86 People Killed in Recent Unrest in Ethiopia - PM Abiy Ahmed

By Staff Reporter

Abiy-Ahmed-on-ViolenceNovember 3, 2019 (Ezega.com) -- Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed disclosed that 86 people were killed during the recent unrest in different parts of the Oromia regional state of Ethiopia.

Briefing journalists on Sunday, November 3, 2019, PM Abiy Ahmed said 76 of the victims were killed amid inter-ethnic clashes or religious-based attacks, while ten of the victims were shot dead by security forces. “The dead includes 82 male and 4 female.”

According to the premier, 50 of the dead were ethnic Oromo, 20 Amhara, 8 Gamo, 2 Siltie, 1 Gurage, 2 Hadiya, and 1 Argoba and 1 ethnicity not yet known.

The victims also include 40 Orthodox Christians, 34 Muslims, while 14 others were followers of other religions.

“The bloodshed showed that when a fire broke out in one place, it affects everybody,” the premier said.

Abiy said those forces who consider the government’s patience as apprehensiveness were wrong. However, he admitted that the reluctance created favorable conditions for the perpetrators to claim innocent lives.

He said the government would be working to widen the political space in parallel with enforcing the supremacy of law in line with the country’s constitution.

 “We would work to rectify previous mistakes as we take legal and proportionate measure against perpetrators and they will be accountable for all the crimes committed,” he said   

Recalling the call made by religious fathers, tribal leaders, political elites, elders, mothers, youth and other groups of the society asking the government to maintain law and order, the premier said the government has all the readiness and capability to do so.

He urged security forces to maintain the national security, unity of people and their right to live in harmony and defend industries and institutions from damage in case of unrest in the future.

He further called on legal bodies to give a swift verdict and compensate sufferers thereby ensuring justice is served.

The Prime Minister further called on those groups who instigated the unrest under the guise of religion and ethnicity to refrain from their wrong deeds. Abiy also called on the youth to think rationally and avoid religious and ethnic extremism.

The tragedy demonstrated that the value of the Ethiopian people to live in harmony has been eroded through time, the premier added.

The government would take the necessary measures in a way that would not cause additional deaths and compromise the very unity of the country, Abiy warned.

Many Ethiopians are increasingly concerned whether the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed had the capacity and the willingness to keep the rule of law in the country. Especially concerning to many is the fact the Prime Minister habitually disappears in times of crisis -  when hundreds of Ethiopians are being killed. Also of great concern to many is the effect of Oromia politics on Ethiopian politics. Ordinary criminals and gangs are acting with impunity in the name of Qeerroo, while the central government is responding with kids' gloves for fear of losing support among the Oromo public. Many fear, this situation is not sustainable, especially when it takes religious and ethnic dimensions combined.

Just today, Pope Francis led a prayer for Ethiopian Orthodox Christians and other victims of violence in Ethiopia. He said he was “saddened” by news of “the violence” in Ethiopia, “which has among its victims Christians of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahado Church.”

More than 60 percent of the Ethiopian population is Christian, while about 34 percent is Muslim. Once a pillar of power in Ethiopian politics, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is weakened by internal divisions as well as from external forces - including gangs and extremists - who are flexing their muscles seemingly with tacit support from some in positions of power. Although the Ethiopian society is by and large highly tolerant - including all religions, who have lived together in harmony for centuries - the situation can explode in the face of the government if it does not get its acts together quickly and effectively.

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