Ethiopia accused of bloody crackdown on protesters

Thousands of people being held without charge, Human Rights Watch says, claiming that protests are continuing.

    Ethiopia accused of bloody crackdown on protesters
    The protests which started in November 2015 have left at least 140 people, Human Rights Watch said in January [Reuters]

    Ethiopian security forces are carrying out a brutal crackdown on peaceful protests in the country's Oromia region and thousands of people are being held without charge, a human rights group has said. 

    The demonstrations began in November due to a government plan to expand the boundaries of Addis Ababa into Oromia, which surrounds the capital, raising fears among Oromo people that their farms would be expropriated.

    Addis Ababa, which has accused the protesters of having links with "terror groups", dropped the plan on January 12 and announced that the situation in Oromia was largely under control.

     
    The New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW), however, said the protests were continuing

    Ethiopia's information minister, Getachew Reda, told Al Jazeera that he had not yet read the report and so could not comment on it.

    HRW noted that researchers were unable to determine how many people have been killed or arrested because access to Oromia is restricted.
        
    "[Ethiopian] activists allege that more than 200 people have been killed since November 12, 2015," the rights group said.

    In a previous document at the beginning of January, HRW reported at least 140 killings.

    "Flooding Oromia with federal security forces shows the authorities’ broad disregard for peaceful protest by students, farmers, and other dissenters," Leslie Lefkow, deputy Africa director at Human Rights Watch, said on Monday.

    "The government needs to rein in the security forces, free anyone being held wrongfully, and hold accountable soldiers and police who used excessive force," Lefkow added.

    The rights group called on the Ethiopian government to end excessive use of force by its security forces, free everyone detained arbitrarily, and conduct an independent investigation into killings and other security force abuses. 

    The Oromos are the largest ethnic group in the horn of Africa country.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Take a tour through East and West Jerusalem to see the difference in quality of life for Israelis and Palestinians.

    Stories from the sex trade

    Stories from the sex trade

    Dutch sex workers, pimps and johns share their stories.

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    As the stigma associated with being childless persists, some elderly women in India risk it all to become mothers.