By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
(ADDIS ABABA) – Ethiopian police on Monday said it had taken into custody ten suspects believed to have been involved in last week’s deadly attack in Ethiopia’s western Gambella region.
Armed men late on Saturday attacked a commercial farm owned by an Ethiopian billionaire, killing five workers including a Pakistani national.
The shoot-out injured four Ethiopians and five Pakistanis all working for the Saudi Star Agriculture group, a firm engaged in agricultural business in one of country’s fertile states.
Local police told Sudan Tribune they had arrested ten suspects following the raid. They declined to give further details but said a joint task force from both regional and federal police is investigating the incident.
Following the assault police have increased their presence in the area, while they hunt down other suspects.
The motive behind the latest attack is unknown.
Last month, unknown men with machine guns ambushed a passenger bus – killed 19 people, injured 8 and kidnapped 5 women near a town called Bonga.
Disputes over natural resources, such as water and land, have long been a source of conflict in the region.
The Gambella region which shares a border with South Sudan has, during the past few months, been a destination for refugees fleeing conflict in newly independent South Sudan’s Jonglei State.
Jonglei State’s deputy governor Hussein Maar, said Saturday 21 April that the Ethiopian government has called for South Sudan to return hundreds of armed young men from Pibor, Akobo, Uror, Nyirol and Pochalla counties who escaped to Ethiopia to avoid a disarmament campaign.
Maar, who is also the state minister of Information and Communication, revealed that on a short visit to Ethiopia earlier in April the government complained about the huge of number armed youth escaping disarmament from Jonglei.
He said the government and the people of Ethiopia fear that Jonglei’s armed groups may cause violence in their territory.