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Thousands displaced in Ethiopia ethnic clashes

At least 73,000 have been displaced in the clashes that followed last week’s killing of four people in eastern Ethiopia’s Benshangul/Gumz region, the Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation (EBC) said on Tuesday.

EBC reported the four people that were killed during the clashes were officials of the local administration in Kamashi zone with the displaced moving to the neighbouring towns of Oromia Regional State.

Information from the Oromia communications office indicated that most of the people displaced were from the Oromo and Amhara ethnic groups.

EBC quoted the Benshangul/Gumz saying the regional state requested the assistance of the federal government to contain the situation, and reinforcement arrived the following day .

“We need more army presence in different parts of our region,” he said, adding that the additional security was required because the violence perpetrators shifted to other locations as soon as the army stabilised one area.

Benishagul/ Gumz, Somali, Afar and Gambella are the four independent states governed by their respective ethnic political parties, often considered partners of the ruling coalition, the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).

Many people consider the recent flare-ups as the fruits of the ethnic and language based federal system, that has existed for more than two decades.

Critics of the system have been pushing for a constitutional amendment to do away with the governance that was prone to abuse.

However, its supporters argue that the current constitution gives rights to the different ethnic groups to use their languages in governance.

Some two million people have reportedly been displaced in Ethiopia over the past six months as a result of ethnic tensions. Dozens of others have been killed in different parts, including 50 in Addis Ababa and Burayu town of Oromia, less than 20km from the capital.

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Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has indicated that a committee of experts would be established to recommend administrative changes.

Amid the crisis, EPRDF was set to hold its general assembly Wednesday in Hawassa City, some 270km south of Addis Ababa

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