January 9, 2020
There is a clash between students and security forces at Haramaya University in the South-Eastern part of Ethiopia, according to citizen report on social media.
Students from the Oromo region of Ethiopia tried to march opposing what they call is “attack on innocent citizens” in Wollega, the western part of Ethiopia.
There have been reports of internet and phone shutdown in the region. In an interview with BBC Amharic Service on Wednesday, Oromia region’s Prosperity Party Public Relations Head, Taye Dendea, linked the shutdown to possible technical problems on the part of service provider – Ethio Telecom.
However, he also admitted that there is an ongoing activity of law enforcement operation in the region which he said is a routine practice.
The image that emerges from social media reporting, however, suggests that there has been intense fighting in the region between government forces and the armed wing of the radical Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). In fact, OLF has officially distanced itself from the armed group.
The region has been under Command Post administration for several months now and a number of government officials have been killed.
Students at Haramaya University also reportedly opposed an alleged internet and telephone shutdown in the region. “We are sad about the situation in the region, and we dressed in ‘black’ to express our feelings but we were surrounded by the Federal forces,” students reportedly said, according to social media sources.
Ethiopian Defense Force is reportedly deployed to the area to restore calm. Several students are reportedly arrested but so far there are no reports of casualties.
A brief statement from Haramaya University, which is shared on the official page of the University, has a different narrative about the incident.
It says, students in the University’s technology institute caused disturbance around 2:00 o’clock in the afternoon, local time, and went on a vandalism spree. They destroyed two Motorbikes, a coaster van that the university uses as a shuttle bus for employees, and an ATM machine belonging to the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE).
However, the University did not specify why the students did so or about the identities of students.
Based on the statement, security forces have made arrests but again no number is specified in the statement from the University.
The university vowed that students who were engaged in vandal act on properties belonging to the University and CBE will be subject to retributive measures.
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