Weeklong protests in Ethiopia’s northern Amhara regional state have left 15 people dead, a press statement from Amhara regional government said on Saturday.
The press statement added that the violence which started in Woldiya city, 507 kms north of Addis Ababa on January 20 during a religious procession spread to neighboring cities of Kobo and Mersa in the following days, leaving 15 dead in total. Thirteen of the dead were civilians while two of the dead were security forces.
The violence in Woldiya city happened as crowds shouting anti-government slogans clashed with security forces, leaving six civilians and one security force dead. The deaths happened during Epiphany celebrations commemorating the baptism of Jesus Christ.
The remaining eight fatalities occurred in the nearby cities of Kobo and Mersa as crowds enraged at deaths in Woldiya clashed with security forces.
The violence also saw dozens of private houses, cars, hotels and private farms set ablaze leaving millions of US dollars’ worth of damage.
Ethiopia’s Amhara regional state plunged into unrest in the second half of 2016 for reasons including a rumored disgruntlement of reallocation of a district to neighboring region.
Many Amharas that make up about 28 percent of Ethiopia’s population allege political and economic marginalization by the central government based in Addis Ababa.