Gondar University Fires Students, Instructors, Employees for Alleged Involvement in Violence

By Staff Reporter  

Gondar-UniversityJanuary 4, 2020 (Ezega.com) -- In a decisive and exemplary measure against violence, Gondar University in northern Ethiopia has fired 11 students, three instructors, and eight administrative employees as well as one health professional for alleged involvement in ethnic-based conflicts on university ground.

Gondar university is one of the 22 Ethiopian higher learning institutions hit by protracted ethnic conflicts since classes began in October last year.

The university has introduced what is called “one student to one family” scheme whereby students who come from other regions are treated as a member of a family living nearby. This is in an attempt to integrate the students with local families to make them feel at home.

The conflicts have been chiefly taking place between students of Oromo and Amhara ethnic backgrounds, two regions that represent more than 50 percent of the over 100 million Ethiopian population.

In an urgent meeting the University Senate held on Friday, it made the decision against members the individuals for alleged involvement in conflicts that have been occurring starting from October 14, 2019, Yidagn Mandefero, Communication Director of the University told reporters.

The university’s decision comes after the suspects were proved to have been involved in the conflict directly or indirectly based on the evidence, including eyewitnesses.

“They were accused of collaborating with forces operating outside the campus to interrupt the teaching and learning activities at the university,” the director said.

The university also has suspended two students for one year, 39 students for two years, while 11 others have been totally suspended from the university.

Gondar University is the first higher learning institution to officially blame instructors and administrative employees and fire on alleged links to the conflict. It is not clear what the motives of the alleged perpetrators were to involve in the violence.

10 instructors were given written warning while the administrative employees were accused of hiding weapons in the campus.

The Ethiopian Ministry of Science Higher Learning Institutions claims the conflicts on campuses are politically motivated was involved in the Senate decision.   

It remains to be seen whether other Ethiopian universities also affected by violence will follow suit and take similar measures. Various universities have been affected by a series of violence that took place in the last year. Most of these incidents took place in Oromia, Amhara, and Dire Dawa regions.

Students and communities throughout the country have been demanding rule of law on university grounds and elsewhere for some time. The government of Abiy Ahmed has failed to deliver time and again, despite the rhetoric. The sheer incompetence has baffled many observers at home and abroad.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of Muslims took to the streets of Bahir Dar city in Amhara state of Ethiopia on Friday to protest against the burning of mosques in Mota town in the same region.

The demonstrators demanded equal representation of Muslims in the leadership positions and across administrative offices of the Amhara regional government.

The youth-dominated demonstration chanted: “Let those groups who declare war against the Ethiopian Muslims face justice; Ethiopia belongs to all of us; let the government build the damaged mosques as soon as possible.”

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