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Protest hits Ethiopia's capital after 23 killed

Kalkidan Yibeltal

BBC Amharic Service, Addis Ababa

Woman displaced by conflict in Ethiopia
BBC
Thousands of people have fled their homes because of the violence

Shops are shut in the business district of Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, as crowds protest against the killing of 23 people in violence which hit the outskirts of the city at the weekend.

The protesters are condemning the violence and demanding that the government do more to protect citizens, especially ethnic minorities who say they have been targeted in the violence.

Thousands of people are taking shelter in schools following the violence in the Oromiya region's Burayu district, north-west of Addis Ababa.

The violence followed a mass rally in Addis Ababa on Saturday to welcome the leadership of the exiled Oromo Liberation Front (OLF).

The OLF had waged a rebellion for the self-determination of the Oromo people, Ethiopia's largest ethnic group. Its leadership returned after President Abiy Ahmed lifted a ban on the group.

Shops shut in Addis Ababa
BBC
Many business are closed because of the protest

"Mobs of ethnic Oromo youth then marched here in Ashwa Meda and attacked our homes and looted businesses chanting 'leave our land'," Hassan Ibrahim, a trader in an ethnically diverse part of the district, told Reuters news agency.

Alemayehu Ejigu, the head of Oromiya region's police commission, confirmed that 23 people had been killed.

More than 70 people had been arrested in connection with the violence, he added, Reuters reports.

"They [the attackers] do not represent anyone - they had no reason other than theft. Anyone has the constitutional right to reside in Oromiya or anywhere," he was quoted as saying.

Oromo supporters march into Ethiopia's capital

While parts of the commercial centre of Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, has been described as a ghost town (see earlier entry), in the wake of clashes between supporters of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and some residents in the city, the western part of the city is very busy.

Thousands of OLF supporters are walking into Addis Ababa ahead of a rally welcoming back the movement's leaders from exile. They are being escorted by members of the security forces.

The BBC's Habtamu Tibebu has photographed some of them as they make their way into the city:

OLF supporter with flag
BBC
OLF supporters with banners
BBC

Security remains tight with a big police presence, especially at junctions to prevent further clashes, our correspondent adds.

Police on the streets
BBC
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Ethiopia military helicopter crash kills 18

Emmanuel Igunza

BBC Africa, Addis Ababa

Crashed helicopter
Fana Broadcasting Corporate
No-one survived the crash

A military helicopter has crashed on the outskirts of Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, killing all 18 people on board, officials say.

The plane was flying from Dire Dawa city in eastern Ethiopia to a town just outside Addis Ababa, when it came down.

The dead include 15 soldiers and three civilians, local reports say.

The cause of the accident is unclear.

Investigators and a search-and-recovery team have been dispatched to the area, officials say.

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