Reports indicate that about 20 Muslim worshippers have been attacked and killed in Ethiopia’s Amhara region as they were on their way to a burial.
The violence appears to have little to do with the conflict between pro-government forces and Tigrayan insurgents.
Three individuals were killed, according to the leader of the Islamic Affairs Supreme Council in Amhara, when an explosive device was thrown into the crowd.
He claimed that the other casualties died as a result of the fights, which also saw stores looted.
The cemetery where the attack took place has been a source of contention between Ethiopia’s Muslims and Orthodox Christians, who make up the bulk of the country’s population.
“The incident happened yesterday when Muslims were on their way to bury an individual,” Seid Muhammed, president of the Amhara Islamic Affairs Supreme Council, told newsmen.
According to Seid, armed individuals in the town of Gondar tossed an explosive device towards a Muslim crowd, killing three people and wounded five more. The other fatalities died as a result of the subsequent conflicts.
“There were lootings of shops and there were attempts to set fire to three mosques. One mosque suffered minor damage where its mat was set on fire,” he said.
The event is being investigated, according to Gizachew Muluneh, a spokesperson for the Amhara regional government.
Authorities in the same region detained five persons in 2019 on suspicion of torching four mosques in the town of Motta.
Since the federal government proclaimed a unilateral truce last month, allowing humanitarian relief into Tigray, fighting in Ethiopia’s larger conflict has subsided.
When Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed seized power in 2018, he implemented major political and economic changes that earned him international acclaim, culminating in the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to bring long-time foe Eritrea to the negotiating table.
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