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Gunmen Kill More Than 40 People in Ethiopia's Oromia Region, Residents Say

A map of Ethiopia’s Oromia and Somali regions

Gunmen killed at least 42 people in Ethiopia's Oromia region, two residents who buried the bodies in mass graves said Friday, the latest killings in the country's most populous region where escalating violence has left hundreds dead.

The latest attack by an armed group against local residents occurred Tuesday, they said, in the Amuru district, around 370 kilometers west of the capital, Addis Ababa.

They said the victims were all Oromos and described the attackers as members of a volunteer militia known as Fano, mostly composed of ethnic Amharas.

Clashes between the Oromo and Amhara, Ethiopia's two largest ethnic groups, have been rising in recent months.

Oromia has experienced years of violence amid accusations of neglect by the federal government in Addis Ababa.

Oromos account for more than a third of Ethiopia's total population of around 110 million.

One resident, who spoke to Reuters by telephone but asked not to be named, said that locals had buried 22 people in one place, 15 in another, and five in a third spot.

The second resident said he compiled a list of 46 dead.

Both residents said the attackers, carrying rifles and numbering between 150-200 men, were speaking Amharic and wore a mishmash of uniforms.

Neither Amhara nor Oromia's regional administrations' spokespeople responded to requests for comment.