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Ethiopian Troops Head For Gambella Region - 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 V-O-A 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 30th alone in the town of Dimma and surrounding areas.

The United Nations' news agency reports about 10-thousand 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.