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Tensions in Weldiya, Ethiopia, escalates after death of seven civilians

Ethiopian protesters running away from tear gas fired by regime forces

Tensions in Weldiya, Ethiopia, escalates after death of seven civilians

By Yosief Abraham Z/ From HorMid

Reports from Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation (EBC) and Amharic Voice of America have affirmed of mounted tension in Weldiya, Ethiopia. Accordingly, the clashes during the annual commemoration of Kana Ze Gelila on Saturday, 20 January of 2018, has been resulted to the fatalities of seven civilians and several wounded civilians. “There were irritating remarks that would have been ruinous had the society not been patient on Thursday, on eve of Epiphany observance,” an eyewitness told to VOA.

“This is not a suddenly outraged affair; it goes back when the Tigrayans football team from Mekelle arrived to Weldiya for sport race. The incident was, however, chaotic, clouded by racial reactions. We were living peacefully; unfortunately, ethnic-centered segregations are now installed. The ‘Amhara-Tigrayans’ sentiments are implanted by the TPLF; and we believe that the death of the seven civilians is a revenge of the one Tigrayan who was dead in Weldiya in past times,” the eyewitness authenticated.

In addition to the briefing by the state run TV from Addis Ababa, which affirmed of the incident, burnt houses, a few looted business homes and small shops, have also been the result of the revived debacle in Weldiya. “The presence of the soldiers from the Defense Ministry is escalating the situation. The residents are telling that they are capable of administering—together with police and elders from the town—the temporary turmoil. Nevertheless, the soldiers are there still, a catalyst for the current mounted tensions,” reported another witness.

Indicated that the soldiers from the Defense Ministry grossly failed in their attempt to curb the residents from taking part in the funeral procession and ritual performances, the residents are alleging the ruling party’s hobbled capacities to aid people in frail times. “Why the soldiers from the Defense Ministry are authorized to air their bullets over civilians, is really irritating, just an invitation for exacerbated bloodshed,” the witnesses elaborated.

Historical archives show that Weldiya was attacked in 1948 by the Yejju Oromo as part of the Woyane Rebellion. Moreover, after four decades, the military despotic—the Dergue—also bombarded the town on 16-17 November of 1988; but there weren’t reported death accounts.

Yosief Abraham Z is a freelance journalist and Executive Director of HorMid Media and Art Center. You can contact him at
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