At least two scores (40 people) were killed during fighting between rival ethnic groups in western Ethiopia over the weekend, state-affiliated media reported.
The clashes occurred on the border between the central Oromia and western Benishangul-Gumuz regions, local officials said on Tuesday.
Residents in the Benishangul-Gumuz region say the crisis was sparked by the death of four local officials who were killed during a visit to the neighboring Oromia region.
Over 70,000 people have had to flee their homes, with security forces deployed to calm the area, the Oromia regions administration sad.
Much of the killings have arisen from land disputes, an effect of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the country’s first Oromo Leader’s political and economic reforms aimed at uniting the diverse country.
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to office in April and changed things up by making peace with long-term foe Eritrea, freeing prisoners and promising a string of sweeping economic and political reforms.
He also promised to ease ethnic tensions and steer the state away from a hardline security policy that has been in place for decades.
Abiy’s efforts attracted praises from the international community who described his agenda as being reformist. However, the spate of violence, mostly over land issues have marred his first few months in office.
At least 58 people were killed in September when fighting broke out in the capital, Addis Ababa, with those fleeing saying they were targeted by Oromo mobs because they are members of minority ethnic groups.
Nearly one million people have been forced from their homes in southern Ethiopia since clashes erupted there in April, according to UN agencies.