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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Ethiopia Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn tenders resignation

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn offered to resign on Thursday in what he says is an effort to advance reforms aimed at easing the country’s political unrest.

Speaking on state television, Desalegn said he has submitted his letter of resignation as both prime minister and chairman of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) coalition.

The prime minister said he is stepping down “to be part of the solution and for the success of the reforms and the solutions we have put in place.”

The proposed reforms, which he did not specify, come at a time of unrest “where many lives have been lost, people have been displaced and property damaged, and there are efforts to harm investments,” Hailemariam said.

Both the EPRDF and his party, the Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement, have accepted his resignation, and he hoped parliament would accept it, Hailemariam added.

Desalegn, 52, took over the position of prime minister soon after the death of late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in August 2012.

As chairman of EPRDF, Desalegn won praises for his technocratic expertise, though he has struggled to rise politically above the shadow of Meles, who ruled the east African country for 21 years.

In recent months, internal political wrangling between four coalition partners of EPRDF, Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF), Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM), South Ethiopia People’s Democratic Movement and Oromo Peoples Democratic Organization (OPDO) has cast fears over the stability of the nation of about 100 million people.

Ethiopia has also been reeling from deadly protests since 2016, especially in the two most populous regional states of Amhara and Oromia, over alleged political and economic marginalization.

It’s not immediately clear who will replace Desalegn, but there is speculation that the OPDO, which rules Oromia, the most populous regional state, is angling to have its candidate take over the post.

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EARLIER REPORTS:

Nine dead in unrest in Ethiopia’s central Oromia regional state

ADDIS ABABA, (Xinhua) -- Unrest in Ethiopia’s central Oromia regional state left nine people dead, a regional official said on Wednesday evening.

Speaking to journalists, Umi Abajemal, deputy head of the Oromia regional state communication affairs bureau, said a further 13 people were injured in the unrest that affected various parts of Oromia.

She also said most areas affected by the blocking of roads and ceasing of commercial activities is returning to normal.

The deaths in the Oromia regional state occurred during a three-day strike called by activists starting on Monday to call for release of prisoners and political reforms.

The Ethiopian government seemingly relenting to the protesters’ demands freed hundreds of jailed suspects on Wednesday.

Ethiopia is still reeling from unrest that affected large parts of the country in 2016.

The unrest in 2016 led to the deaths of hundreds and was dubbed by analysts as the gravest challenge the ruling coalition Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front faced in 25 years.

The unrest involving parts of the three most populous regions of Amhara, Oromia and Southern led to an imposition of martial law in October 2016 which was only lifted in August 2017.

However, sporadic deadly protests especially in Amhara and Oromia regional states in recent months have renewed fears about Ethiopia’s stability.

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Four killed during weekend unrest in Eastern Ethiopia

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Unrest in Ethiopia’s eastern Harari regional state left four people dead, a regional official said on Tuesday.

Nesredin Ali, Harari regional state police commissioner, said the deaths happened on Sunday as organized “anti-peace” forces clashed with security forces, reported state-affiliated media outlet Radio Fana.

Another 10 people suffered light and heavy injuries in the clashes while seven trucks carrying humanitarian aid were destroyed in the unrest, according to the report, without identifying the identities of the victims.

Ali didn’t specify what caused the unrest or who the anti-peace forces were.

“In addition, machineries amounting to 150 million Ethiopian birr (5.5 million US dollars) were destroyed in the unrest,” he said.

Ethiopia is still reeling from unrest that affected large parts of the country in 2016. The unrest in 2016 led to the deaths of hundreds and was dubbed by analysts as the gravest challenge the ruling coalition Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front faced in 25 years.

The unrest involving parts of the three most populous regions of Amhara, Oromia and Southern regional states led to an imposition of martial law in October 2016 which was only lifted in August 2017.

However, sporadic deadly protests especially in Amhara and Oromia regional states in recent months have renewed fears about Ethiopia’s stability.

             

 

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