The Defense Ministry says deadly armed violence has been observed in parts of Oromia special zones.
Ethiopia has declared a state of emergency in the southern part of Amhara Regional State amid violence in several towns.
In a statement released on Sunday, the defense ministry said the past three days had been marked by deadly armed violence in the town of Ataye and several other areas in Oromia Special Zones.
The statement said that an unknown number of people were killed in attacks by armed men and that property was destroyed. He added that many civilians have fled the armed conflict.
The Amhara region is dominated by the Amhara ethnic group – the second largest in Ethiopia – but the Oromo Special Zone is mostly populated by Oromo, the numerically dominant group.
The declaration of emergency came a day after the deployment of Ethiopian military troops in the northern area of Shoa and the special area of Oromo.
The move highlights the continuing insecurity that extends beyond Ethiopia’s war-stricken region of Tigray ahead of national elections scheduled for June.
Hundreds of deaths
Ethiopia’s chief ombudsman, Endale Haile, told AFP news agency earlier this month that violence in Amhara killed more than 300 people over several days in March.
Jemal Hassen Mohammed, chief administrator of the Jile-Temuga region in the Oromo special zone, said violence began on March 19 after an Oromo prayer leader was shot dead outside a mosque , causing clashes between Amhara security forces and ethnic Oromo civilians.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is under increasing pressure to tackle violence in Amhara and elsewhere.
“The government must live up to its responsibility to protect the people,” Ethiopia’s Human Rights Commission, the national human rights body, said in a statement earlier this week.
The violence in Amhara led to penalty shootouts between the Oromo and Amhara wings of the Abiy Welfare Party, who publicly accused each other of responsibility.
Abiy came to power in 2018 after several years of anti-government protests by youths Amhara and Oromo.
He won the Nobel Peace Prize the following year, but his tenure was marred by ethnic violence, and analysts warn that the much-anticipated national elections scheduled for June 5 could increase insecurity.
They say the continuing unrest could hamper efforts to organize the vote.
Birtukan Medeksa, head of the national electoral commission, said Wednesday that insecurity had temporarily halted voter registration in several places, including the special zones of North Shoa and Oromo.