Student ​murders, ethnic tension in Ethiopian Universities

Tension escalated in Ethiopian universities, as four students got killed in three universities within a week.

Wollega University

On Monday (Dec. 11), around mid-night, two students of Wollega University, Shambu campus, were killed after being attacked in their dormitory.

According to staff members of the University, speaking to VOA radio, the deceased students are from Tigray. One was thrown from the building, the other was killed inside the dorm room.

Photo - Wollega University, Shambu campus
Photo – Wollega University, Shambu campus

Adigrat University
Last Saturday (Dec. 9), at dawn, a student was found dead nearby a dormitory building in Adigrat University.

The deceased, student of management, was from Amhara region. The specific circumstances of the death is not clear. University staff members told HornAffairs that it is believed he was thrown from the building.

Police arrested hundreds of students, mostly Tigrayans, in connection with a disturbance in the campus last Friday (Dec. 8) and the murder of the students. On Sunday (Dec. 10), more than a thousand Tigrayan students marched to the city center protesting what they called “mass arrest”, a staff of the university told HornAffairs.

US-based media and activists, however, have been claiming that several  students were killed in Adigrat University. The unsubstantiated news is believed to have caused ethnic tension in Gondar, Woldia and Wollega Universities.

Woldiya University

Last Monday (Dec. 11), a disturbance in Woldya University was accompanied by an assault on Tigrayan students.

An unspecified number of Tigrayan students were injured and had to camp in the football stadium of the campus for fear of further ethnic attacks, according to a HornAffairs source. The situation appears to have descalated on Tuesday with the intervention of local elders and security forces.

Mekelle University

Last week on Wednesday (Dec. 6), a first year student of Mekelle University was killed under unclear circumstances. HornAffairs learnt from locals that the deceased student was resident of “kebele 17” of Mekelle city, Tigray.

According to the statement from Mekelle University, the death was caused by “an injury to his skull after falling on the stairs of educational building”. Social media activists claim he was killed after a quarrel with other students in due to the Woldiya football incident.

Woldiya football incident

A football match between Mekelle city and Woldiya city slated for the beginning of last week Sunday (Dec. 3) in Woldiya city. The match was cancelled after a clash between the fans of the two clubs on Sunday morning, hours before the game.

Local officials explained the incident as a spontaneous outcome of an exchange of insults between the two fan groups. However, the local officials were wary of signs of disturbance at least a day before the incident before the arrival of the Mekelle team fans.

Following Amhara region special police’s attempt to disengage the two fan groups, anarchy ensued across the city and several Tigrayan businesses were attacked. A mob attacked the bus of a group of Mekelle fans who were returning to Mekelle that day.

Upon arrival at Mekelle city that evening, the Mekelle fans marched in the city center protesting the treatment in Woldiya city. Tigray police and federal police disband the protesters, while the later smashed windshields of vehicles and glass windows of buildings.

A fan of Mekelle city died a day later (Dec. 4), due to injuries suffered in Woldiya.

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Daniel Berhane

Daniel Berhane

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