ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia

At least 97,000 people have fled their homes and sheltered in two camps after gunmen massacred more than 200 residents last week in western Ethiopia’s Benishangul-Gumuz region. 

Some 50,000 of the displaced were being sheltered at a makeshift camp in Tana Beles district of Benishangul-Gumuz, while over 40,000 took shelter at a camp in the Awi zone of the Amhara region, the Amhara Mass Media Agency reported Tuesday, citing a statement from the Ministry of Peace.

Following the attacks, the Metekel zone has come under the direct command of the military until it returns to normal.

Troops deployed to the area over the weekend said nearly 50 of the gunmen were neutralized while law enforcement measures were intensified.

Last week, gunmen carried out ethnic-based attacks in the Metekel zone, killing more than 207 civilians while they slept. They also set fire to many homes.

In recent months, the western region, which borders Sudan, where Ethiopia’s $5 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile is located, has seen several ethnically motivated massacres of Amharas, Oromos and Shinashas.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who visited the area prior to the latest attack, warned of stern measures against the perpetrators.

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