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Renewed unrest in Ethiopia Oromia regional state leaves one dead

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Renewed unrest in Ethiopia’s central Oromia regional state left one person dead and four others injured, a regional official said on Saturday.

Speaking to journalists, Ketema Bekelcha, Head of security department at Huro Guduru Wollega zone of Oromia regional state, said the unrest occurred on Friday when youths in Shambu city, 303 km northwest of Addis Ababa, tried to rob passing trucks carrying sugar.

The incident is the second time in two months that unrest over sugar being transported in Oromia caused deaths.

In October, at least eight people died in Ambo city, 130 km north of Addis Ababa, when police and soldiers used live rounds against angry demonstrators who blocked roads to prevent transportation of sugar.

The demonstrators believed erroneously sugar from nearby Fincha sugar factory was being transported illegally to other places.

Ethiopia is in the midst of a severe sugar shortage which the Ethiopian government blames on bad weather condition that halved the country’s sugar production last year.

Oromia, Ethiopia’s largest regional state, has seen large anti-government protests by ethnic Oromos since the end of 2015, leaving hundreds of people dead.

Oromos, Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group making up a third of the country’s 100 million population, complain of decades of economic, political and social marginalization by successive governments.

Martial law declared in October 2016 and later lifted in August 2017 had calmed Oromia regional state, but renewed anti-government protests starting October left several people dead and property damages.

Classes resume in unrest-hit Ethiopian universities

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Classes have resumed in all universities that were hit by deadly unrest earlier this month, an Ethiopian official said on Sunday.

Speaking to Xinhua, Negeri Lencho, Minister of Ethiopia Government Communications Affairs Office (GCAO), said the government is providing free transportation to students who fled the unrest but want to return.

He also said an Ethiopian Parliament committee has visited unrest-hit universities and understood students have both academic and non-academic questions.

"Agreement has been reached for university officials to promptly respond to students’ academic demands while political demands will be given reply by local and federal government officials," said Lencho.

Clashes between university students on Dec. 10-11 at several universities left at least four students dead and several other students injured.

The unrest seems to have significantly eased in recent days but scores of students in various universities have reportedly left their campuses for fear of violence.

In recent years, Ethiopia’s higher education institutions have become scenes of violence between students over ethnic and religious differences.

Ethiopian court jails two members of outlawed rebel group

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- The Ethiopian Federal High Court in Addis Ababa on Saturday gave prison sentences to two members of Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), an outlawed rebel group.

The first defendant Ahmed Abdi was sentenced to 13 years in prison while second defendant Ahmed Mohammed was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

The two, residents of Mogadishu in neighboring Somalia, were caught in July 15, 2016 as they were trying to infiltrate Ethiopia from Somalia.

ONLF is an ethnic rebel group which has been operating in Ethiopia’s Somali regional state for the last two decades.

The rebel group made international headlines in April 24, 2007 when it launched a deadly raid on an oil field in Ethiopia Somali regional state. The attack left 65 Ethiopians and nine Chinese dead.

The oil facility was run by China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (Sinopec).

After the attack the Ethiopian government undertook a vigorous counterinsurgency campaign and indigenization of the security forces in Somali regional state succeeding in taking the sting out of the insurgency.

It also undertook large scale infrastructure projects to win the hearts of local population who were thought to be sympathetic to ONLF.

Five Ethiopians arrested over communal clash

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Police in Ethiopia’s central Oromia regional state announced on Saturday it has arrested five individuals over communal clash.

Yishak Ayana, administrator of Yayu district of Oromia regional state, said the clash left six people injured and yet unspecified material damage, reported state owned Ethiopia News Agency.

He further said police has been able to prevent the clash from escalating with the help of local community.

Yayu and neighboring districts were scenes of communal violence in October 2017 which left more than a dozen dead.

The violence involving members of the Oromo ethnic group, longtime residents of the area, and ethnic Amharas and Tigrayans, who settled in the area in recent decades, raised concerns about the specter of wider civil strife in Ethiopia.

Disputes over resource exploitation and land ownership in Oromia regional states led to unrest in 2016 that left hundreds of dead.

Oromos, Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group making up a third of the country’s 100 million population, have complained of decades of economic, political and social marginalization by successive governments.


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