Eleven killed in clashes in Ethiopia's Oromiya region, official says

by Reuters
Sunday, 22 October 2017 17:43 GMT

Demonstrators chant slogans while flashing the Oromo protest gesture during Irreecha, the thanksgiving festival of the Oromo people, in Bishoftu town, Oromiya region, Ethiopia, in this file photo taken October 2, 2016. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri/File Photo

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Violence broke out after protests led to clashes between ethnic Oromos and Amharas

By Aaron Maasho

ADDIS ABABA, Oct 22 (Reuters) - Ethnic clashes killed 11 people this week in Ethiopia's Oromiya region, a regional government official said on Sunday, the latest unrest in a province that was wracked by violence in 2015 and 2016.

Nearly 700 people died last year during one period of the violence in Ethiopia's largest region and other areas, according to a parliament-mandated investigation.

The unrest forced the government to impose a nine-month state of emergency that was finally lifted in August. Sporadic protests have taken place since then.

Violence broke out this week in two districts in the province's west after protests led to clashes between ethnic Oromos and Amharas, the spokesman for the region's administration said on Sunday.

"Eight Oromos and three Amharas died," spokesman Addisu Arega Kitessa said in a statement.

The previous unrest was provoked by a development scheme for the capital, Addis Ababa, that dissidents said amounted to land grabs. Broader anti-government demonstrations followed, over politics and human rights abuses.

The violence included attacks on businesses, many of them foreign-owned, including farms growing flowers for export.

Separately, clashes along the border between the country's Oromiya and Somali regions last month also displaced hundreds of thousands of people.

The area has been plagued by sporadic violence for decades. A referendum held in 2004 to determine the status of disputed settlements failed to ease tensions.

Those clashes have fueled fears about security in Ethiopia, the region's biggest economy and a staunch Western ally.

(Editing by Katharine Houreld, Larry King)

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