- At least five civilians killed by government sources
- 27 civilians are reportedly wounded
Updated on December 20,2014
One of Ethiopia’s tourist city, Bahir Dar, saw yet another bloody day in a latest government forces rampage on civilians.
Residents in the city were peacefully demonstrating to protest government plan to wrest a spot in the city, known as Mesquel square, which has served for purposes of important religious processions and ceremonies like Timket (Ethiopian Epiphany) and Meskel(“bon fire”) which Ethiopian Christianity relates to the finding of the true cross many centuries back.
The ruling TPLF dominated regime, however, was reading too much in the constitutional rights of residents of the city to protest government policies and moves, and had to unleash killings. Based on citizens report on social media, five civilians are confirmed dead so far and there are more who sustained wound, although not clear at this point whether it is life threatening or not. Many are beaten. Images of aged and badly badly beaten nun is circulating in social media.
A breaking news coverage by Ethiopian satellite television (ESAT) which cited an eye witness account of residents indicated that the exact figure of causality is not known as government forces were quickly picking up killed and wounded protestors.
At some point protestors were alarmed by the killing and tried to block the road from Bahir Dar to Gondar, another city of tourist attraction in North western Ethiopia.
For millions of Ethiopians, it is clear the government is deliberately weakening religious institutions and religious freedom. Five or six years ago Killings of similar nature has happened in Dessie, a small city in North Central Ethiopia. Ethiopian Muslims have paid dearly in life while many are incarcerated simply for resisting government intervention. Religious institutions are clearly under the control of political cadres. At his writing, head of Ethiopian Orthodox church did not speak out against killings of civilians in Bahir Dar.
From experience government officials who order killings of civilians get away with it. The legal system is reduced to the status of legal instrument for repression.
In May 2014, Bahir Dar experienced massacre of civilians by member of the Federal special force stationed in the city ( click here to read )
In recent past, there was similar killings in South and Central Ethiopia where government massacred dozens of oromo speaking students following protest opposing eviction of small scale farmers in areas adjacent to Addis Ababa. Ambo and other cities in the regional state of Oromia experienced similar killings in recent years. Out right massacres in Gambella region and ogaden area in South Eastern Ethiopia. The list is long.
Will government brutal repression pay back politically is a question that needs to be revisited in the months to come.