Ethiopia warning re unrest





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  1. #1
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    Default Ethiopia warning re unrest

    Things have been simmering for a while now in Ethiopia, especially in Oromiya Province. This from the Guardian today:

    Police in Ethiopia’s Oromiya region fired teargas and warning shots to disperse anti-government protesters at a religious festival, triggering a stampede the opposition party said killed at least 50 people.
    The government did not give a precise death toll resulting from chaotic scenes on Sunday during the annual festival, where some people chanted slogans against the government and waved a rebel flag. But it said “lives were lost” and that several were injured.
    Sporadic protests have erupted in Oromiya in the last two years, initially sparked by a land row but increasingly turning more broadly against the government. Since late 2015, scores of protesters have been killed in clashes with police.
    These developments highlight tensions in the country where the government has delivered stellar economic growth rates but faced criticism from opponents and rights group that it has trampled on political freedoms.
    Thousands of people had gathered for the annual Irreecha festival of thanksgiving in the town of Bishoftu, about 25 miles (40km) south of the capital, Addis Ababa.
    Crowds chanted “we need freedom” and “we need justice”, preventing community elders, deemed close to the government, from delivering speeches at the festival. Some protesters waved the red, green and yellow flag of the Oromo Liberation Front, a rebel group branded a terrorist organisation by the government, witnesses said.
    When police fired teargas and guns into the air, crowds fled and created a stampede, some of them plunging into a ditch, according to witnesses.
    The witnesses said they saw people dragging out a dozen or more victims, showing no obvious sign of life. Half a dozen people, also motionless, were seen being taken by pick-up truck to a hospital, one witness said.
    “As a result of the chaos, lives were lost and several of the injured were taken to hospital,” the government communications office said in a statement. “Those responsible will face justice.”
    Merera Gudina, the chairman of the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress, told Reuters at least 50 people were killed, saying his group had been talking to families of the victims. He said the government tried to use the event to show Oromiya was calm. “But residents still protested,” he said.
    The government blames rebel groups and dissidents abroad for stirring up the protests and provoking violence. It dismisses charges that it clamps down on free speech or its opponents.
    Protesters had chanted slogans against Oromo People’s Democratic Organisation, one of the four regional parties that make up the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, which has ruled the country for quarter of a century.
    In a 2015 parliamentary election, opposition parties failed to win a single seat – down from just one in the previous parliament. Opponents accused the government of rigging the vote, a charge government officials dismissed.
    Protests in Oromiya province initially flared in 2014 over a development plan for the capital that would have expanded its boundaries, a move seen as threatening farmland.
    Scores of people have been killed since late in 2015 and this year as protests gathered pace, although the government shelved the boundary plan earlier this year.
    Last edited by Tony Weaver; 2016/10/02 at 04:21 PM.
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    Default Re: Ethiopia warning re unrest

    This country has long been a bucket list destination for me but the constant feedback of negativity from travellers (including a trans-Africa cyclist who was shot at by AK wielding kids) has me a little hesitant.
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    Default Re: Ethiopia warning re unrest

    Thanks, Tony. I have been monitoring the unrest in Oromia for a while now. We are revisiting Ethiopia in January - driving up from Kenya. My contacts in Ethiopia are keeping me up-to-date and, up to a week ago, they were saying that the violence is quick to flare up, quick to subside and is pretty isolated. We are not going to Addis Ababa this time.

    We spent a month in Egypt just after the fall of Morsi in 2013 when most people thought we were crazy to drive through it, and we had a wonderful time and saw all the main incredible sights - and wild camping in the Western Desert.

    It would be unfortunate to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, but we think (at the moment) that the chances of that are pretty slim...

  6. #4
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    Default Re: Ethiopia warning re unrest

    Quote Originally Posted by Wazungu Wawili View Post
    Thanks, Tony. I have been monitoring the unrest in Oromia for a while now. We are revisiting Ethiopia in January - driving up from Kenya.
    Yup, the chances of actually encountering any problems is remote, as mentioned in another post, we spent three months in Ethiopia at a politically volatile time, and never had any issues. This is just a heads up, so to speak - avoid any major gatherings, especially religious occasions, which tend to be flashpoints in Ethiopia with its strong Coptic Christian heritage and its relationship to politics.
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    Default Re: Ethiopia warning re unrest

    An email I got today from Double Dutch Safari, Rob & Clary who are there now.

