Mapping the Deaths of Protesters in Ethiopia

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (GVO) – Since the beginning of November 2015, at least 140 peaceful protesters have been killed in Ethiopia according to Human Rights Watch. Photo and video evidence suggests that most of the people were killed by bullets fired at close range.

There are also reports by Oromo rights activists indicating that at least 10 individuals died from torture inflicted while they were in prisons.

University students, women, farmers and school teachers have all been victims of government violence.

Among the dead, more than 70% are male students. Male farmers account for about 20% of the deaths.

The remainder are women. A seven-month pregnant woman along with her sister-in-law were killed while they were running away to escape arrest.

It was reported their bodies were discovered in scrub-land days after their disappearance.

Below is an interactive map created by this author with help from Oromo activist Abiy Atomssa. The map lists 111 people that have died during the protests in recent months.

We ask anyone who has evidence of the deaths or disappearance of protesters to contact us via editor@globalvoicesonline.org.

Despite all evidence to the contrary, the Ethiopian government and pro-governmentcommentators say the number of dead is around five people.

Image Source: AMISOM Public Information, Flickr, Creative Commons 2014_01_22_Ethiopia_Welcome_Ceremony_012.jpg An Ethiopian soldier has his photo taken wearing an African Union beret after a ceremony in Baidoa, Somalia, marking the inclusion of Ethiopia into the African Union peace keeping mission on January 22. AU UN IST PHOTO / Tobin Jones

Image Source: AMISOM Public Information, Flickr, Creative Commons
AU UN IST PHOTO / Tobin Jones

In a radio interview, the head of a pro-government human rights commission, Addisu Gebregziabher said for the sake of security the government was forced to use violent measures against protesters.

The protests began when the government made plans for the expansion of the capital Addis Ababa into land inhabited by the Oromo ethnic group, which accounts for almost a third of Ethiopia’s population.

The decision compounded poor relations between the Oromo and the government dominated by members of the northern Tigrayan minority.

The culturally distinct Oromo people complain of a lack of economic opportunity in Ethiopia and regular state violence against Oromo communities.