It is known that because of the riots and chaos that had occurred throughout Ethiopia in the previous weeks, a lot of damage has been done. Over 86 people have died and a lot more have endured physical injuries from the chaos that started by barricades and road blocking. Even though the government has stated that the situation has been handled, in some places it has continued and the incidents that have been reported to Fitih Magazine prove that.
Some residents of Kirmo, western Wollega zone, have reported that due to fears for their safety they were persuaded to escape to and hide in the woodlands. “It has been a week since we had hidden” said the people. “The government cannot provide protection for us from the people who are chasing us.” They have chosen to remain anonymous due to fears of any harm reaching their loved ones.
An account of how this situation started stated that two men claiming themselves be members of the group Qerro, tried to lure out other two men with the intention of robbing them and when they figured it out and tried to protect themselves, the Qerro called for arrests for them and others in their circle. Seven people have been arrested because of this and had been held for more than forty-eight hours without any charges.
Another account stated that it all started after a meeting held in Bedessa woreda. When the meeting ended six people were arrested without court orders and without any clear cause. The reason for those people to head in to the woodlands was out of fear of being murdered by the group through ethnic based violence.
Protest of elders in Afar. The peace conference concerning conflicts arising in the Somali-Afar regional borders has faced disapprovals from various Afar elders. The conference was held in the town of Gedamaytu(Adaytu) which is one of the three small towns disputed over by the two regions. The elders disapproved of the fact that government Medias have reported the conference to be successful in resolving the differences between the two regions and even though the conference was reported to be so, it was not all inclusive. They claimed that the representatives of the region were not present at the conference and that members of the Esa society did not participate. They also asked for justice to be served to groups who maliciously and intentionally start conflicts in the disputed regions. These and other reasons have caused protests to be held in Afar and roads leading to Djibouti from Dire Dawa had been blocked.
The Ministry of Peace has stated that the people-to-people conference was held with the intention and hope to resolving conflicts and tensions between the two regions. It is feared that if the government does not respond in time, conflicts may arise again.
The city of Dire Dawa has been the main site for conflicts these past few weeks. Besides the physical and material damages, these conflicts have caused the socio-economic movements to be halted for days. The city has also been prone to twenty-five house raids and robberies and four arsonist attacks. The communications bureau officer, Mr. Hiskyas Taffese has stated that the robberies were carried out by organized criminal groups who reside outside of the city and who intentionally planned to start ethnic and religious conflicts which had been the cause for seven residents of the city to lose their lives.
A hundred and ten people have been arrested for being major suspects in the starting and spreading of the conflicts. The EFDR General Prosecutor’s Office has stated that it is gathering evidence to press charges against those suspected of the crimes in a joint effort with the city police. The perpetuators will be charged with manslaughter, arson and destroying or damaging properties.