Ethiopia Arrests 1,700 Officials Over Deadly Unrest

A street in Assela, in the Arsi Zone of the Oromia Regional State.
13 August 2020

Authorities in Ethiopia's Oromia region have arrested about 1,200 zonal and district level government officials in connection with last month's deadly unrest that was sparked by the assassination of popular musician Hachalu Hundesa.

An additional 500 government employees suspected of being involved in the security crisis were also been arrested.

According to a statement by Oromia regional communication affairs bureau, the officials, including heads of administration in towns and districts, were arrested over failure to discharge their responsibility during the violence.

Some government officials were accused of playing a role in spreading the violence to various Oromia regional towns.

Some security officials were accused of lending their weapons to attackers.

Following the week-long protests in July, at least 240 civilians and police officers were killed.

Dozens of residential buildings, business premises, government office blocks and vehicles were destroyed during the chaos.

Thousands of people fled their homes for safety.

In July, the government arrested over 3,500 people in Addis Ababa and in larger parts of the Oromia region.

The bureau said the action taken against the government officials and civil servants in the region is both legal and political.

Meanwhile, the ruling Prosperity Party (PP) branch in the Oromia region has suspended the membership of Ethiopia's Defense minister Lemma Megersa in the executive central committee.

Two others, Teyba Hassen, and Milkessa Midega, were also removed from the executive body.

The trio were kicked out over alleged failure to discharge their duties and acting unilaterally contrary to the party's regulations.

The decision was made last Sunday after the party held an evaluation meeting behind closed doors in the presence of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

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