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News: Addis Police says 19 officers injured in confrontation with group gathered in Orthodox church in Oromia special zone; urges refrain from “actions to disturb peace”

Photo: Addis Abeba Police

Addis Abeba – The Addis Abeba Police said that “19 police leaders and officers sustained serious and light injuries” during a confrontation on Monday with a group of people who gathered at St. Lideta of the Orthodox Church, located in Philidoro, a location bordering Addis Abeba city and Oromia Regional State Special Zone Surrounding Finnfine.

Following that the city police has urged “these parties to refrain from their actions that disturb the peace of our city and its residents.”

According to the statement from Addis Abeba Police issued last night, in the morning of Monday 06 February, “illegal acts of disrupting peaceful activities” were observed in Addis Abeba and Oromia Special Zone border area commonly known as Philidoro.

Those gathered at the Church of St. Lideta in the Oromia Special Zone who came to the area from Addis Abeba “tried to create a security problem by blocking the road with rocks”. They group was demanding the release of people detained in the Oromia region. “The police urged them to open the blocked road, but they refused,” the statement claimed.

“In addition to the police, religious leaders of the church and other youths explained that no one was arrested and help the security forces to open the road; although they tried their best with advises and reprimands, the group who gathered did not want to move from the place and to open the road,” the statement further said of the confrontation.

The Addis Abeba Police, “through many sacrifices and the cooperation of the community” and “confirming that there are parties pushing to incite conflict among the people”, has moved to ensure the peace of the city would not be disturbed.

It was during this confrontation that the Police said 19 police leaders and members sustained serious and light injuries by stones thrown by those “who were openly or covertly inciting and participating in the conflict.”

The Police urged the society to “single out and hand over” those who are “provoking security forces” and using the ensuing disturbances as “convenient” situation to “achieve their hidden interests.”

The police also urged these parties to refrain from their actions that disturb the peace of the city and its residents.

Over the weekend, clashes lash between followers of Orthodox Christianity and the local police in West Arsi zone, Shashemene city of the Oromia Region on Saturday 04 February “claimed the lives of many people.” The clashes erupted at St. Michael Church during a reception ceremony for members clergy appointed by the new “Holy Synod of Oromia and Nations and Nationalities.”

These confrontations are happening in the backdrop of tensions between the Holy Synod of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church (EOTC) and the government following differences over three breakaway Archbishops and 25 appointee episcopate, whom the Holy Synod accused of involving in “illegal anointment” and subsequently decided to excommunicate the group. The Holy Synod also accused the government of direct involvement in the crisis. AS

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