This news report about an American UC Davis post-doctoral student killed by a rock thrown by a protestor, is just one story coming out of Ethiopia this week. Hundreds of people were also killed at a religious festival in Bishoftu, a town about an hour south of the Addis Ababa, the capital. Official news reports claim it was due to a stampede, but witnesses on the ground, as well as some independent journalists, say this was not the case. And a group of tourists leaving a resort south of the city were attacked and beaten this week as they made their way to the airport, according to first hand reports on social media.The recent spate of protests and clashes between citizens and the military began when the governments began seizing land from the Oromo people to expand the capital. This has inflamed deeper ethnic tensions between groups in Ethiopia and citizens are dying as government troops face off with protestors.Up until recently, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, was considered stable, but on-the-ground reports claim that pockets of unrest in the city are keeping some people inside and fearful. [Americans abroad or considering travel are frustrated that the US Embassy on Addis does not seem aware of, or willing to share with visitors, the extent of what’s going on.]The unrest appears to be escalating. Major US news outlets are not reporting much and the US may be hesitant to criticize the Ethiopian government — a strong ally in the region. Ethiopia has one of the most rapidly growing economies in Africa, so this could have some wide-reaching effects in the region if things don’t calm down, which looks unlikely since too many citizens are dying. The government in Ethiopia does not allow freedom of the press and is known for blocking social media channels and keeping the internet down, especially during periods of unrest.
Out of Ethiopia, a story to note and be aware of…
The Daily Catch - published on 10/08/16
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