Ethiopia: 14 year-old among seven killed as TPLF forces shot at Epiphany goers

By Engidu Woldie

ESAT News (January 21, 2018)

At least seven people were killed on Saturday in Woldia town in northern Ethiopia as TPLF security forces shot live fire at people gathered to celebrate the annual Ethiopian Orthodox Epiphany.

The youth in Woldia, known for their strong display of defiance against the TPLF, were chanting songs denouncing the regime when the forces rained bullets on them on one of the holiest days for the Orthodox christians on Saturday. Several people have reportedly been taken to the hospital sustaining gunshot wounds, some with serious injuries.

Police commander for the North Wollo Zone confirmed to the regional TV that six people were shot and killed by security forces. Amare Goshu said one member of the force was among the dead. He said two members of police sustained serious injuries and added that at least 15 people were injured in total. He blamed the protesters for starting the violence saying they had attacked security forces with stones and the forces responded with live bullets.

Gruesome pictures of the dead were shared instantly on social media.

Burial ceremonies on Sunday turned violent as angry protesters attacked and set ablaze a number of businesses owned by regime affiliates. Hotels and restaurants providing services to TPLF security were targeted.  

Roads leading in and out of the town remain shut on Sunday, according to sources who also said students of Woldia University were prevented from leaving their campus to join residents in the protest.

Gunfire could be heard most of Sunday in the town that has seen one of the deadliest weekend in recent months.

Anti-regime protests at the Woldia University turned deadly last month when security forces shot and killed four students. The students were denouncing the killing of two students from the Amhara region at the Adigrat University in Tigray. Soccer fans in the town also responded with attacking TPLF affiliate businesses last month after fans from a Tigray soccer club hurled ethnic rant and slur.