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Ethiopia protest death toll rises to 27

The authorities in Ethiopia say 27 people have been killed this week during outbreaks of violence in the Oromia Region.

This is close to double the number of deaths that had earlier been reported.

The unrest began on Wednesday, when protests broke out after the prominent activist and journalist Jawar Mohamed said the government was trying to remove his bodyguards.

The day before, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed had suggested Mr Jawar’s media outlet was inciting ethnic violence.

This week’s violence in Oromia is a deeply worrying reminder of just how volatile the country is.

With elections due next year Mr Abiy faces a difficult job stopping ethnic violence from spiralling even further out of control.

It is hard to understand how the perceived ill treatment of a popular activist and journalist should lead to 27 people being killed. But Mr Jawar is extremely influential and his news site fuelled the protests that catapulted Mr Abiy into power last year.

If Mr Jawar were to renounce his US citizenship and run for office next year this would be a huge challenge for the Nobel Prize winning prime minister who is also an ethnic Oromo.


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