Ethiopia says gunmen killed 338 people in Oromiya region in June

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - About 340 people were killed in an attack in the western part of Ethiopia's Oromiya region earlier this month, the Prime Minister's spokeswoman said on Thursday, blaming a militia formerly allied to an opposition party.

Oromiya, home to Ethiopia's largest ethnic group and others, has experienced unrest for many years, rooted in grievances about political marginalisation and neglect by the central government.

On June 18 gunmen killed at least 200 people in the Gimbi district of Western Wollega Zone, according to two local witnesses who helped bury the bodies.

"Per data I have received from the Oromiya region yesterday, the number of victims identified so far rests at 338," the prime minister's spokeswoman Billene Seyoum told reporters.

Ethnic Oromos, Amharas and Gumuz were among the victims, she said, accusing the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) of responsibility.

The group has previously denied involvement and called for independent investigation.

The OLA is an outlawed splinter group of the Oromo Liberation Front, a formerly banned opposition group that returned from exile after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office in 2018.

(Reporting by Addis Ababa newsroom; Writing by Hereward Holland; Editing by James Macharia Chege)

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