Ethiopia Asked to do More to Curb Ethnic Violence

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ADDIS ABABA, 12 JUNE 2018 – Amnesty International has blamed the Ethiopian government for not doing enough to curb ethnic violence that has been escalating in some regions of the Horn of Africa country.

Groups of youth from the Oromo – Ethiopia’s biggest ethnic group based in Oromia, the country’s largest region, have been accused of targeting thousands of Amhara, the country’s second biggest ethnic group.

Twenty people have been killed in attacks since last October.

“The Ethiopian government must take action to prevent these brutal attacks on the Amhara community, who have been targeted due to their ethnicity and now face being made homeless,” said Joan Nyanyuki, the East Africa director of Amnesty International in a statement.

Amnesty International said during the week ending June 10, Oromo youth groups surrounded Amhara homes, beating residents, and looting property. The victims have said the authorities have done nothing to stop the attackers.

The country is divided into ethnically demarcated federal regions.

In 2017, ethnic violence along Oromia’s shared border with neighboring Somali region left hundreds dead and at least 1.1 million displaced, according to the United Nations.

“Ethiopia’s new government has been making great strides to improve human rights in the country, but the pattern of ethnically motivated violent attacks and displacement is being shamefully ignored,” Nyanyuki added.

After assuming the position of prime minister in January 2018, Abiy Ahmed, an Oromo, called for peace in a visit to the Somali regional capital, saying fighting between the two peoples was “contrary to the Ethiopian culture and a shameful spot in our history,” according to media reports.

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