Almost 75 dead in Ethiopia says Human Rights Watch

Human Right Watch says at least 75 people killed in Ethiopia during weeks of protests

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

People mourn the death of alleged protester Dinka Chala who was shot dead by Ethiopian forces in Yubdo Village, about 100km from Addis Ababa, on December 17, 2015

Human Rights Watch released a statement on Saturday condemning the killing of almost 75 Ethiopian people during the weeks of protests after soldiers and security forces fired on demonstrators.

"Police and military forces have fired on demonstrations, killing at least 75 protesters and wounding many others, according to activists," Human Rights Watch said in a statement.

The rights group criticised the Ethiopian government for using lethal force on civilian demonstrators. Although, the government has not given an immediate response yet.

"Human Rights Watch received credible reports that security forces shot dozens of protesters in Shewa and Wollega zones, west of Addis Ababa, in early December," HRW said.

"Several people described seeing security forces in the town of Walliso, 100 kilometres (60 miles) southwest of Addis Ababa, shoot into crowds of protesters in December, leaving bodies lying in the street."

Meanwhile, "numerous witnesses" described how "security forces beat and arrested protesters, often directly from their homes at night” HRW added.

“The Ethiopian government’s response to the Oromia protests has resulted in scores dead and a rapidly rising risk of greater bloodshed,” said Leslie Lefkow, deputy Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

“The government’s labelling of largely peaceful protesters as ‘terrorists’ and deploying military forces is a very dangerous escalation of this volatile situation.”

The protests began in November by the students, but government spokesman Getachew Reda said peaceful demonstrators have began to turn violent.

TRTWorld and agencies