Some 22 people are charged as Ethiopia tackles ‘anti-peace’ forces under state of emergency.
November 15, 2016 10:16 GMT
Ethiopia has charged 22 people for allegedly inciting violence in schools in Oromia, the country’s largest state. The Federal High Court in the capital Addis Ababa charged the defendants for damaging government and public properties and planning to carry out terror acts.
The court claimed the individuals acted after receiving instructions from Kenya and Norway-based leaders of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), which the government labelled as a terrorist organisation.
The defendants will plead to the charges on 25 November, the state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporation reported.
Ethiopia has detained 11,000 people following months of anti-government protests in Oromia and Amhara regions.
The response to the protests, labelled as the biggest anti-government unrest Ethiopia has witnessed in recent history, has resulted in the death of more than 500 people since November 2015, a figure the government later confirmed.
During rallies, Oromo people attacked foreign-owned factories, acts of violence that could result in a reduction in investments in the country.
Among other things, protesters called for the release of political prisoners, and demonstrated against perceived disenfranchisement and lack of inclusion in the political process as the government is dominated by the Tigray minority.
In October, the country declared a six-month state of emergency following the unrest.
The government, which often blamed “outside forces” including from Eritrea and Egypt for the protests, denied the allegations and said it will use the new measures to co-ordinate security forces against “anti-peace elements” that aim to destabilise the country.