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Ethiopia Sends Troops to Scene of Ethnic Clashes - 2004-02-12

The Ethiopian government is sending troops to the troubled western state of Gambella, where ethnic violence has claimed as many as 200 lives in a single day.

A senior Ethiopian government official, who asked not to be named, told VOA Thursday his government has sent troops to the troubled area of Gambella state to prevent further violence.

The Ethiopian government released a report Wednesday saying that almost 200 people were killed on January 30 alone in the town of Dimma and surrounding areas.

The United Nations' news agency reports about 10,000 people have fled Dimma in recent days.

Most of the dead were miners who came from a neighboring state. The government said the miners were attacked by members of the Anyuak ethnic group, who were taking revenge for a massacre of their own people weeks before.

In that instance, outsiders, commonly referred to as highlanders, killed 60 Anyuaks. In mid-December, similar clashes in the town of Gambella forced thousands of people to flee into neighboring Sudan.

The conflict between highlanders and Anyuaks is said to be a competition for resources and political power in the oil and gold-rich area.

The Ethiopian government has said it will spare no effort to bring the perpetrators of these atrocities to justice.