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  • Ethiopia says 2,000 arrested and released in emergency - AP

    ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — An Ethiopian official said 2,000 people have been detained and later released under the country's state of emergency that was declared on October 8, 2016. The remarks came amid local media reports that thousands of people are being detained across some parts of the country that have witnessed some of the worst violence in the past couple of weeks.

    "About 2,000 people were arrested and later released after undergoing counseling under the state of emergency," Defense Minister Siraj Fegessa, who oversees the state of emergency, told local reporters on Sunday. He said authorities collected more than 1,500 firearms that had been looted during the violence in the country.

    He declined to say how many people are still in detention but mentioned various military camps and prison facilities where inmates nabbed under the state of emergency are being held.

     Ethiopia's Oromia region has been experiencing renewed unrest following the deaths of dozens of people in a stampede during a religious festival in Bishoftu in early October. Protests have also hit the Amhara region.

    Ethiopia's President, Mulatu Teshome, said on October 10 that the government will address some of the public's grievances and will conduct electoral and political reforms. Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn is expected to announce a new cabinet on Tuesday, Ethiopia's government spokesman, Getachew Reda, said on Monday.

    On Monday, Human Rights Watch urged Ethiopian officials to promptly repeal or revise all elements of the state of emergency that it said are contrary to international law.

    "Ethiopia's state of emergency bans nearly all speech that the government disagrees with anywhere in the country for at least six months," Felix Horne, Human Rights Watch's senior Africa researcher said. "The state of emergency hands the army new sweeping powers to crack down on demonstrators further limiting the space for peaceful dissent."

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  • Eritrean air force pilots defect to Ethiopia with military plane

     

     

    Eritrean air force pilots, named Mebrahtu Tesfamariam and Afework fissehaye, have defected on Wednesday by flying their military aircraft Zlin-143-102 to Ethiopia’s northern city, Mekelle, sources disclosed to Awramba times.

    This is not the first time for Eritrean air force members to defect to the neighboring nations.

    In 2012, two Eritrean military pilots secretly flew President Isaias Afewerki’s plane to Saudi Arabia where they sought political asylum. A year after this incident, three other members of the Eritrean air force have defected with their fighter jet to Saudi Arabia. In April the same year, another female Eritrean air force pilot sent by the regime to retrieve the stolen jet from Saudi Arabia herself was defected.

    As no Eritrean pilot has yet made his route to Ethiopia, the pilots who defected to Ethiopia today are the first ever Eritrean air force members to make the neighboring Ethiopia a destination of their defection.

     

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  • Gunbet 7 leader barely escapes assassination attempt - report

    Oct 06, 2016 (Asmara) — Gumbot 7 leader Professer Berhanu Nega narrowly survives an assassination attempt at the outskirts of the capital, Asmara. An exiled opposition website claims. The UK-based website, Asena-online.com said that the attempt on the life of  Berhanu Nega was carried out by  by unknown gun men on 06th of October  2016 around 6 pm (local time) on the road between Asmara and  city of Deki Amhare.

     

    In the failed assassination attempt, Nega barely escaped death, it said.

    The man who tried to kill  Berhanu, is  yet unknown but some report suggests   as former freedom fighter, and other rumors suggest that it may be carried out by spy of  woyane( a name used to refer to the current regime in Ethiopia) and  the man  has escaped, it added.

    Gunbet 7’s vehicle is said to have been damaged with several sniper shots but no harm is reported up on the Leader or members of his convoy.

    Sources of the website from Asmara indicated that, Gunbet 7 is in a state of shock and panic, following the attempt on the leader of g7's life.

    Eritrean government orders all Ethiopian opposition medias   like ESAT and alike not to report such events as it hurts the struggle of Gunbet7 .It is unknown yet either Professor Berhanu Nega the targeted man  is in Eritrea or  flied to US.Stay in touch we will bring you the details as soon as possible.

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  • Ethiopia arrests blogger critical of government

    Ethiopian police have arrested a blogger who criticized the government, especially its handling of the ongoing protests in the Oromia and Amhara regions.

    Government officials confirmed that Seyoum Teshome, an outspoken university lecturer who was frequently quoted by international media about the anti- government protests in Ethiopia, was detained on October 1 at his house in Wolisso town in the restive Oromia region.

    Ethiopia's government spokesman, Getachew Reda, told the AP on Tuesday morning that he knew of Seyoum's arrest and is investigating the reasons why.

    Days before his arrest, Seyoum told The Associated Press that he was planning to start his doctoral studies at Addis Ababa University and was starting up his own blogging website, Ethiothinkthank. He wrote about Ethiopia's anti-government protests on his blogging site and Facebook page.

