Ongoing Riots Target Locals, Foreigners

The US Embassy in Addis Abeba has confirmed the death of an American citizen, attacked inside a vehicle driving outside of the capital on Monday, October 4, 2016.

Fresh protests erupted on Monday across Oromia Regional State after a large number of deaths occurred at a traditional thanksgiving event in the town of Bishoftu (Debrezeit) on Sunday morning. A reported 55 people died, after a stampede triggered by tear gas shots fired by the region’s law enforcement force. This was done to disburse protesters showing the now popular symbol of crossing their hands above their heads. However, eyewitnesses in the town give an account of casualties numbering much higher than what the government has acknowledged.

Immediately after the incident, protesters began blocking roads on the way to Hawassa and Ambo, and battled with the police. On Monday, protesters burned down no less than five flower farms in the Sebeta area, including Selam and Highland Flora, and torched factories in the same neighbourhood, owned by Turkish investors, including SAYGIN DIMA Textile Factory, Bmet Cables and Kumtek Plc – both PVC and plastic processing companies.  SAIGN DIMA reports the highest degree of damage, with three factory blocks completely burned down and huge property damage in the remaining office blocks. Personnel have also been physically attacked and hospitalised.

“We are still advised to stay away from the area and are unable to assess the level of damage,” a company source told Fortune.

The two cement plants operating on the outskirts of Addis Abeba had their trucks and trailers burned to ashes; Derba lost five trucks and the Nigerian investment, Dangote, lost three, according to eyewitnesses.

The violent protests on Monday also attacked individual residences in Alem Gena town, where protesters reportedly torched homes, eyewitnesses said. It has reached at the edge of the capital, where federal police disbursed angry protesters in a condo site known as Jemo.

Although the Embassy declined to provide further information, the incident reportedly happened in the town of Holleta, 38km west of Addis Abeba. The victim was inside a minibus passing through the town when angry protesters threw rocks, causing the death of the American.

Published on Oct 06,2016 [ Vol 17 ,No 857]



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