Ethiopia: Oromo Protests – Dozens Die in West Aris Protests – Situation ‘Extremely Volatile’ – Police Officer

 

What started as a “minor confrontation” between groups of civilians and federal security forces in West Arsi zone of the Oromiya regional state on Friday Feb. 12th has degenerated into an “extremely volatile situation”, a police officer from Shashemene town told Addis Standard by phone.

The incident happened as part of a continued (albeit to a lesser extent) protest that shook the Oromiya regional state, the largest of the nine regions in Ethiopia, since it first started on Nov. 12th in Ginchi town, 80km west of Addis Abeba.

Campaigners claim that the weekend protest in West Arsi started when a bus in which a group of wedding goers were riding was stopped by security forces who told the group to stop singing Oromo nationalist songs. The incident ended with a police shooting at the wedding goers and wounding at least four, according to campaigners.

However, the police officer denies the claim and said protesters in Aje town gathered together on Friday in the name of a wedding and “started attacking civilians, including burning of houses and a small Church belonging to Protestant church believers in the area.