Ethiopia. According to
countryaah, Ethiopia was shaken during the year by
extensive government-critical protests, which were met by
violence from security forces with hundreds of deaths as a
Students and peasants objected to the government's plan
to expand Addis Ababa with a special economic zone, where
industries, large-scale agriculture and housing would take
over large land from the unemployed people. The protests
became so extensive that in January the government decided
to withdraw its plans.
But demonstrations against the government continued, and
in June, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported that at least 400
people have been killed since November 2015 in connection
with defeated protests. According to HRW, tens of thousands
had been arrested, often arbitrarily. Detainees were held
without trial and subjected to torture. The government
rejected the data as exaggerated.
In August, new reports of violence came. According to
Amnesty, at least 97 people were killed by security forces
and hundreds were injured in demonstrations among the Oromo
people. The protests also spread into the capital Addis
Ababa. Also in Gonder in the north there were large
demonstrations among the Amharas, and two local politicians
were arrested accused of revolt.
In October, the government decided to introduce an
emergency permit for six months to end the protests.
According to the UN, at that time a total of 600 people had
been shot dead in connection with demonstrations, and the
World Organization demanded an international investigation.
In October, at least 50 people were killed in a panic
that erupted when police used tear gas at a religious
festival that turned into a government-critical protest.
Participants crossed the wrists over their heads, a signal
used in previous protests, chaos ensued, police attacks with
tear gas and batons and people were trampled to death in the
In November, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn tried to
respond to six months of protests by replacing half his
government and hiring experts as ministers for health,
agriculture and the environment. Finance and Foreign
Ministers were also replaced. Nine of the new ministers were
among the unions, who led the protest movement.
The drought in Ethiopia was the worst in 30 years, since
the weather phenomenon of El Niņo appeared more severe than
in a long time. The UN warned in March that up to 15 million
Ethiopians could be threatened by acute malnutrition if they
were not given food aid. Most were children. Every third
school child had to cancel school due to a lack of food.
A woman who was abducted as a child, raped and forced
into marriage was sentenced in March to $ 150,000 in
damages. It was the African Commission on Human and Public
Rights who ordered the Ethiopian government to replace her
after an Ethiopian court acquitted the perpetrators. The
government was asked to address the problems of forced
marriages, kidnappings and rapes.
At least 216 people were killed, close to 150 young
children were robbed and thousands of animals were stolen
when an armed group in April crossed the border from South
Sudan to the west. Ethiopian military entered South Sudan,
and in June, the UN Children's Fund UNICEF stated that most
of the children were returned. Smaller thefts in the border
area are common, but the violent attack in April drove
thousands of Ethiopians to flee their homes.
In June, Ethiopia and Eritrea accused each other of armed
attacks across the border. According to Eritrean data, at
least 200 Ethiopians were killed in the severe clashes and
more than 300 were injured. Ethiopia did not confirm this
Ethiopian-Swedish doctor Fikru Maru, who has been
incarcerated in Ethiopia since 2013, was sentenced in
October to four years and eight months in prison. He was
accused of knowing of undue pressure from a minister against
the prosecutor when a previous bribe against him was
dropped. In December, however, a new trial was initiated
against Fikru with charges of terrorism.
Conservators discovered a previously unknown lion tribe
during the year with perhaps up to 200 animals in the
Alatash National Park at the border with Sudan. Since the
number of lions has fallen sharply in Africa for several
decades, the discovery was considered important.