     

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  • 52 confirmed dead in stampede at Ethiopia religious event

     

    People march during an annual religious festival in Bishoftu, a town southeast of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016. Several people were crushed to death Sunday morning, according to witnesses, in a stampede after police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters chanting anti-government slogans as they pushed toward a stage where leaders were speaking. (Associated Press)

    October 2 at 4:38 PM

    BISHOFTU, Ethiopia — Dozens of people were crushed to death Sunday in a stampede after police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse an anti-government protest that grew out of a massive religious festival, witnesses said. The Oromia regional government confirmed the death toll at 52.

    “I almost died in that place today,” said one shaken protester who gave his name only as Elias. Mud-covered and shoeless, he said he had been dragged out of a deep ditch that many people fell into as they tried to flee.

    The first to fall in had suffocated, he said.

    “Many people have managed to get out alive, but I’m sure many more others were down there,” he said. “It is really shocking.”

    The stampede occurred in one of the East African country’s most politically sensitive regions, Oromia, which has seen months of sometimes deadly demonstrations demanding wider freedoms.

    An estimated 2 million people were attending the annual Irrecha thanksgiving festival in the town of Bishoftu, southeast of the capital, Addis Ababa, when people began chanting slogans against the government, according to witnesses.

    The chanting crowds pressed toward a stage where religious leaders were speaking, the witnesses said, and some threw rocks and plastic bottles.

    Police responded with tear gas and rubber bullets, and people tried to flee. Some were crushed in nearby ditches, witnesses said.

    In its statement, the Oromia regional government blamed “evil acts masterminded by forces who are irresponsible,” and it denied that the deaths were caused by any actions by security forces.

    Mulatu Gemechu of the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress told The Associated Press that his sources at hospitals said at least 52 people were dead as of Sunday evening, but he thought the figure would rise.

    The protesters were peaceful and did not carry anything to harm police, he said.

    Before the stampede, an AP reporter saw small groups of people walking in the crowd and holding up their crossed wrists in a popular gesture of protest.

    The reporter also saw police firing tear gas and, later, several injured people.

    The crossed-wrists gesture has been used widely as a sign of peaceful resistance and is meant to symbolize being handcuffed by security forces.

    It was in the spotlight at the Rio Olympics, when Ethiopian marathoner Feyisa Lilesa, who is from the Oromia region, crossed his wrists while finishing in second place. He hasn’t returned to the country since, saying his life could be in danger.

    Ethiopia’s government, a close security ally of the West, has been accused often of silencing dissent, at times blocking internet access.

    The months of anti-government protests and the sometimes harsh government response have raised international concern.

    The U.S. recently spoke out against what it called the excessive use of force against protesters, describing the situation in Ethiopia as “extremely serious.”

    On Sunday, many people in Ethiopia turned their Twitter and Facebook profiles to solid black and expressed anger at the government over the deaths.

    The regional government declared three days of national mourning.

    Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

     

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  • Several dead, many injured after crackdown on Oromia protest in Ethiopia

     

    Several people have died and many injured during a stampede after Ethiopia’s special forces fired teargas and warning shots on Sunday to disperse protesters at the annual Irreecha thanksgiving festival of the Oromia people in Bishoftu.

    The Ethiopian government confirmed the deaths in a statement but did not state figures while opposition groups estimate at least 50 people dead, Reuters reports.

    “As a result of the chaos, lives were lost and several of the injured were taken to hospital … Those responsible will face justice,” the government communications office stated.

    The chairperson of the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress, Merera Gudina, told Reuters that at least 50 people were killed during the stampede while Jawar Mohammed who is the Executive Director of the Oromia Media Network based in the United States reported about 300 dead.

    The Irreecha festival is an annual thanksgiving event celebrated at the sacred grounds of Lake Harsadi in Bishoftu in the Oromia region.

    Among the thousands of festival participants, a number of them marched chanting anti-government slogans and their arms crossed above their heads while Ethiopian Air Force helicopters hovered above the crowd.

    Witnesses told Africanews that the helicopter dropped teargas on the people while the police on the ground fired the shots.

    Graphic images posted on social media show people lying on the ground dead while others were being helped by the security forces.

    The government disputed the figures yet hundreds remained in custody without charges after thousands of students, social media activists, and opposition party leaders and supporters were arrested.

    The anti-government protests which continued in other regions including the neighbouring Amhara were held to demand fair distribution of wealth to Oromia and Amhara, which are the poorest in the country.

     

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