Police have arrested 171 suspects in connection with violence and security problems in western Ethiopia.
The arrestees are suspects of the deadly violence in bordering areas of Benishangul-Gumuzand Oromia regional states.
These areas were experiencing security challenges for several months and a Command Post established to restore peace in these area say violence has been stopped and normalcy is restored.
The areas affected by the violence in Kamash and Tongo Zones of Benishangul-Gumuz region as well as Qelem, HoroGuduru, BunoBedele and Ilubabor of Oromia region, state media reportssaid.
Zone level government officials were among the 171 suspects detained, the reports added.
Along with the suspects, Police seized close to 50 AK 47 and over 1,030 ammunition in addition to 1.9 million Ethiopian Birr and $US 12,000 cash.
The group, as the government calls it, intended to use anti-tank grenade as seven of them are seized.
The area is where a bomb explosion killed at least 10 people travelling in a minibus in Mid-December, last year.
The bomb was detonated in the village of Toga close to the border between the regional states of Oromia and Benishangul-Gumuz.
Benishangul-Gumuz’s police commissioner has blamed the attack on rebels of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) – a group which recently signed a peace agreement with the Ethiopian government.
In recent months dozens of people in that area have been killed in clashes over long-running land disputes.
In September, four officials were shot dead as they returned from a peace conference aimed at ending the conflict.
The OLF has denied involvement in other recent attacks in the area.
In addition to the 171 suspects, 9 ambulances, four ISUZU trucks and 3 Toyota pick-up vehicles which the armed group allegedly took by force from government offices and individuals were recovered, government’s Command Post (CP) which is instituted to restore peace in the region, reported on Thursday.
Authorities in both regions are currently inextensive consultation with communities living in violence ridden areason security and other issues. (Daily monitor)