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News: South Omo zone appeals for government help after “very tragic” unrest displaces thousands

The unrest over the weekend has left several houses destroyed and thousands of civilians displaced. Picture: South Omo zone communication bureau

Addis Abeba – The administration of South Omo zone in Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s regions state (SNNPRS) appealed for government help to rehabilitate thousands of civilians displaced by a “very tragic” unrest over the weekend.

South Omo Zone Chief Administrator, Nigatu Dansa, and other senior government officials visited the displaced civilians and the injured where Nigatu described the unrest as “very tragic” and promised that legal and administrative measures would be taken against the perpetrators resolve the problem from its root, according to the South Omo zone communication affairs bureau.

On 11 April, Demo Bezabih, the Deputy Administrator of the Zone and Head of the Peace and Security Department, said that 132 suspects were initially arrested suspected of involvement in the unrest of whom 22 individuals have since been released.

The chief administrator said a team was sent from the regional state to investigate the unrest and will work to rehabilitate the internally displaced civilians who are currently sheltered at Metser secondary High School. The victims have said that they have no problem with the Ari community request for zonal administration and that they support the request but they want the government to help rehabilitate them as soon as possible, the bureau said.

The unrest has caused heavy property damage in Metser, Tolta, and several areas of South Ari Woreda where the residents fled from and have sought refuge in religious institutions, schools, and police stations.

The displaced victims have received temporary relief aid including nutritional food, sugar and salt compiled from individuals and institutions. On 12 April, South Omo Zone Red Cross Society Branch Office provided food and clothing to the displaced civilians from Tolta, Metser and Barka districts in the zone.

The unrest has caused heavy property damage in Metser, Tolta, and several areas of South Ari Woreda where the residents fled from and have sought refuge in religious institutions, schools, and police stations.

Since Sunday 10 April morning, members of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF), regional police and special forces were deployed in key areas where the unrest erupted, bringing a relative calm to the area. A command post was also established to oversee the security forces’ operations; it has announced that as of Sunday it has banned motorbikes in the areas until further notice. AS

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