Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) on Friday called on accountability for the killing, by government security forces, of protestors in Wolkite – the seat of the Guraghe zone administration.
The commission said that police used excessive force on protestors who took to the street in Wolkite to demand a solution to the water problem in the city. Running water was out of service for more than a month, according to EHRCO. Forceful action on the part of the police caused deaths and disabilities.
“Based on evidence that EHRC collected from eyewitnesses, victims, families of victims and health professionals, 3 people were killed after they were shot with a bullet on the head and chest and at least 30 people have sustained an injury of varying degree,” the statement from EHRC said.
Authorities in the region claimed what caused the incident was that demonstrators threw rocks at the city’s water service office and blocked roads.
Daniel Bekele, the Commissioner, said the forceful measure that was taken was an excessive one viewed from the point of view of the situation at the time.
“On protesters who took to the street on a burning question of water supply, who threw a rock and closed roads, using a lethal weapon, firing and killing residents is absolutely unacceptable. Therefore, the regional state should investigate it and ensure that the perpetrators are held responsible and victims get proper compensation,” he said.
Despite Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration making claims of extensive reform measures including in the security and justice sector, lawlessness has been the hallmark of the administration. Tens of thousands of innocent and unarmed civilians have been massacred since Abiy Ahmed took power in 2018 – especially in the Oromo region of Ethiopia – at times with reported support from the radical elements within the government structure.
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