Civilian Killings Reported In Ethiopia’s Amhara Unrest
At least two civilians who had sheltered in a displacement camp have been killed during clashes in the Ethiopian city of Debrebirhan as protests intensify in the country’s Amhara region, residents have told the BBC.
Protests broke out last week when Ethiopia’s federal government announced a plan to dissolve Amhara’s regional special forces. Locals fear the move could leave the region undefended against attacks.
The reforms are among stipulations of a peace deal between the federal government and former rebels from the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) signed last November to end the conflict.
Residents have told the BBC that Tuesday’s clashes between federal security forces and local militias in Debrebirhan, 130 km north of the capital, Addis Ababa, stayed for hours.
According to one resident, the two individuals killed were sheltered in a camp in the city after fleeing ethnic-based violence in the country’s western Oromia region.
The BBC has not been able to independently confirm the claim.
Another resident said protesters raided a police department in the city, vowing to free people detained in connection with a massive anti-government rally on Sunday.
There have been eight different statements from federal and regional authorities since protests began in which they argued the integration of the special forces into the national army or police will strengthen the country’s security apparatus, but the protests have continued.
The unrest was reported in the Amhara capital, Bahirdar, on Tuesday.
In the latest statement, the head of the ruling Prosperity Party’s regional branch blamed the violence on “failure to create awareness”, and said the government was ready to resolve any issues through dialogue.