By Staff reporter
ADDIS ABABA – Demolishing of residential houses around Addis Ababa continued intensively, sources said. People residing in the outskirts of the Capital are expressing anger over acts of demolishing the houses they built legally years ago.
People who had their houses demolished in Legedadi and Legetaffo areas told journalist Messay Mekonnin of Anchor Media that the task force that demolished their houses gave them strict warning to flee the area. “They told us that we Amharas should go and settle in Wolkait.”
Churches and mosques were also torn down and those who sheltered there were chased away, according to the people displaced from their homes in Legedadi-Legetafo areas. Journalists were also not allowed to visit the area and report about the incident, according to the sources.
A woman who gave birth some 20 days earlier was one of those who had their houses torn down by the demolishing force. Eskedar (her real name was withheld for security reasons) told BBC Amharic service that she lived in the house for a couple of years. “Early in the morning at 5:00 pm, last Thursday, the 23rd of February, they started breaking our gate and fences. It was horrible for a woman like me to see them demolishing my legal residential house at that time. They told me to move out of the house. I was so furious that I did not move. They started dismantling the corrugated iron sheet from the top of the house before I had moved out. They did not give us time to carry out our properties,” she told BBC Amharic service.
The house demolishing campaign has been carried out in Sebeta, Burayu, Legedadi, Legetaffo, Sululta and many other localities, which are reportedly incorporated under the newly established City named Sheger. The new administrative body of Sheger City made official that the house demolishing process would continue in an intensive manner. Some 80 per cent of the houses will be wiped out to clear the area for the new City, according to information gathered from the new administration of Sheger City.
Mayor of the new Sheger City, Teshome Adugna (Dr.), said that the new City would become a big economic hub. The mayor, who was asked about the fate of the displaced people, said, “as the administration would not tolerate illegal trends, the house demolishing initiative would continue”.
Deputy Head of the Ethiopian Human Rights Council, Tesfaye Gemechu, said that the Council is concerned about the situation of the displaced people. “They are in a very alarming situation and exposed to complications. Though enforcing the law is an appropriate thing, at times, we should feel humanity over what we are doing,” he said. Tesfaye further said that some of the demolished houses were built 15 years back and if they were regarded as illegal, their constructions could have been stopped then.
The newly established Sheger City will have 12 Sub-Cities and 36 Woredas spread over 160,000 hectares of land. This is a triple size of the Capital, Addis Ababa, which is bounded within 54,000 hectares of land. Mayor Teshome Adugna (Dr.) said that a plan is in the pipeline to build seven million residential houses over the coming seven years in the newly established City.
Demolition of residential homes in the outskirts of Addis Ababa has been underway for several years now.
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