Ethiopia points finger of blame at Egypt and Eritrea over Oromia violence

Ethiopia declares state of emergency after civil unrestReuters

Ethiopia has accused Egypt, Eritrea and other states of arming, training and funding groups which it blames for a wave of protests and violence, forcing authorities to declare a state of emergency. Government spokesman told a news conference the six-month nationwide state of emergency had been declared to better coordinate security forces against "elements" intent on targeting civilians, infrastructure and private investments.

People walk near a torched truck in the compound of a textile factory in the town of SebetaTiksa Negeri/Reuters

Last week, protesters damaged around a dozen factories and equipment mostly belonging to foreign firms, which demonstrators accuse of purchasing leases on seized land. The unrest has cast a shadow over Ethiopia, whose state-led industrial drive has created one of Africa's fastest growing economies but whose government also faces criticism at home and abroad over its authoritarian approach to development.

Major towns and cities across Ethiopia's Oromia region are experiencing unrest and widespread violent protests from people demanding wider freedoms. Some businesses have been targeted because of suspected links to the government. The state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate said attacks on factories in Sebeta town on the outskirts of the capital, Addis Ababa, affected more than 40,000 workers. Textile, plastic, cement and bottled-water factories were targeted.

Advertisement
The interior of a textile factory that was set alight by protesters in the town of SebetaTiksa Negeri/Reuters
A vandalised room is seen through shattered glass at a textile factory in the town of SebetaTiksa Negeri/Reuters
Men walk past a bus that was set alight during protests in the town of Sebeta, Oromia regionTiksa Negeri/Reuters

Rights groups say more than 500 people have died in clashes with police and other confrontations in the Oromia and Amhara regions over the past year. On 2 October, more than 50 people were killed in a stampede after security forces opened fire on anti-government protesters during a religious festival in Bishoftu, southeast of the capital.

Demonstrators chant slogans while flashing the Oromo protest gesture during Irreecha, the thanksgiving festival of the Oromo people, in BishoftuTiksa Negeri/Reuters
Demonstrators flash the Oromo protest gesture during Irreecha, in Bishoftu, Oromia regionTiksa Negeri/Reuters
Ethiopian soldiers react as Oromo protesters flash their gesture in BishoftuTiksa Negeri/Reuters
Police fire tear gas to disperse protesters in Bishoftu during Irreecha, the thanksgiving festival of the Oromo peopleTiksa Negeri/Reuters
People wash the face of a woman after police used tear gas during the Oromo new year holiday Irreechaa in BishoftuZacharias Abubeker/AFP
People assist an injured protester in BishoftuTiksa Negeri/Reuters
An injured protester waits for help after several people died during a stampede in BishoftuTiksa Negeri/Reuters
A man checks the pulse of a victim of a stampede during the Oromo new year holiday Irreechaa in BishoftuZacharias Abubeker/AFP
Men dig in search for bodies one day after a stampede took place during the religious festival of Irreechaa, in BishoftuZacharias Abubeker/AFP
A man attends a prayer session at Biftu Bole Lutheran Church for protesters who died in Bishoftu during Ireecha, the thanksgiving festival for the Oromo peopleTiksa Negeri/Reuters
A woman cries as she attends a prayer session at Biftu Bole Lutheran Church for protesters who died in the town of BishoftuTiksa Negeri/Reuters

Reda told journalists there is "ample evidence" that Egypt provided training and financing to the Oromo Liberation Front, labeled a terrorist organisation by Ethiopia. He also named Eritrea, which has a long-running border dispute with Ethiopia, and Egypt, embroiled in a row with Addis Ababa over sharing Nile waters, as sources of backing for "armed gangs", although he said it might not come from "state actors".

Egypt has dismissed previous accusations that it was meddling in Ethiopian affairs. Eritrea routinely dismisses charges that it wants to destabilise its neighbor, and instead accuses Addis Ababa of stoking unrest on its own soil.

© Copyright 2017 IBTimes Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.