Ethiopia arrests ex-Somali region head over rights abuses

Police in Ethiopia arrested the former president of the volatile eastern Somali region on charges of human rights abuses after a series of deadly clashes earlier this month.

Monday's arrest of Abdi Mohamed Omar, who was forced to resign earlier this month, came days after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said he would face charges following fighting in the regional capital, Jijiga, and nearby towns.

"Abdi was arrested for allegedly being behind the human rights violations as well as the ethnic and religious clashes that have happened in the Ethiopian Somali region," Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation (EBC) said, citing the attorney general.

Television images showed Abdi being led out of his villa in a posh neighbourhood in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, and into a four-wheel drive.

Five Kalashnikov assault weapons and four pistols were discovered inside Abdi's house, the state broadcaster reported.

Abdi's arrest and dismissal follow recent unrest in the region, which has left at least 20 people, including five priests, dead and forced thousands to flee Jijiga, as mobs looted properties owned by ethnic minorities and torched several Ethiopian Orthodox churches. Read more...

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