Muslims and Christians clashed in western Ethiopia for unknown reasons, killing five people, officials said Thursday.
The clashes, during which an unknown number of people were wounded, occurred last week in Dembi town about 440 kilometers (273 miles) west of the capital, Addis Ababa, said Elias Redman, vice president of the Ethiopian Islamic Affairs Supreme Council.
He told The Associated Press that few details were known and information was slow to reach the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, because Dembi is in a remote area of the country.
The council sent investigators to the town Thursday to gather information, Redman said.
Federal Police spokesman Demsash Hailu confirmed the incident and said an investigation was under way so he could not say whether the clashes in Dembi could be classified as a religious conflict.
Redman said that most Muslim residents in Dembi subscribe to a conservative strand of Sunni Islam, Wahabism or Salafism.
Ethiopian Orthodox Church officials were not immediately available for comment.
A diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said police had arrested an unknown number of people.
Ethiopia's 77 million people are almost evenly split between Muslims and Christians, but clashed between the two religious groups are rare.