Ethiopia Oromo Protests Spark Fatal Ethnic Clash, Group Says

Ethiopia Oromo Protests Spark Fatal Ethnic Clash
Ethiopia Oromo Protests Spark Fatal Ethnic Clash, Group Says

By William Davison | Bloomberg

  • Oromo, Amhara ethnic groups in conflict over land in one area
  • Opposition says over 40 dead in three weeks of Oromo protests

Protests by Ethiopia’s largest community against a plan to integrate the capital, Addis Ababa, with surrounding towns have spiraled into fatal clashes between ethnic groups over land in one district, the Ethiopian Human Rights Council said.

Conflict between Oromo and Amhara people in Ameya Woreda of Oromia state flared on Dec. 12 after three weeks of protest across the region over the Addis Ababa plan, according to Betsate Terefe, executive director of the Addis Ababa-based group.

“Real ethnic conflict broke out and is under way,” he said in an e-mailed statement on Sunday. “Many houses burned, people killed and wounded.”

Ethiopia is a multi-ethnic federation whose constitution gives groups the right to self-government and protects their language and culture. Oromo protesters say the plan for the capital will lead to a further loss of autonomy and marginalization for Oromo living on the outskirts of the capital. The government says integrated development will benefit everyone.

Two Dutch-owned farms have been burned down and another was attacked in West Shewa zone, the Netherlands Embassy in Ethiopia said in an e-mailed statement. Solagrow and Grazeland Farm Agro Industry were destroyed on Dec. 11 and Sunday, while Linssen Roses was stoned by a crowd on Dec. 10, it said.

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