At least 38 dead in Ethiopia clashes

At least 38 dead in Ethiopia clashes


ADDIS ABABA, April 19 (AFP) -


At least 38 people were killed and 252 were wounded in clashes here this week between secondary school students and

security forces, hospital sources said Thursday.


The situation in the capital was calm Thursday.


The violence took place Tuesday and Wednesday and involved thousands of teenagers demonstrating in solidarity with

university students striking over repressive administration policies.


The deaths were recorded at four hospitals in the capital where medical sources reported numerous gunshot wounds.


Twenty-three of the deaths were recorded in the Menelik hospital alone.


Among the dead was Below Kossa, 68, who was struck by a stray bullet while leaning out of his apartment window in the

northern Arat Kilo district, the Daily Monitor newspaper reported Thursday.


Many of those still in hosptial were in intensive care wards and even in corridors, for want of beds.


"I took a bullet in the left tibia on Wednesday around 1:00 pm near the Mercato district," Yassin Nur, 23, told AFP from his

bed in Ras Desta hospital.


Next to him was Meles Wondimu, 12, who had a bullet wound in his left side.


Late Wednesday, the education ministry announced that the capital's 500-year-old university had been closed indefinitely while

city authorities said Thursday that schools would stay shut until Monday.


Police were earlier reported to have responded to volleys of stones thrown by demonstrators by firing live rounds into the air.


A spate of unrest in the capital began April 11 when police moved into the campus of the University of Addis Ababa, where

students had been on strike for a week. Some 45 students were injured in the ensuing clashes.


After the education ministry on Tuesday ordered the students to resume classes by noon the following day, schoolchildren took

to the streets in solidarity and clashed with police.


The protests resumed and escalated on Wednesday, involving thousands of youths. Many government vehicles and buildings

were damaged.


Also Thursday, the opposition Democratic Party (DP) said that one of its members, Tawfic Lale Weshengo, had been shot

dead the day before and that about 40 of its members were arrested.


Fami Alke, another DP member, was being treated for gunshot wounds in Ras Desta hospial.


DP official Tamerat Tarekegn and the party's secretary general, Lidetu Ayalew, were taken away in the afternoon, a party

member told AFP by telephone.


Some of the party's supporters were released, the DP said.


The previous evening, dozens of those involved in the unrest were reportedly briefly detained.


In Thursday's newspapers, authorities said the security forces had to use such force to stop the riots.


"There was no reason whatsover for havoc, theft, and terror that endangers the public's peaceful life and office work," the

education minister said in a statement.


"Unless the government takes tough and appropriate actions, it has become difficult to maintain peace and security on the

public," the federal police said in the newspapers.