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Ethiopian PM breaks silence over Oromo region violence that claimed at least 67 lives

Ethiopian Prime Minister seems to think that the violence in Oromo region of Ethiopia that claimed at least 67 lives in the past few days is a politically motivated one. He says it was meant to distract the march on the path of reform. His statement says that government will decisively act to bring “those responsible before law and punish them.”

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed finally breaks his silence on the latest string of violence that claimed the lives of at least 67 people, as confirmed by media outlets like Reuters, across several towns in Oromo region of Ethiopia. 

Oromo regional state police has confirmed the numbers. It has also confirmed that more than 200 people have sustained injury some of them life threatening.

The prime minister was in Russia for the Russia-Africa summit, seemingly he returned to Ethiopia either late Friday or early Saturday. 

In a statement issued on Saturday in Ethiopia’s official language, Amharic, which is shared by the office of the Prime Minister, state and affiliated media, he said, “First I would like to state that I am saddened by the violence that claimed the lives of citizens and destruction of their properties.” 

The statement confirmed that churches (Ethiopian churches) have been burned, businesses attacked and destroyed. Residents (did not specify the number but news sources estimate it to be that hundreds of thousands of people) are displaced. Inter-regional passengers stranded. 

“A horrifying and evil act, that is even hard to hear about it, let alone to see it, is committed  against our compatriots,” it reiterated.  

He then pointed out that the challenge that Ethiopia is facing could be difficult and scary unless Ethiopians stand together and work together. 

There was an effort to give the problem an appearance of violence based on ethnicity and religion in the eyes of the prime minister. “Because of that out compatriots have been sacrificed in a shocking way,”he added.   

In terms of action, the statement said, “We will work to ensure the rule of law  is enforced and that the culprits are held legally accountable.” The Prime Minister emphasized that the government will work decisively towards that.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s statement also said that “the purpose of the challenge was to make us feel disappointed and derail us from our path…even if we face a bigger challenge, we will not stop marching forward. We will not abandon the wheat either because of the weed. What we would do is that we will uproot the weed. We will remove hurdles and keep on focusing on ahead, and will not be distracted to the left or the right.” 

The latest string of violence was triggered by Jawar Mohammed, a media owner with more than 1.7 million followers on facebook, when he wrote an update claiming that armed groups are deployed to his residence on the night of October 22. 

Most of the victims in the latest attacks were followers of Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Churches were torched with fire in some places. In Bale Robe, Oromo region, even a hand grenade was thrown in a church.  

The Ethiopian church has called on a memorial service on Sunday across Ethiopia to pray for the victims. 

Ethiopians defense forces are deployed to different parts of Oromo region of Ethiopia to restore order but it is not confirmed if the situation is under control at this writing. read more...

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