News Alerts

01 Jul 2020 | 10:47 AM UTC

Ethiopia: Dozens of fatalities reported amid unrest over killing of prominent Oromo activist June 30 /update 3

Ethiopia News Alert

At least 50 fatalities reported amid unrest over the killing of prominent Oromo activist on June 30; avoid all demonstrations

TIMEFRAME expected from 6/30/2020, 12:00 AM until 7/4/2020, 11:59 PM (Africa/Addis_Ababa). COUNTRY/REGION Ethiopia, Oromia

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Event

As of Wednesday, July 1, at least 50 people are reported to have been killed during widespread unrest in Addis Ababa and the Oromia region on Tuesday, June 30, over the killing of prominent Oromo activist Haacaaluu Hundessa. The fatalities include both members of the security forces and protesters. Significant property damage was also reported in some areas, with a number of businesses and government buildings being set alight during the unrest.

Tuesday's toll includes nine people who were shot dead in the eastern city of Adama when police used live fire in an attempt to disperse protesters. At least 75 people were wounded in the incident, along with 19 others in the nearby town of Dera. Oromo community activists also accused security forces of setting fire to homes in several areas, with more than ten people in Adama being treated for burns. Two were also allegedly shot dead in the town of Chiro. Security forces stated they did not have any information regarding casualties.

Internet services and other communications networks were severely disrupted across Ethiopia on Tuesday amid the unrest, with both mobile data and landline internet connections being blocked and some reports of wider phone network outages. Some services are believed to have been restored by Wednesday morning, but widespread communications disruption is likely to continue in the near term.  

Further unrest and associated security operations are likely in the near term.

Context

Despite Abiy's appointment as Prime Minister in 2018 and the end of the widespread protest campaigns and a state of emergency in the Oromia region, tensions between the government and the Oromo community have remained high in Addis Ababa. Unrest and clashes between protesters and security forces have repeatedly broken out following the killing or arrest of prominent Oromo activists, amid claims that they are being discriminated against in the capital.

Communications networks in Ethiopia are frequently blocked or restricted during major security incidents and unrest, as well as times of heightened political tensions, and the government has often been accused of using the tactic to prevent the spread of rumours and organization of protests via social media.

Advice

Those in Ethiopia are advised to monitor developments and heed any directives issued by local authorities. All demonstrations and political gatherings in Ethiopia should be avoided due to the high risk of incidental violence and aggressive crowd-dispersal operations by security forces.

 

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