At least 20 people killed in religious conflict in northern Ethiopia

APA-Addis Ababa (Ethiopia)

At least 20 people have been killed in religious conflict in Gonder city, located in Ethiopia's northern Amhara regional state, a religious body claimed on Wednesday.

In a press statement, the Amhara region Islamic Affairs Council, the region's top official Islamic body, said" a massacre" was committed on Tuesday on Muslims who had congregated in a cemetery to bury the body of a prominent Islamic cleric.


"The information we have so far puts the number of deaths from Tuesday's attacks at more than 20," the statement further said.


Members of the Islamic and Christianity faiths have reportedly longstanding competing claims of ownership of the land around the Sheikh Elias cemetery.


The Amhara region's top Islamic body also said at least 100 Muslims were injured and scores of properties of Muslims were ransacked during Tuesday's violence.


Speaking earlier on Wednesday, Zewdu Malede, mayor of Gonder city, blamed isolated extremist elements within the Christian and Muslim populations of the city for the deadly violence.


Malede acknowledged there were deaths and property destruction as a result of the violence, but said the situation in Gonder city has now been stabilized.


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