Two students killed, five injured in student
protests in western Ethiopia
By ABEBE ANDUALEM, Associated Press Writer
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia - Security forces battled with student protesters, leaving two dead and five
injured, in four cities in western Ethiopia, a regional official said Friday.
Juneidi Sado, the president of the autonomous Oromiya region, said elementary and high school
students "went on the rampage" in four cities this week, beginning in Ambo, 125 kilometers (80 miles)
west of the capital. The protests spread to three other cities along the main highway through Oromiya,
"The students first tried to stage a demonstration in Ambo without the necessary permits and then
stoned police and militia forces who had tried to stop the illegal demonstration," Juneidi said. "School
and other buildings ad vehicles were damaged during the clash with the security forces."
One student was injured in Ambo and five were arrested Monday, he added. Similar demonstrations
were held in Nekemt and Ghimbi and about 100 students were arrested in Nekemt. The last protest
was on Wednesday in Ghimbi.
"Two students were killed and four others were injured in Shambu when the students attempted to
disarm a police officer who had been hit by stones and was lying on the ground," he said.
The students were protesting what they consider the indifference of the regional and federal
governments to the plight of farmers in the region who have been hard hit by falling prices for coffee
and other agricultural products since October, he said. Juneidi claimed the opposition Oromo
Liberation Front, which has declared war on the government, was behind the student unrest.
"The OLF has been trying to infiltrate students, particularly high school students, to advance its hidden
agenda under various pretexts," he said, adding that those responsible would be hunted down and
It was impossible to reach the students or front officials because of poor telecommunications in
Juneidi said the government has reduced the tax on coffee from 56 to 15 Ethiopian cents (7 to 2 U.S.
cents) and was attempting to export more to the United States and other international markets. The
Oromiya administration has also earmarked 40 million birr (dlrs 4.5 million) to buy agricultural products
from the farmers to stabilize the market, he added.