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Scores killed in Ethiopia clashes: HRW
Weeks-long clashes between Ethiopian security forces and protesters from the country’s largest ethnic community have resulted in scores of fatalities, Human Rights Watch (HRW) says.
In a statement released on Saturday, the New York-based rights body said police and military forces had fired on demonstrations, killing at least 75 protesters and wounding many others.
A government spokesman had previously put the death toll at five.
Members of the Oromia ethnic group populate the sprawling Oromia region, which expands from the central parts of Ethiopia toward its southern and western borders.
Over the past weeks, the community has been protesting Addis Ababa’s plans to expand the country’s capital. The plans envisage construction in areas where the properties of the community members are located.
The protests have reportedly been met with a heavy-handed police and military response. The region recently hosted funerals for those killed during the confrontations.
Tensions have been compounded by the country’s worst drought in 50 years, which was caused by subnormal rainfalls.
Being home to more than seven million chronically food-insecure people, Ethiopia has one of the largest food-insecure populations in the world.