More than 1,000 suspected rebels surrender in western Ethiopia

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ADDIS ABABA - More than 1,000 suspected rebels have surrendered in recent days in Ethiopia’s western Benishangul-Gumuz regional state, local officials said Wednesday.

Benishangul-Gumuz regional state communications affairs office said in a press statement that the ethnic Gumuz rebels surrendered through a local reconciliation scheme. Before their surrender, they had been operating in the Metekel zone of the region for more than three years.

Last month, the Benishangul-Gumuz regional state communications affairs office announced the surrender of 247 rebels.

The statement also said the individuals are members of a banned rebel group, the Benishangul Peoples Democratic Movement (BPDM).

In recent years, deadly inter-communal violence, as well as rebel attacks in the East African country’s western region has killed thousands of civilians and displaced more than 100,000 others.

Benishangul-Gumuz region, located along the Ethiopia-Sudan border, hosts Ethiopia’s largest development project — the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which is under construction on the Blue Nile River with a construction cost of close to 5 billion U.S. dollars.

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