Multiple media outlets are reporting the Ethiopian government has declared three days of mourning after 55 people died in a stampede at an Oromo religious festival. The stampede occurred after police fired bullets into the crowd of the holy festival which was located in the Oromia region of the country.
Communications Minister Getachew Reda stated:
“‘Troublemakers’ at the Oromo Irreechaa festival in Bishoftu physically attacked elders who were making their way to the stage to say their blessings for the new year. Police fired warning shots into the air, triggering the stampede at the festival attended by an estimated 2 million people,’ he said. However, Ethiopia’s opposition party disputed that account, saying that police fired live bullets into the crowd and as many as 120 people were killed. Merera Gudina, chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress, said the number of casualties was still unknown. ‘This goes down as one of the darkest days in modern Oromo history,’ Gudina told CNN. The Oromo are Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group and make up at least a third of the country’s 100 million people. But they have been marginalized for decades, with tensions rising recently as the government promoted development that took over Oromo farmland.”
The number dead is being widely disputed. Check @TheBurtonWire for updates.
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