Security forces fired on protestors in Welkite city, Gurage zone of Ethiopia’s Southern region on Wednesday killing at least six people, the online media outlet Addis Standard (AS) reported on Thursday.
Quoting multiple Wolkite residents, AS reported on Thursday the number of people killed by gunfire from security forces has risen to six.
The attack reportedly left more than 15 others seriously injured.
Wolkite residents were protesting against lack of fresh water carrying empty jerry cans when Southern region security forces reportedly opened fire on them.
AS further reported quoting witnesses that security forces are thwarting meetings of local communities who wanted to comfort grief-stricken families.
The deadly crackdown on water shortage protestors in the Gurage zone capital city coincides with ongoing protests against government-initiated clustering of the Southern region to create two more new states out the current structure.
However, there are no indications so far of direct relations between the two issues.
A resident of Wolkite city told Ethio360 media outlet on Wednesday evening, the city’s residents believe the water shortages in the city is a politically motivated “punishment” relating to Gurage zone’s request for statehood.
The Wolkite resident further told Ethio360, she has gathered information that seven people have been killed by security forces so far.
She said 17 others have suffered injuries including three people who sustained life threatening injuries.