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Ethiopian Prime Minister visits violence-hit areas
with promise to bring perpetrators to justice   

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Wednesday urged residents affected by recent ethnic violence to live together in harmony.

Ahmed, who brought together some 1,300 residents of one of the violence-hit areas in Ethiopia’s southern region on Wednesday to make peace, has vowed to bring perpetrators of the ethnic violence to justice, state news agency ENA reported.

The premier “emphasized government officials will have to take full responsibilities for allowing tragic incidents to happen,” Fitsum Arega, Chief of Staff of the Ethiopian Prime Minister Office, said in his twitter account on Wednesday.

“He (Ahmed) called on Sidama, Wolaita, Gurage, Kebena top leaders to resign immediately,” Arega added.

The premier, who has visited the violence-affected areas since Tuesday, also urged residents to respect movement of people in the country.

The regional communications bureau last week disclosed that several days of violence in the regional capital of Hawassa alone had left 10 people dead, 89 others injured, and more than 2,500 people displaced.

The ethnic violence in Welkite town involved ethnic Kebenas with Gurages; while the Sidamas, who are the original inhabitants of the Hawassa city, went into ethnic clashes with the neighboring Wolaita ethnic group.

Ethnic Sidamas and ethnic Wolaitas are among the numerous ethnic groups in the Southern regional state and have a history of tension spilling occasionally into deadly communal violence, reportedly over land rights and economic resources.

Hawassa, one of Ethiopia’s fastest growing cities, is home to Ethiopia’s flagship Hawassa Industrial Park.

The chains of ethnic violence in the reported areas occurred amid a relatively better security situations that are witnessed in Ethiopia, which has seen recurrent violent demonstrations since the second half of 2016.

Ahmed, while briefing the Ethiopian House of People’s Representatives (HoPR) on Monday, said the reconciliation efforts accompanied by discussions with different groups have brought better security situations over the past two months.

According to Ahmed, Ethiopia was at a cross road as the worsening peace and security challenges exacerbated earlier this year, eventually leading Africa’s second populous nation “into a brink of disintegration.”

Ahmed, who became Ethiopia’s prime minister in April, had vowed to ensure unity and equality among Ethiopians in socioeconomic and political scenarios.

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