seen in the region.
The incident took place at around 1 am local time on Saturday in Obno, a small village in the Afambo district in the northeastern Afar region of Ethiopia.
“The armed men came via Djibouti and committed the killings,” Afar’s deputy police commissioner Ahmed Humed told Reuters.
“We’ve never seen such an incident at this scale before where many civilians lost their lives. We are still investigating who these armed men are.”
A local hospital admitted 28 patients who suffered injuries from explosives and bullet wounds, Mohammed Hassen, head of Dubti Hospital in Afar, told Reuters.
One woman injured in the attack lost both her husband and four-month old son, Mohammed said.
Ethiopia is undergoing political and economic reforms under its Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed who took power in April 2018 following three years of violent anti-government protests that led to the resignation of his predecessor Hailemariam Desalegn.
Abiy, 43, won the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for his peacemaking efforts which ended two decades of hostility with longtime enemy Eritrea.
But the changes instituted by Abiy have also emboldened powerful regional strongmen and increased ethnic tensions across the country in what was once one of Africa’s most repressive nations.
Additional reporting by Giulia Paravicini in Nairobi; writing by Omar Mohammed, editing by Ed Osmond