Police have uncovered a mass grave containing an estimated 200 bodies in the eastern part of Ethiopia, state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting reported Thursday.
Fana said police were carrying out a court-ordered investigation into alleged abuses by forces loyal to Abdi Mohammed, the former president of an Ethiopian Somali region, who is currently in detention.
Authorities have been granted 14 days to unearth and do forensic examinations on the bodies. It is not yet clear where the people are from or what happened to them.
Relentless pattern of abuse, torture: Human Rights Watch
Mohammed has been accused of human rights violations and of being connected to the Liyu, an unofficial militia active in the region who are known to have committed violent acts. The unearthed bodies appear to be related to a series of ethnic clashes involving the militant group.
Ethiopian officials said the Liyu carried out an assault in August that killed 41 people and injured 20 others. Human Rights Watch has accused the Liyu of carrying out a brutal and relentless pattern of abuse, torture, rape and humiliation in the region.
Numerous ethnic clashes have taken place across the East African country, posing a serious challenge to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who came to power in April.
dv/cmk (AP, dpa)