Update: Eight killed as massive protests flare up in Oromia again
October 12, 2017
While the Voice of America (VOA) put the number of casualties as five, Addis Standard said eight protesters were killed, quoting Addisu Arega Kitessa, a spokesperson of the Oromia regional government.
"The peaceful protest was turned violent when members of a Federal Force fired shots at the protesters who were marching by peacefully," an eye-witness told VOA. "An over 70-year-old elder, who was walking by, was among the four murdered by the Federal Force's unprovoked gunfire." A six-year-old child is also admitted to hospital for gunshot wounds.
Oromia police forces, who were unarmed and keeping the law and order of the marchers, intervened and stopped further bloodshed. The wounded were taken to hospitals in Awassa, Kuyera and other nearby towns.
An estimated 20,000 to 30,000 protesters chocked the roads of Shashamene.
Thousands of Oromos were forcefully evicted from their homes in Somali region and dozens killed in recent weeks, and Wednesday's protest was to condemn the crime and call for respect of the rights of the Oromo people to work and live any part of their country - irrespective of regional enclaves. The protests have also condemned and called for the removal of the ruling EPRDF/TPLF party, demanding the release of prominent opposition leaders Dr. Merera Gudina and Bekele Gerba, among others.
Meanwhile, similar protest marches in Ambo and other towns in Oromia ended peacefully yesterday but the bloody development in Shashamene and Chelenqo, where one protester was killed in the latter, are feared to fuel further protests.
The ruling EPRDF party has been in power since 1991, and in addition to extra-judicial detentions and killings, it employs the policy of ethnic federalism to pit one ethnic group against the other to render Ethiopia weak, divided and haunted by the spectre of a Yugoslavia-like disintegration.
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