    Last edited by duncang; 2016/10/03 at 08:57 AM.
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    Default Re: Ethiopia warning re unrest

    The following was received yesterday (4 October 2016) from one of my contacts in Ethiopia:

    "Violence, if it occurs, is localised, directed towards the authorities and calms down pretty quickly. You would have to be very unlucky to get caught up and/or hurt."



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    Default Re: Ethiopia warning re unrest

    Our trip to Ethiopia has been cancelled for next week due to the violence. The bottling plant has been closed till further notice. Even travel to Addis Ababa has been stopped as a precaution. Hoping to get my project team back in November.

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    Default Re: Ethiopia warning re unrest


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    Default Re: Ethiopia warning re unrest

    Anybody want current situation reports I have emails from overlanders there now.
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    Default Re: Ethiopia warning re unrest

    Quote Originally Posted by duncang View Post
    Anybody want current situation reports I have emails from overlanders there now.
    Yes Duncan please post.
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    Default Re: Ethiopia warning re unrest

    Ethiopia has now declared a state of emergency for 6 months. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-37600225

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    Default Re: Ethiopia warning re unrest

    A Collegue of mine was there last week and he said it's getting very dangerous even in the capital Addis. They declared a state of emergency which will last for 6 months he
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    Default Re: Ethiopia warning re unrest



    Last edited by duncang; 2016/10/12 at 05:26 PM.
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    Default Re: Ethiopia warning re unrest

    Duncan: Sorry can't see the emails. Can you copy and paste?

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    Default Re: Ethiopia warning re unrest

    Things are not looking great. I would put any travel plans on hold for now. Sad story of an American agricultural researcher who was killed this week when her vehicle was stoned near Addis. With the six month state of emergency imposed, I would seriously advise against any travel there - what is likely to happen now is that the regime will clamp down with extreme force, and any observers will be in the firing line - that is the historical pattern.

    As an aside, we were mule trekking through the Simyen Mountains when word came back to us that there had been a shoot out between "rebels" and the military at Debarek, and that we should wait a day or two before returning. Our guide's comment was that "we fought the war, they want the spoils". Cryptic, but telling.
    Tony Weaver

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    Default Re: Ethiopia warning re unrest

    We will be reviewing the situation in early November - when we have to have made a decision in order to get Ethiopian visas here in London. My Ethiopian based British contact in the Bale Mountains is keeping me up to date on Oromia and our proposed drive up from Moyale.

    My very experienced contact in Addis says the military are not out on the streets of Addis, but he is concerned that our plan is to drive across huge swathes of the country with a vital asset. He advises that if the situation is not calm it may be best to postpone, but he thinks it is reasonable to review in a few weeks time and again in early November. We are in close contact, but it is looking increasingly unlikely that we will be returning to Ethiopia this coming January. Oh dear...

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    Default Re: Ethiopia warning re unrest

    Sorry to hear that your trip is in jeopardy. I must say that I would be a little wary, especially as you will have to traverse long sections in Oromia Province. The activists seem to be targeting anything with a foreign link. I am sure you have the right contacts for accurate information.

    Just a random thought. Have you considered visiting Madagascar, not self-drive but amazing endemic animals, birds and vegetation. Fantastic hiking in the forests!
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    Default Re: Ethiopia warning re unrest

    Last edited by duncang; 2016/10/13 at 09:09 AM.
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    Default Re: Ethiopia warning re unrest

    Tried every trick in the book to post the emails. I can see them here and on my phone ??

    For the original info maybe go to the Facebook page of Double Dutch World Safari. Great posts and great guys. Followed and chatted since they left Aussie ± 6 years ago.

    ...or send me your email address to [email protected].
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    Default Re: Ethiopia warning re unrest

    Quote Originally Posted by duncang View Post
    Tried every trick in the book to post the emails. I can see them here and on my phone ??

    For the original info maybe go to the Facebook page of Double Dutch World Safari. Great posts and great guys. Followed and chatted since they left Aussie ± 6 years ago.

    ...or send me your email address to [email protected].
    Thanks for trying, Duncan. I can see the content on the email from 4x4 Community which one receives if subscribed to a thread, but not here. I have tried two different devices and your post is still blank...

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