Unrest in Dire Dawa City, located 452 Kilometre East of the Ethiopian Capital Addis Ababa, over the weekend has left 10 people dead, an Ethiopian official said on Monday.
Speaking exclusively to Xinhua, Bantealem Girma, Chief of Public Relations, Dire Dawa City Police Commission, confirmed that the unrest left 10 people dead, while an unidentified number of people were injured and extensive property damage was caused.
“Most of the deaths occurred when rioters torched private homes with the victims either dying from inhaling smoke fire or burned to death in their homes,’’ he said.
He said the unrest has subsided on Monday despite high tensions, with the city’s police, federal police and members of the Ethiopian army deployed in the city to prevent a recurrence of the violence, while arrests are being made of people suspected of participating in the violence.
Speaking to Xinhua, a witness in Dire Dawa city, said the unrest involved members from Oromo and Somali ethnic groups, apparently sparked by the Ethiopian army’s intervention in Jijiga city, capital of Somali regional state located in eastern Ethiopia.
The Ethiopian army has reportedly seized regional parliament and TV station offices.
The Ethiopian government has so far kept mum on the intervention in the Somali regional state where internet and power lines are cut.
The army intervention comes amid reports of tension between the Ethiopian federal government and Ethiopia Somali regional state president Abdi Omar Mohammed over the share of oil resources found in the region.
Mohammed has also been accused of grave human rights abuses and opponents of his administration living abroad and in Addis Ababa have been lobbying the federal government to help them oust him.