At least 28 people were killed and over 2,500 youths arrested in the capital Addis Ababa following latest flare-ups in Ethiopia, official confirmed.
The Addis Ababa Police Commissioner, Maj Gen Degife Badi, Monday indicated that the deaths arose from the clashes between the youth from Addis Ababa and those from the neighbouring Oromia.
The dead included five people who were shot by the security forces in Addis Ababa, during the demonstration against the killings of dozens of people in Burayu town of Oromia, in the outskirt of Addis Ababa. Some 12,000 non-Oromo people were also reportedly displaced.
The clashes were first reported on September 13, when some Oromo youths began painting the streets of Addis Ababa with the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) flag colours. Their action prompted resistance by their Addis Ababa city counterparts, occasioning the violent confrontations, according to the police commissioner.
Painting the streets
“Some unidentified youth in Addis Ababa city tried to stop those youth from Oromia who were painting the streets," said Maj Gen Degife, adding that stopping them should have been the duty of the police.
After two days of tension, the exiled leaders of OLF, once branded as a terrorist group, were treated to a colourful welcome in Addis Ababa on September 15.
The police have indicated that the welcome ceremony was peaceful.
The police further disclosed that 107 of the people involved in the clashes would be arraigned in court to face charges.
Were not related
Maj Gen Degife indicated that over the past few days, another 1,459 people had been arrested in Addis Ababa for smoking shisha, chewing khat and engaging in gambling.
He said that most of them were released after police cautioned them to desist from engaging in the activities.
The police, however, said that the Burayu killings and displacements were not related to the clashes in Addis Ababa.
The security agents blamed the Addis Ababa chaos on gangsters intent on committing robberies. They said the robbers made their actions look like an attack by the Oromo youth on members of other communities, to inflame ethnic conflicts.
Reports indicate that the people displaced from Burayu were returning to their homes.