Regime operatives accused of arson attack


(File photo obtained from social media)

ESAT News (September 9, 2016)

Supporters and cadres of the Ethiopian regime have been accused of carrying out arson attack on several houses in nine localities in Konso, southern Ethiopia. The houses set on fire belong to people who have been demanding a zonal administration status for Konso and more control in the administration of their affairs.

Reports reaching ESAT say over 1000 people have been displaced following the attack. A local, who spoke to ESAT on condition of anonymity, said he believed the arsonists had backing from regime forces in carrying out the attack. He said security forces did not stop the attackers who set several houses ablaze.

Elders who tried to intervene to stop the attack were harassed by the authorities, the source said. He said a well-armed army has been deployed to Konso where security forces detained close to 200 people in March.

The victims of the arson attack have taken shelter in churches and neighboring localities. Up to 200 households reside in one village in Konso, an area known for its rich culture and environmental conservation and industrious people.

In March security forces arrested Konso’s traditional king, Kala Gezahegn and dozens of others who lead the campaign for self-adminitration. Thousands of people held a rally in Konso in October demanding zonal administrative status. The response from regime and regional authorities has been arrest and violence.

Schools and government offices have remained closed.