Ethiopia: Report says 669 killed in recent violence
A government-backed report says almost 700 people have been killed during violent unrest in Ethiopia since August 2016.
Protests broke out in the Oromo region in late 2015 and later spread to other parts of the country – often with deadly consequences. This latest report brings the total death toll to 900 since the protests began. Independent rights groups have been denied access to conduct their own probe into the violence.
Report blames opposition groups
The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, which was backed by the government to conduct its investigation – presented its findings on Tuesday. It largely blames opposition groups for the violence, defending security forces for reacting in a “lethal” manner.
“The violence happened because the protesters were using guns and so security forces had no other option,” Addisu Gebregziabher, the commission’s head, told parliament.
The reports, which is the second to be conducted by the same commission, claims police used “proportionate force” throughout most of the demonstrations. The only real concedence is that police could have provided better security during rallies.
669 casualties since August
The report says that 669 people have died during unrest since August last year. This comprises of 495 people in Oromia, 462 of whom were civilians and 33 security personnel. In Amhara, 110 civilians and 30 security personnel were killed during the same period, totalling 140. While 34 deaths were recorded in the SSNP regional states.
Ethiopia declared a six-month state of emergency in October and moved to extend it by another four months in March. The government has refused to grant independent investigations into the violence and conduct of security forces during the demonstrations.
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