Eyewitnesses Confirm Ethiopian Regime Killed Afar Civilians

Eyewitnesses Confirm Ethiopian Regime Killed Afar Civilians

Source: Africa Intelligence

TENSION is running high between the population of the Afar Regional State and the central government run by the ruling EPRDF following the violent repression of Afar civilians by the federal police. The incident took place in the town of Awash, 160 km from Addis Ababa, on 20 April.

According to some witnesses, there were around twelve victims. Civilians had blocked the road from Addis Ababa to Djibouti for several hours to protest against the frequent bandit raids against their livestock. According to them, corrupt members of the federal police turned a blind eye to these raids.
An Ethiopian army general came to negotiate with the demonstrators. He promised them that the
federal police responsible for the repression would be put on trial and that he would deal with the security problem in the zone. He then had the federal army deployed in Awash and the surrounding area.

However, a meeting on this issue between Afar elders and representatives of the Ethiopian government did not finally take place. For their part, some hundreds of students from the nursing college and the University of Samara, capital of the Afar Regional State, held a demonstration on 23 April to protest against the Awash repression and more generally against the fact that Afar land had been seized in Doubté, near Samara. About a dozen demonstrators were arrested and put in prison.

On 21 April, federal police spokesman Abebe Worku played down the incident and denied that any civilians had been killed. However, eyewitnesses confirmed that the federal police had indeed killed Afar civilians.

Confrontations like this are a frequent occurrence in this region, where Afars oppose being expelled from their ancestral land, being displaced and the shortage of water points for their livestock along the River Awash. So far, all their complaints to the federal authorities have been to no avail.