Oromo regional state says it has arrested 35 persons in connection with the violence in Bale Goba, Southern Ethiopia. Death toll rose to 11 according to according to the region’s communication affairs head, Dr. Negeri Lencho who spoke to Ethiopian Broadcasting Service on the phone. He also confirmed that over 100 people have suffered minor and serious injuries.
Oromo regional state believes that people of diverse background, in terms of ethnicity and religion, have long lived in harmony in the region and that Bale Goba has a reputation for tolerance.
Dr. Negri Lencho added that there appears to invisible hands that orchestrated the violence and that there was an effort to make the violence appear religion and ethnic-based one.
Among those who are believed to be involved in orchestrating the violence which caused loss of civilian lives are former government officials, both at the regional and federal levels, who have been terminated from their position, apparently due to the ongoing political change in the country.
Members of security forces in the town who could have averted the attack on innocent civilians and those who are involved in orchestrating the attack are also arrested, based on Dr. Negeri Lencho’s remark.
The government had to deploy defense force and the federal police to put an armed attack on civilians under control. Although relative calm is restored, residents in the town say that the situation is intimidating. Businesses are not opening like before.
What triggered the three days long violence is related to a monument to be erected in Goba town. On the one hand, there are those who want a statue for Haji Adam Saddo where Red Fox, one of Ethiopia’s endemic wild animal in the region, monument is standing. On the other hand, there are those who claim that the place is used for religious events like Timkat.
The regional government, however, believes that the violence has nothing to do with the controversy over the monument. It rather has something to do with, says the regional government, forces who are working to reverse the popular change in the country. And that seems to be the case as there are reports of violence in other parts of the region.
Yesterday, a pregnant woman was shot dead in Dembi Dollo, Wollega region in Western Ethiopia and at least three others were reportedly wounded. Eyewitness accounts seem to suggest that shooting in Dembi Dollo happened under the watch of law enforcement officers.
Analysts tend to see two forces working to create violence with the objective to reverse the ongoing change. There are those who lost power due to the current change and they believed to have a network across the country with a capacity finance disruptive action. There are also radical ethno-nationalists whose primary political objective is seceding Oromo speaking from the rest of Ethiopia.
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