One Person Killed, Seven Wounded During Gunfire in Dire Dawa City

By Staff Reporter

Dire-Dawa-EthiopiaJanuary 22, 2020 ( -- One person was killed and seven others wounded by gunfire in a violence occurred during the celebrations of Epiphany in Dire Dawa city of eastern Ethiopia, a police officer said.

The violence took place after clashes occurred between two groups on the premises Abune Gorgorios Church as the celebrations was nearing to completion, the Dire Dawa Administration Police Commission Public Relations Director Commander Gemechu Kacha said

Member of the police were among the victims, said Gemechu, who neither mentioned the fighting groups by name or stated the number of those victims attacked during the clashes.

Dire Dawa has experienced unrelenting violence over the past year due to clashes between ethnic Oromo and Somali people as well as followers of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and Islam.

Dire Dawa is a multi-ethnic city comprising of about 46 percent Oromo, 24 percent Somali, 20 percent Amhara, and the rest made up of Gurage, Harari and other ethnic minorities.

The commissioner also did not mention if the fighting groups were armed with weapons or the victims were killed or wounded by guns fired by security officers.

He said the violence also inflicted damages on the city’s properties.

It is to be recalled that similar violence occurred in nearby Harar city during the just-ended Ethiopian Epiphany celebrations. The violence left dozens of people wounded, hundreds of others displaced and undisclosed amount of property damaged.

During this year's Epiphany celebrations, the violence occurred as members of belligerent groups denied the celebrants to hoist the common green, yellow and red flag on the streets where the celebrations were taking place, claiming the flag was unconstitutional.

More than 40 people were reportedly arrested on suspicion of inciting violence in both cities. Unlike in the past, Jigjiga city witnessed peaceful Epiphany celebrations.

Meanwhile, a road linking Mekele city and Samere town, which was closed by protestors since last week, has been opened as of Wednesday, January 22, 2020.

The road has been closed for a week at a place called Dengolat about 60 kilometers south of Mekele city in Tigray state by residents who demanded the Hintalo locality regain its district status.

In an interview with Ethiopian Press Agency, TPLF executive member Getachew Reda rubbished the demands of the protesters whom he described as “kinds of bandits”.

He said the nearby district was in charge to respond to the demands of the residents.  

"Few people living in a locality cannot claim that their demands must be met.  The question can only be solved by a referendum. Hence MPs are sent to the place," he added.

“What the individuals have done was illegal and shameful. We didn't want to apply force to open the road,” Getachew was quoted as saying.

The protestors demanded Hintalo locality regains its district status refusing the decision by the regional government to merge with Hiwane district.

Speaking to local media, residents of the Hintalo locality said the road was opened after negotiations held among elders. However, they said no member of the regional government came to listen to their demands and resolve the road closure problem.

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