Home | News    Monday 14 November 2005

Ethiopian police says Eritrea fuelling street violence

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Nov 14, 2005 (ADDIS ABABA) — Ethiopia police on Monday accused Eritrea of fuelling deadly street violence that rocked the country early this month and claimed the lives of at least 48 people.

While presenting the first-ever police report since violence erupted in Addis Ababa, federal police chief said Workneh Gebeyhu, told parliament that Asmara backed the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), based in southern Ethiopia, to foment the deadly skirmishes.

"The Eritrean government was busy deploying the OLF and assisting them to go into violent action in Ambo and other towns," Workneh said.

At least two people were killed last week in Ambo town, 150 kilometres (95 miles) southwest of Addis Ababa, when rioting students clashed with police.

Hospital sources said at least 48 people were killed, but Workneh told Monday’s extraordinary parliament session that 42 people, including seven policemen were killed in the violence.

He blamed main opposition group, Coalition of Unity and Democracy, Voice of America and German broadcaster Deutchewelle.

"The CUD party is bent on violence and rebellion from June to now ... they managed to create turmoil," Workneh said.

"There was a huge loss of life and properties ... it was the tactic of the CUD," he added.

Ethiopian opposition continue to accuse Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s party of fraudulently winning the country’s much-disputed May elections that also sparked street protests in June during which at least 37 people were killed.

The parliament also adopted a resolution to form an independent commission of inquiry within two weeks to investigate the cause of the violence, its nature and damage to property.

Violence erupted in the Ethiopian capital on November 1 when the CUD called on the people to protest the alleged poll fraud and to boycott products by government firms.

Several people were arrested, including the entire CUD leadership as well eight journalists working for local newspapers for their involvelement in the demonstrations.

The OLF was part of Mele’s ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) during 1991-95 transitional period after the fall of the Marxist regime of Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam.

After numerous disputes it quit the coalition and demanded the creation of an independent state to be called Oromia near Ethiopia’s border with Kenya and Somalia.

(AFP/ST)

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