Hooligans Use University Unrest to Vandalise

Hooligans Use University Unrest to Vandalise Addis Ababa

 

Panafrican News Agency (Dakar)

April 19, 2001

Posted to the web April 19, 2001

 

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

 

Two days of rioting in connection with peaceful demonstrations over the past ten days by students of Addis Ababa University to press for academic freedom Wednesday resulted in the indefinite closure of the university and at least 10 confirmed deaths.

 

Ethiopian authorities also closed all junior secondary schools in Addis Ababa until Monday when calm and tranquillity are restored at schools in the city, where tension flared since the university students' protest began 10 April.

 

Students of secondary schools joined in the demonstrations Tuesday and Wednesday followed by hooligans and tens of thousands of unemployed youths.

 

The mob rampaged all over the city destroying public and private property including vehicles on the streets.

 

Stone-throwing hooligans shattered windowpanes of government buildings, including the ministry of education, shops and public offices located on the main campus at Sidist Kilo and the science faculty campus at Arat Kilo.

 

At least 15 vehicles parked inside the ministry and scores of city busses were set ablaze.

 

Hooligans also vandalised and looted shops in the vicinity of the university and as far away as the city's main shopping centre at Addis Ketema, some 10km away from the university.

 

Eyewitness said they saw several looters killed on the spot after police fired warning shots to disperse the mob.

 

The witnesses told PANA that they saw about 15 ambulances shuttling between Menelik II School, located between the main campus and the science faculty campus of the university, and hospitals with students wounded in the melee.

 

Despite local private press reports that about 20 had died in Wednesday's riots, a check at the Tikur Anbessa Hospital - the

university's teaching hospital - confirmed by Wednesday evening that 10 bodies were taken there.

 

Witnesses saw the hospital's emergency ward crowded with scores of victims having wounds afflicted by bullets and stones.

 

Meanwhile, the government issued a statement Wednesday night accusing unnamed political groups and civil rights activists of inciting hooligans to use the university student unrest to vandalise Addis Ababa.

 

It warned political parties and other opposition groups of "dire consequences if they persist on promoting anarchy in the country by inciting hooligans and unemployed youths to engage in acts of rioting and vandalism".

 

Copyright 2001 Panafrican News Agency. Distributed by AllAfrica Global

Media (allAfrica.com).