Three killed as Ethiopian police stop church construction

Ethiopian Orthodox celebrate in Addis Ababa
Ethiopian Orthodox celebrate in Addis Ababa

ADDIS ABABA (AFP) — Ethiopian police shot dead two people and injured six others as they blocked an attempt by Christians to build a church at a site also claimed by Muslims, a government spokesman said Wednesday.

Orthodox Christians attacked police Tuesday in Dessie area some 250 kilometres (155 miles) northeast of Addis Ababa when the forces tried to stop the construction.

“They stormed the place and then they started bringing materials to continue building the church unlawfully,” spokesman Bereket Simon told reporters.

“Unfortunately three lives have been claimed. Two of them were killed by bullets, one of them fell off a cliff.”

In 2007, around 12 people were killed in religious riots in western Ethiopia. Bereket said there has been an “upsurge of attempts” to instigate further conflict in recent months.