11 Killed, 70 Injured in Deadly Clashes

Eleven people were killed and 70 injured this week, a result of violent clashes in Ambo, Haromaya and Medda Welabu Universities, the Government Communications Affairs Office (GCAO) announced in a statement late Thursday. The government blamed “anti-peace” forces for the incident.

According to a statement sent to The Reporter, mass demonstrations caused “loss of lives and property” in the Ambo and Tokekutayo towns in the Oromia Regional State.

The government said that students were deliberately misled by rumors, which was the catalyst for the mayhem. The demonstrations erupted last week against plans by the Ethiopian government to develop a common masterplan for Addis Ababa and neighboring towns of the Oromia Regional State. However, the plan was perceived by students to mean that the towns would be incorporated into Addis Ababa, the statement read.

According to the statement, an attempt to loot the Ambo branch of the Construction and Business Bank resulted in the death of seven residents of the Ambo and Tokekutayo towns.

Apart from the two towns, three students were killed at Medda Welabu University and a hand grenade killed one student and injured 70 in Haromaya University, 19 km north of Harrar town. The incident happened while students were watching a football match on television.

Independent observers and those who claim to be eyewitnesses say that the death toll and injuries might be higher than what has been officially admitted. “The forces behind the chaos…had a violent history in the past,” the government statement read, claiming the protests had been encouraged by “outside forces who control media inside and outside the country” for “their evil purpose,” without giving further details.

Pictures released on social media including Facebook and Twitter, reveal that there were protests and high security presence in Dire Dawa University. Similarly, students of Addis Ababa University also protested on Thursday. That same day The Reporter observed that a considerable amount of Federal Police officers and members of the Addis Ababa Police Force were seen at the gates of the university.

Source : The Reporter

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