Ethiopian forces ‘kill 140′ in land row over Addis Ababa expansion (AFP)

January 8th, 2016 Print Print Email Email

Nairobi (AFP) – At least 140 people have been killed in Ethiopia over the past two months in a crackdown on anti-government protests sparked by plans to expand the capital into farmland, Human Rights Watch said Friday.

“Security forces have killed at least 140 protesters and injured many more, according to activists, in what may be the biggest crisis to hit Ethiopia since the 2005 election violence,” HRW’s Felix Horne said.

The number reported by HRW is almost double the previous toll of 75 the group gave last month.

There was no immediate response from the Ethiopian government, which has previously put the death toll at five.

The protests began in November when students opposed government proposals to take over territory in several towns in the Oromia region, sparking fears that Addis Ababa was looking to grab land traditionally occupied by the Oromo people, the country’s largest ethnic group.

“Over the past eight weeks, Ethiopia’s largest region, Oromia, has been hit by a wave of mass protests over the expansion of the municipal boundary of the capital, Addis Ababa,” Horne said.

“The generally peaceful protests were sparked by fears the expansion will displace ethnic Oromo farmers from their land, the latest in a long list of Oromo grievances against the government.”

- Leaders and journalists arrested -

On December 23, police arrested Bekele Gerba, 54, deputy chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), Oromia’s largest legally registered political party. Bekele was previously convicted in 2011 of being a member of the banned Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), spending four years in jail.

Bekele, a foreign language professor, “was reportedly hospitalized shortly after his arrest but his whereabouts are now unknown,” HRW added. “Other senior OFC leaders have been arbitrarily arrested in recent weeks or are said to be under virtual house arrest.”

The United States, a key ally of Ethiopia, last month expressed “grave concern” over the unrest. Washington has also criticised Ethiopia’s arrest of journalists following the crackdown.

Ethiopians stand near the body of an Oromo protester who was allegedly shot dead by security forces …
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) say Fikadu Mirkana, from state-run broadcaster Oromia Radio and TV, and Getachew Shiferaw, editor of the Negere Ethiopia online newspaper, were arrested last month.

“By treating both opposition politicians and peaceful protesters with an iron fist, the government is closing off ways for Ethiopians to nonviolently express legitimate grievances,” Horne said.

“This is a dangerous trajectory that could put Ethiopia’s long-term stability at risk,” he warned.

With at least 27 million people, Oromia is the most populous of the country’s federal states and has its own language, Oromo, distinct from Ethiopia’s official Amharic language.

HRW has said the protests — and bloody crackdown — echoed protests in April and May 2014 in Oromia, when police were accused of opening fire and killing “dozens” of protestors. The government said eight people died in the 2014 unrest.

Some 200 people were killed during post-election violence in 2005.

  1. ዘረ-ያዕቖብ ወ.ግ.ዓ.ም-ፅዮን The Eth. Korrektiv Therapeut
    | #1

    “ጥቁር ዳመና ይታየኛል ያለው. ጥቁሩ ዳመና ባይዘንብና እኔ ውሸታም ሆኘ ብገኝ እንዴት ደስ ባለኝ!

    እባካችሁን ንቃት በጎደለው ህብረተሰባችን አንጫወት! ለየጥቅማችንም አንጠቀምበት!” ስል ከጥቂት ሳምንታት

    (ቀናት) በፊት ተናግሬ ነበር! እንደሚታየው ከሆነ “ውሸታም” እንኳን ለመሆን አልተሳካልኝም ማለት ነው!

    ሁላችንም ልብ እንግዛ! ለ140ዎቹ ወገኖች ሂይወት ማለፍ በየተለያየ መልኩ ሁላችንም ተጠያቂዎች ነን! መንግስት

    የህዝብን ንብረት ባይዘርፍ ኖሮና “ተቃዋሚዎችም”(የውጭ ሃይሎች ተሽቀርቃሪዎች) በየሞቀው

    የሩቅ ቤቶቻቸው ውስጥ ሆነው የጦር አዝማቾች ባይሆኑ ኖሮ ይሄን ያህል ሂይወት ባልጠፋ ነበር! ለወደፊቱስ

    ይሄንን ገብተንበት የምንገኘውን ውጥረት እንዴት ልንወጣው ነው!!??

  2. abebe
    | #2

    TPLF seized power by their guns. they are violent thugs. they do not have the capacity nor the tendency to serve the people as a whole. they do not represent the people. they cover themselves behind a camouflage called EPRDF to appear democratic and all inlcusive to the aid donors. In reality Eprdf is a collection of ethnic based bandas and opportunists who are recruited by Tplf to do the dirty work for Tplf. tplf hires and fires them

    tplf has thus set up an ethnic apartheid system whereby people are segregated by ehnicity and forced to live in designated ethnic homelands. those people who do not belong to the local ethnic grop are forcibly evicted. ethnic cleansing has become a feature of the ethnic apartheid system.

    land is totally under the control of tplf looters. tplf is selling the land , leasing, and renting it to earn foreign currency for its politbureau members. tplf use the land of the country as their personal belonging,

    the famine is the result of tplf policy. tplf evicts people from the land and exposes them to famine and death. the famine im many parts of the country is tplf made, who use famine as a means to kill the people.

    there are oromo opportunists who are benefiting with tplf . these opportunists are protecting their interests by allying with tplf and serving as whipping boys.

    likewise there are as many opportunist amharas, wolaytas, gurages etc who are collaborating with tplf thugs to destroy the people and the country.

    we should be able to see things beyond ethnicity. an OPDO cadre has no sympathy with an oromo simply because he is oromo, he is more intersted in securing is advantage and would serve tplf to protect his interest.

    similarly any ANDM member has no sympathy with an amhara person, because he does not represent amhara.he repreents tplf. infact ANDM does not even have amara among its leadership, it is only in name.

    tplf created opprtunist ethnic based bandas are currently responsible for the killings of oromos , amharas , etc. they are the legislators of Tplf. they give order to the police to shoot protesters. people in each region should take actin against these opportunist tplf servants. only then will tplf be wiped out if its roots are wiped out at local level.

  3. Engida
    | #3

    The saddest part, we are not getting attention from world media, we demonstrated here and there and the TPLF keep killing and the last few weeks 140 people killed, the world particular the western world did not care, if you search on google about Ethiopia they are talking more positive things about Ethiopia? ‘Ethiopia, the African lion of development’ from The Korea Herald, Ethiopian industry: still banking on China, Inside Ethiopia’s Selam Festival Addis, unbelievable sources And diverted to the positive ones, I guess we Ethiopians helplessly watching the TPLF regime killing people as they want. Our freedom is gone!

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