68 people charged over deadly riots near Addis Ababa


About 68 people have been charged with involvement in deadly riots close to Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa which claimed the lives of dozens of people and led to the destruction of millions worth of property. The charges were issued on Wednesday by the office of Ethiopia’s attorney general.

The suspects include members of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and some who oppose the group.

The riots started in September last year after people gathered to welcome the OLF back to Addis Ababa. The armed group, which was once banned in the country, was able to make a return thanks to reforms by Ethiopia’s new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

Additional reporting from AFP:

Ethiopia’s attorney general has charged 68 people with involvement in deadly riots in and around Addis Ababa in September that left at least 49 dead, local media reported on Wednesday.

The 68 are suspected of playing a part in violence both before and after the return of the once-banned Oromo Liberation Front.

The rebel group returned to Addis Ababa following political reforms introduced by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

The clashes involved young men from the ethnically-mixed city of around four million people and Oromos who had come into Addis Ababa to welcome the OLF.

The 68 suspects come from both sides of the divide during the clashes, which also caused millions of dollars in damage.

“The suspects are accused of engaging in road closures, arson, engaging in forced displacement of thousands of people and inflicting bodily harm using blunt weapons as well as modern firearms,” stated the charge sheet, according to the private news website Ethiopian Reporter.

The government put the death toll at 49, although hospital sources told AFP some 68 had been killed.

Most of the fatalities had been stabbed to death or died after being beaten with sticks and rocks.