Ethiopia: More than 1,000 people killed in ethnic violence over past year

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Ethiopia’s government has confirmed that more than 1,000 people have been killed in ethnic violence over the past 12 months.

The East African nation has seen a drastic rise in clashes between ethnic groups since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came into power in April last year. While the new PM has opened up political freedoms in Ethiopia, his reforms have also created space for violence between the country’s 80 recognised ethnic groups.

Millions displaced by violence

Ethiopia’s attorney general’s office says ethnic violence over the past 12 months has killed at least 1,200 people and displaced a further 1.2 million from their homes. After coming into office last year, Abiy Ahmed embarked on a campaign of reforms, addressing a number of key political, press and human rights issues that prompted years of nationwide protests that ultimately resulted in his predecessor Hailemariam Desalegn resigning.

However, greater political freedom has also allowed certain groups to stoke ethnic tension and border disputes between Ethiopia’s nine states have reemerged.

Some have criticised Abiy Amhed for not doing more to prevent outbreaks of violence and protect ethnic minorities – including certain rights groups who say the government has forced displaced people to return to their homes without providing security.

Featured image: By Jonathan Alpeyrie – by user:jalpeyrie (via email), CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4185027

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.