Federal security forces in Ethiopia on Thursday opened fire on residents in a town located in Oromia region and in the process killed four people, American broadcaster VOA’s Horn of Africa service has reported.
The incident took place in the town of Soda when residents blocked a convoy of trucks they suspected were carrying arms headed for the neighbouring Somali regional state.
It turned out that the security forces did not take kindly to being questioned by residents hence the confrontation that led to firing of arms and the subsequent deaths.
“The federal forces were angered by the residents’ demand to stop the trucks and opened fire, killing four people,” VOA quoted one Kulultu Fara, a security chief in the Oromia region.
According to him, the ‘detained’ trucks are still in the town as federal government agents seek cooperation with local officials to resolve the impasse.
Most residents in Oromia believe that the government continues to arm a paramilitary force, the Liyu Police’ located in the Somali region as part of efforts to clamp down on Oromo protesters.
Some residents and activists continue to blame the Liyu Police for recent clashes between Oromo and Somali ethnic groups. Despite long-standing talk of resource control fueling the tensions, some residents and activists say the Liyu police are more to blame for recent incidents.
Meanwhile, a new wave of anti-government protests continue to gain currency in Oromia – the heartland of similar protests between 2015 – 2016. It led to a state of emergency in October 2016, a six-month measure that eventually lasted 10 months, it was lifted in early August 2017.
The protests were usually met with heavy security clampdown which has roundly been condemned by human rights groups. Addis Ababa has also refused to admit independent investigators.
A government-backed report by the Ethiopia Human Rights Commission (EHRC) earlier this year said over 660 people died in the protests that took place in Oromia and Amhara states.