Ethiopia says 78 killed in protests against treatment of activist

3 mins read

Government says investigations into ‘senseless act’ of last week’s violence continue, warns death toll could rise.

At least 78 people were killed in protests in Ethiopia last week against the treatment of a highly influential activist and media entrepreneur, a spokeswoman for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has said.

Billene Seyoum told a news conference on Thursday that those killed had died in a “very senseless act of violence” in the Oromia and Harari regions, and in the eastern city of Dire Dawa.

Billene said 409 people had been arrested over the unrest, which erupted in the capital, Addis Ababa, and in Oromia on October 23 after Jawar Mohammed, a prominent activist and founder of the Oromia Media Network, accused security forces of trying to orchestrate an attack against him. Police denied his claim.

She added that investigations were ongoing and both the death toll and number detained could rise.

Abiy was meanwhile greeted with boos by at least 700 protesters during a visit to Ambo, a site of earlier violence located 100km (62 miles) west of Addis Ababa, three people who were present told Reuters News Agency by phone.

As the prime minister entered a meeting with local politicians, supporters of Jawar gathered outside the town hall chanting “Down Abiy” and “We stand with Jawar, Jawar is our hero,” the people present said.

One said the chants were so strong that the prime minister left the meeting early and was airlifted out of Ambo in a helicopter amid tight security.

Long-repressed tensions

Supporters of Jawar took to the streets last week to protest against his alleged treatment after he said police had surrounded his home in Addis Ababa and tried to withdraw his government security detail.

Crowds of young men from his Oromo ethnic group quickly turned their anger against, Abiy, also an Oromo, saying that he had betrayed them by mistreating Jawar.

Jawar’s ability to organise street protests helped propel Abiy to power last year.

Since his appointment in 2018, Abiy has implemented sweeping political reforms which have won him international praise but also lifted the lid on long-repressed tensions between the country’s many ethnic groups. He won the Nobel peace prize this month “for his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and in particular for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea“, a longtime foe.

In advance of elections planned for next year, Abiy must navigate a delicate line between increasing political freedoms and reigning in individuals building ethnic powerbases by demanding more access to land, power and resources for their groups.

Is Ethiopia on a path to inclusive democracy?



  1. Dr. Abiye must announce and declare Hear Mohamed a terrorist. And same punishment be given to him.

  2. Abdiaziz from somalia: in my point of view I believe that abiy Ahmed did very good reforms needed for all the Ethiopians. He is regional and international hero that particularly as Africans we proud for his leadership. And those protesting against him only they want to gain and reach the country to unrest and chaos situation. As Abiy wants to develop and improve the economic and livelihood of all the Ethiopian ethnic groups and the country without discrimination, Mr jawar trying to build and establish a government dominated and lead by Oromo ethnic group only. That is unacceptable and it will cause conflicts between the different ethnic groups in the country. Finally, Ethiopians need to cooperate and unite against that groups those are protesting to cause failures and unrest situation or against any other enemy like the Egyptians who currently desire to stop and distrust the grand dam that our Ethiopian brothers spent higher cost for the regional economic success. We are Somali community wherever we are, we are supporting and respecting our Ethiopian brothers for any steps to improve their country in particular and the region also. We consider any activity interfering the Ethiopians from the interior or from the outside as an enemy whether religion or ethnicity cover used. I hope success and victory be with the Ethiopian brothers all the time and our enemy will fail and become defeated soon.


    With EPRDF’s blessings Oromo had been killing Amara in Oromia every chance the Oromo got since EPRDF got to power in 1991, with many their bodies never being found.

    The only difference with what happened now is , Oromo burnt down millions of birrs worth of properties, EPRDF only worries about the properties not for the Amaras lives lost or the lives would be about to get lost.

    EPRDF is the organization that
    forcefully fed pills tablets poisons to stop Amara women from ever having babies.

  4. LADY,

    Why all this in English? Is English unofficially replacing Amharic?

    PM Abiy himself was reading a paper in English when he sat for a meeting with Putin last week. I was surprised that he rejected Amharic since it is the official language of the federal government. As head of the federal government, it was expected of him to speak in the official language particularly when he talks to a foreign government official. In the same meeting Putin spoke in Russian. In fact, Putin appears surprised to see Abiy read a paper in English (which he obviously had problem reading). I think he speaks in English to appease the Orroomumma flock. Watch out! Abiy might again speak (rather read with the usual pathetic manner) in the meeting with Egypt’s foreign minister in Washington next week. I say shame on him because he has shown no respect for the Constitution which specified Amharic as the official language of the federal government. If Abiy uses English again next week which he cannot read or speak correctly, he will have to resign from his position of prime minister.

  5. Initially Protest happened by Jawar Mohammed’s residence where the government security apparatus fearing for their own safety lives killed a handful of the protestors .That’s how the protest ended with the angry protestors running away fearing for their lives at this time the dead were nomore than 10.

    Right after genocidal mob attack began with the Querro calling for execution of to be held now what previously was decided by Querro to take place at some other undecided unspecified time, using the opportunity to loot and commit their ethnic cleansing that they had been preparing for were not exactly sure when it was going to begin.

    That’s how the protest ended and a mob attack genocide started where estimated 100+ Amaras were killed by the cowards, outside the protest area in places such as churches , health clinics , public transportations , schools and private residences of the victims.

    Burnt bodies beyond recognition of young boys and young girls suspected of being of those young boys and young girls detained taken by Querro in Adama area in the past few days are turning up in nearby farms, that is why the number of the dead is expected to climb up into the hundreds.Tourists and visitors are advised to avoid Adama area churches in Oromia region for indications being heard that Querro is getting mobilized for the another round of attack this Sunday morning at churches where ethnic Amaras are expected to attend.

  6. 78 people gone just like that!!! They were there yesterday tending to their own affairs at home but dead and gone today! These could be my sons, daughters or grandchildren with the whole world ahead of them!!! They’re gone just like that leaving behind wailing mothers, fathers and loved ones!!! O’ my beloved country!!! Woe for your lost children!!! Woe! Woe!! Woe!!!!

    In the meantime, those who instigated this senseless bloodletting are still having the life of their time. They are gabbling up their fillet mignon every night while grieving mothers are crying rivers outside for their lost sons and daughters!!! These unrepentant bigots have the audacity to stick dagger in the wounds of the mourning families by blaming the victims for their own deaths. Where did such so cruel creatures come from?

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