More than 1000 Ethiopians are reportedly arrested in Sebeta, just outside of western outskirts of the capital Addis Ababa,in connection with what the government describes as vandalism.
Angry protesters over the Irrecha stampede, which claimed the lives of over 700 Ethiopians, burned down vehicles and factories not long after funeral procession of victims from the town was completed.
Vandalism targeted, from citizen reports on social media, properties owned by locals related to,one way or another, Tigray People Liberation Front. However, state media reported that foreign firms in Sebeta were also attacked.
An American post-doctoral researcher from UC Davis, identified as Sharon Gray, was killed in Sebeta wehn the van she was in with other foreigners was attacked by protesters. However, the incident was noted as suspicious for some in view of past records of the regime.
Mulatu Teshome, a rather despised political, or apolitical in light of ceremonial nature of the presidential position, figure, announced the intention of the regime in power to provide all forms of support for investors whose property was attacked by protesters. His statement triggered speculation that the regime is probably intending to arrange bank loan for “investors” with links to TPLF.
State media claims that “suspects” arrested in Sebeta are mostly from other towns of Omoria region of Ethiopia. Last week, Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation reported that 17 Ethiopians were arrested on grounds of alleged links with Oromo Liberation Front (OLF)
Handling of detainees is usually inhuman; in most case subjected to excruciating torture including sleep deprivation and hunger -among other torture methods.
Ethiopia is under state of emergency since last week. There are assertions that the state of emergency is meant to mount an even more brutal crack down on dissent with the aim to weaken and control popular movement for fundamental political change in the country. For these group, the mass arrest in Sebeta is seen as an evidence of projected crackdown on the movement.