Amhara, Oromo Political Parties Agree to Address Clashes at Ethiopian Universities

By Staff Reporter

PM-Amhara-Oromia-meetingNovember 15, 2019 (Ezega.com) -- Seven political parties operating in Amhara and Oromia regions of Ethiopia have agreed to join efforts to address and deter the escalating ethnic clashes occurring in the country’s university grounds.

The Amhara Democratic Party (ADP), Oromo Democratic Party (ODP), the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), Oromia National Party (ONP) and the Amhara Social Vision Front (ASVF) announced their agreement at the end of their two-day meeting in the prime minister office.

In a statement issued on Friday, the parties have agreed to refrain from engaging in belligerent activities that would compromise the long-time ties and incite violence between the peoples of the ethnic Amhara and Oromo.

“Our difference is not above the well-being of our people. We will work together by giving priority to the safety of our people and the unity of our country,” the parties vowed in a statement.

The political parties have also agreed to work hard to prevent ethnic-based clashes in universities and discharge their role in bringing the people of the two ethnic groups for a common goal.

The parties recalled that they have fought for the same cause and their people have been living in unity, tolerance, and harmony for centuries.

Meanwhile, tensions between ethnic Oromo and Amhara students in high learning institutions in Oromia regional state remain high.

Presidents of Haramaya, Jimma, Metu and Wedewelabu Universities disclosed that the teaching and learning process at the universities has been suspended after ethnic clashes in Woldia and Dembi Dolo universities claimed lives last weekend.

According to the presidents, ethnic Amhara students are still under the safeguard of members of the National Defense Forces or have left to churches for protection.

“Ethnic Amhara students are unable to sleep in their dormitories and are kept in classrooms together at Haramaya University. They expressed concerns over existing security problems and that they could be attacked in their dormitories,” Haramaya University president said.

He said students of the university are undergoing searches around their dormitories to prevent possible attacks using sharp weapons and sticks.

Dr. Jemal Abafeta, President of Jimma University disclosed that there have been intimidation at the university after the incident at Woldia University. He also disclosed that there were some students who were campaigning for revenge and insisting ethnic Amhara students to leave the campus.

Dr. Endegena Abebe President of Metu University said the university is trying to bring those students sheltered in churches back to the campus for fear that they could be attacked on church grounds.  He said discussions are underway to calm down the situation even though some ethnic Amhara students refuse to talk.

Dr.Abubeker Kedir, President of Wedewelabu University, recalled that nine ethnic Amhara students suffered light injuries after a surprise attack last Monday. The situation has got calmed down since Tuesday after members of the National Defense Forces, Federal Police and regional police were deployed at the university.  

The presidents said their respective universities are doing their best to stabilize the situation by holding discussions in which elders, Abba Gedaas, religious fathers and students from both ethnic groups have participated.

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