Ethiopia Riots Grow

Posted on March 25, 2011

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By Tsegaye Tadesse and David Mageria…./Gunfire echoed sporadically around Addis Ababa for a fourth day on Friday as reports emerged that unrest had spread beyond the capital, a development likely to deepen international concern for Ethiopia’s stability.

Information Minister Berhan Hailu told Reuters he had word of “some kinds of unrest in some areas” of the north-central Amhara region, but dismissed the disturbances as insignificant.

Residents contacted by telephone said students in Dessie town, 400 km (250 miles) north of Addis Ababa had thrown stones at police who dispersed them by firing in the air.

Amhara region is the base of the Amhara people who make up about a fifth of the ethnically-diverse nation of 77 million, sub-Saharan Africa’s second most populous after Nigeria.

Ethiopia’s worst violence in months has fueled fears about the stability of the Horn of Africa’s main power, prompting the European Union and African Union to urge restraint.

Ethiopia’s latest bout of unrest began in the capital, a stronghold of opposition groups which accuse Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of rigging his way back to power at polls in May.

“We are very scared because although it is a bit quiet now, the fighting is likely to start again. The police are provoking the public,” said opposition supporter Endale Alemaghue.

Gunfire echoed sporadically around Addis Ababa for a fourth day on Friday as reports emerged that unrest had spread beyond the capital, a development likely to deepen international concern for Ethiopia’s stability.

Information Minister Berhan Hailu told Reuters he had word of “some kinds of unrest in some areas” of the north-central Amhara region, but dismissed the disturbances as insignificant.

Residents contacted by telephone said students in Dessie town, 400 km (250 miles) north of Addis Ababa had thrown stones at police who dispersed them by firing in the air.

Amhara region is the base of the Amhara people who make up about a fifth of the ethnically-diverse nation of 77 million, sub-Saharan Africa’s second most populous after Nigeria.

Ethiopia’s worst violence in months has fueled fears about the stability of the Horn of Africa’s main power, prompting the European Union and African Union to urge restraint.

Ethiopia’s latest bout of unrest began in the capital, a stronghold of opposition groups which accuse Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of rigging his way back to power at polls in May.

“We are very scared because although it is a bit quiet now, the fighting is likely to start again. The police are provoking the public,” said opposition supporter Endale Alemaghue.

.redorbit.com/

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