Oduu Haaraya

Seven Ethiopian security forces killed, state buildings damaged, in restive Oromia region – minister

DEMONSTRATORS in Ethiopia killed seven security officers in Oromia, the country’s most populous region that’s seen protests over land and political marginalisation since November, Communications Minister Getachew Reda said.

The attack happened Monday in West Arsi district with government buildings also damaged, Getachew said by phone from the capital, Addis Ababa. Authorities don’t know the motive for the attack nor the total number of dead and injured, he said. “The information we have is they were ambushed by people carrying guns, apparently on a rampage,” he said.

Protests by ethnic Oromo occurred in the area after soldiers shot at a bus carrying wedding guests on Feb. 12, U.S.-based activist Jawar Mohammed said Monday on his Facebook page.

Demonstrations since November were mainly against government plans to integrate the development of Addis Ababa with surrounding areas of Oromia, which participants said would involve the unfair eviction of farmers.

Security forces killed as many as 140 people at the “generally peaceful” protests, New York-based Human Rights Watch said Jan. 7. The government, which hasn’t provided a death toll, said last month it was abandoning the integration plan.

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