Hundreds of Ethnic People Killed in Ethiopia Protests
The government-affiliated Ethiopian Human Rights Commission says 669 people were killed in several months of violence that led to the country’s current state of emergency.
The commission’s report to lawmakers on Tuesday largely blamed opposition groups for what it called “illegal rallies” in the restive Oromia and other regions. But it also said security forces were not properly prepared for a protest that turned into a deadly stampede in October and sparked the state of emergency declaration, Fox News reported.
The report said that since August, the unrest claimed 495 lives-462 civilians, 33 security personnel-in Oromia; 140-110 civilians and 30 security personnel-in Amhara; and 34 in the SSNP regional states.
Last year, the commission’s first investigation said 173 people in Oromia and 95 people in Amhara had been killed between November 2015 and August 2016.
“The commission here is blaming a lot of the violence on what it describes as the opposition both in Ethiopia and abroad using social media to stoke the unrest,” Aljazeera’s Charles Stratford, reporting from inside Ethiopia’s Parliament in the capital, Addis Ababa, said.
“The government has denied access to any independent international rights organization to come to Ethiopia and conduct its own investigation into the violence,” he added.
“It has also made it increasingly difficult for journalists to speak to witnesses or travel to the most badly-affected areas since the emergency law was passed in October.”
The state of emergency, declared on October 9, was a reaction to protests that were especially persistent in the Oromia region. Many members of the Oromo ethnic group say they are marginalized and that they do not have access to political power, something the government denies.