Tigray regional state communication bureau confirmed that at least three protesters were killed yesterday by security forces in Alamata, some 758 km from Addis Abeba, in southern district of the Tigay regional state in northern Ethiopia. But residents who spoke to the BBC Amharic put the number of causalities up to five.
The killing happened yesterday afternoon when Tigray region special forces intervened to disperse protesters who went out to the streets demanding the identity question of the Raya people to be recognized as Amhara.
በራያ-አላማጣ ከተማ የማንነት ጥያቄ ያነሱ ዜጎችና የትግራይ ልዮ ሃይል ተጋጭተው ቢያንስ የአንድ ሰው ህይወት አልፏል። pic.twitter.com/PBONlqZStv
- Ethiopia Live Updates (@Ethiopialiveupd) October 21, 2018
According to DW Amharic, the funeral of two of victims took place today during which protests have continued. The news portal said more than 20 were injured in yesterday's crackdown. The Tigray region communication bureau said among the injured were security forces. The bureau also blamed the incident on those who want to score political gains under the guise of the question of identity and warned such incident were unacceptable.
The situation in Raya Alamata area of Tigray region in #Ethiopia is very worrisome. Region Liyu police fired against peaceful protesters and reportedly killed at least three people. Raya people in Tigray region have been raising identity question.
Stop the KILLING! pic.twitter.com/q3iIerttxO
- Belay Manaye (@Belay_Ma) October 21, 2018
Activists however say demonstrators were demanding decades-old grievances of the identity of the Raya people as Amhara and not as demarcated by Ethiopia's current federal arrangement, which places them under Tigray regional state.
Uneasy calm has returned to the area this afternoon after local elders intervened to calm local youth who were chanting "justice for Raya", according to DW Amharic.