Ethiopia: 40 killed by paramilitary troops in Oromiya

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At least 40 people were killed in eastern Ethiopia over the weekend by regional paramilitary forces, senior officials said on Monday.

Spokesman for the Oromiya regional administration, Negeri Lencho, said heavily armed members of a paramilitary from Ethiopia’s Somali region carried out attacks across the border in Oromiya’s East Hararghe district. Lencho confirmed at least 40 ethnic Oromos were killed in the attacks but admitted the reason behind the violence remains unknown.

At least 40 killed in Oromiya

“We still do not know why Liyu forces raided the areas on Saturday and Sunday,” Negeri Lencho told reporters on Monday. “But we know that all the victims were ethnic Oromos. At least 40 were killed in the attacks.”

Violence escalated in eastern Ethiopia a week earlier when mobs began looting properties owned by ethnic minorities in the capital of Ethiopia’s Somali region, Jijiga. The government said the unrest was caused by regional officials falling out with central authorities trying to address human rights abuses in the region.

However, it’s not clear whether this has any connection to the attacks that took place in Oromiya over the weekend.

Ethiopia’s diverse ethnic makeup is proving to be one of prime minister Abiy Ahmed’s toughest domestic challenges after the country’s new leader appears to have successfully calmed anger against the government. Years of violent protests led to two states of emergency and the resignation of his predecessor, Hailemariam Desalegn, although Abiy has brought a new sense of hope to the country with a number of domestic reforms and peace efforts with neighbouring countries.

However, the prospect of healing Ethiopia’s internal ethnic divides will prove to be an entirely different challenge altogether.

Featured image: By Bernard Gagnon – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29648677

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.