PM condemns weekend ethnic violence in Ethiopia

Lester Mason
September 18, 2018

Ethiopia has cut mobile internet access in the capital city Addis Ababa, amidst deadly unrest that left five people dead in the city on Monday.

Zewdu Tinae called on the government to prevent the violence that he said had killed his brother and neighbour.

The state-owned Ethiopia News Agency (ENA) said an organized mob carried out a spree of murder and looting in and around Burayu town, leaving 23 people dead and 886 displaced, citing Oromia regional police commissioner Alemayehu Ejigu.

There were also protests in Arba Mich, the capital city of Ethiopia's Southern region and the home area of many victims of Saturday's attacks, in which demonstrators kneeled to urge justice.

Local media reported up to 200 arrests. "These cowardly attacks represent a grave concern to the unity and solidarity of our people & will be met with appropriate response", said Fitsum Arega, the prime minister's chief of staff, in a tweet.

He claimed the violence has gone on for the past four years.

The roads to Burayu were blocked by protesters on Monday, who threatened journalists covering the demonstrations.

There were no immediate reports of deaths or injuries in the demonstrations.

The unrest followed a mass rally on Saturday marking the return to Ethiopia of the leadership of exiled Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) group, which had fought an insurgency for self-determination for Oromos, Ethiopia's largest ethnic group.

Some residents say the violence was unleashed by members of the Oromo ethnic group, the largest in Ethiopia, who demanded that people from minority communities "leave their land".

Abiy, himself the first Oromo leader in the ethnically diverse country's modern history, has pursued a reconciliation strategy since taking power in April, steering the state away from a hardline security policy in place for decades.

The most serious began shortly after his inauguration, when clashes between Oromos and members of the Gedeo ethnic displaced almost one million people.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

Discuss This Article