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News: Two killed, dozens injured in police crackdown against protest by Muslims in Addis Abeba; more than 100 people detained

President of the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs of Ethiopia, Sheikh Hajj Ibrahim Tufa, and the leaders of the Majlis visited injured victims at the Black Lion Hospital this morning. Photo: Jeilu TV

Addis Abeba – At least two civilians were killed yesterday and more than 40 people, including police officers and different police backup forces, suffered minor and serious injuries during police crackdown against Muslim protesters in and around the Grand Anuwar Mosque in the capital Addis Abeba on Friday afternoon.

The protests broke out Friday after prayer hours by the Muslim community in the city against the demolition of Mosques in the newly formed Shaggar city, which was formerly known as Oromia Special Zone Surrounding Finfinne. The protesters demanded an end to the demolition of mosques in the Shaggar city.

On 23 May the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs of the Oromia Regional State said 19 Mosques were illegally demolished in Shaggar city alone & urged the regional government to immediately stop the demolitions and return to resolving the problem through dialogue. earlier, the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs of Ethiopia has sent a letter to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed seeking an end to the demolitions and a solution to the problem.

According to a statement released by the Addis Abeba Police last night, the two victims died after “being sent to the hospital for treatment.” The statement didn’t mention if the two victims were killed by the police. The victims are identified by Jeilu TV as Siraj Mohammed and Abubeker Elias, both residents of the city.

The city police said only four individuals were injured and 37 police officers and members deployed to enforce the law, as well as 15 different police backup forces, received serious and minor injuries and were sent for treatment. Two buses belonging to the city public transport were also “damaged”, according to the police.

This morning, President of the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs of Ethiopia, Sheikh Hajj Ibrahim Tufa, and the leaders of the Majlis visited at the Black Lion Hospital those who were injured and are admitted for treatment.

Referring to the events as “riots” the city police said it has been “brought under control and the areas returned to normal activities. However, it said 114 individuals were arrested suspected of “instigating the riot.” The police also said “information circulating on some social media that there has been a major riot in Addis Abeba were exaggerated.”

The crackdown by the police drew criticisms from the Addis Abeba Islamic Affairs Supreme Council which denounced “the unconstitutional and inhumane action taken by the security forces” at the Grand Anuwar Mosque, which “resulted in the loss of human life and many injuries.” The Council once again demanded an end to the actions of demolishing mosques that are taking place in the Shaggar city and to resolve the problem through dialogue and implementation of corrective measures.

Prominent Islamic scholars have also denounced police’s actions and demanded justice for the victims.

A delegation led by Sheikh Haj Ibrahim Tufa has also met with security forces in the city last night to discuss the matter and have agreed for the police to reopen the two Mosques, the Nour Mosque and the Grand Anuwar Mosque, that the police closed in the wake of the protests. AS

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