AfricaLaw & Justice

News: At least four people killed in Addis Abeba following confrontations between citizens and the police

Mahlet Fasil

Two police officers, one civil servant and one local resident were killed yesterday in Addis Abeba in an area known to the locals as Hanna Furi, several eyewitnesses said. Administratively designated as Nefas Silk Lafto Kifle Ketema, the area is located in western Addis Abeba.

According to eyewitnesses who spoke to Addis Standard the two police officers and the civil servant were killed by local residents when more than 200 special police task force started demolishing houses which city authorities claim were built illegally since 2005. There are more than 30, 000 houses in and around the area.

In a statement given to state media late last night, government communication affairs office confirmed the death of the two police officers and identified the civil servant as the administrator of Nefas Silk Lafto Kifle Ketema. The statement claimed they were killed by “organized criminals.” However, eyewitnesses say the police officers were mob-attacked by residents who refused to be forcibly evicted from their houses. One eye witnesses also said at least one resident was killed by the police and several others were injured during the confrontation which continued throughout the day.

Pictures circulating yesterday on social media show hundreds of local residents, mostly women and children, queuing at the Addis Abeba Women and Children Affairs bureau, some visibly shocked as they learned their houses were being demolished by local authorities in their absence.

A similar incident on May 18 in an area known as Woreda 12 in Bole Sub city resulted in a harsh confrontation between city officials and local residents. Although early reports claimed about several deaths no confirmation was obtained.

Cover Photo: residents crying as they learn their houses were being demolished

Photo Credit: Zelalem Abate/Social Media

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