Tensions Remain High as Qeerroo Continue Deadly Attacks in Ethiopian Cities

By Staff Reporter

Qeerroo-violenceOctober 24, 2019 (Ezega.com) -- Tensions remain high in Addis Ababa, Adama and Dire Dawa cities of Ethiopia as ethnic Oromo youth, also known as Qeerroo, have continued blocking roads and attacking members of other ethnic groups and Christians.

Eyewitnesses told Ezega that gunshots are heard in Debre Zeit and Adama cities where several people died amid clashes between Qeerroo, on the one hand, and residents of the cities and security forces on the other.

According to the eyewitnesses, several vehicles were used to transport the attacking youth into Adama, the capital city of Oromia state, through all gates of the city, but mainly from rural parts of neighboring Arsi and other Oromia regions.

“They selectively attacked members of the Amhara and other ethnic groups as well as Christians by swords, sticks, and stones. They demanded non-ethnic Oromo people to leave the city, the eyewitnesses told Ezega.

Ethnic Oromo Christian in Adama city joined the countering forces, which included ethnic Amhara, Silete, Argoba, Oromo and many others to defend from the attacking force, the eyewitnesses said.

The Qeerroo burnt a paper factory owned by non-Oromo local investors and 15 vehicles of another factory as confirmed by Assegid Getachew, the Mayor of the Adama city.

The Qeerroo had closed roads, broke cars, and glasses of buildings in Adama city before they were countered by the joint forces of the residents. The dead were from both sides, the eyewitnesses confirmed to Ezega.

The extended violence also hit the city of Debre Zeit, 45 kilometers east of Addis Ababa. Ezega learned that some Qeerroo members were killed by security forces after the unspecified number of the city’s residents were attacked.

As of this writing, the Qeerroo are still blocking roads and denied movement of people. Some members of the Qeerroo were said to have marked those houses which they thought do not belong to ethnic Oromo people for attacks.

Residents of Dire Dawa city, about 500km east of Addis Ababa, told Ezega via telephone that the Qeerroo are still creating chaos in the city, even after members of the National Defense Forces were deployed in the city.

A heightened security presence, crowded conditions, and significant transportation disruptions have been observed in Addis Ababa too after the Qeerroo blocked roads using stones and woods logs.

Residents of Addis Ababa complained over the weakness of the government to address the unfolding security problems posed by the Qeerroo in the city.  85 percent of the Addis Ababa residents are believed to be non-ethnic Oromo.

The latest violence comes after Qeerroo activist leader Jawar Mohammed on his Facebook page claimed that security forces were advancing to arrest him, for which the government denied and later apologized for the misunderstanding.

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