Ethiopia arrests over 200 over violence at a funeral
Ethiopian authorities have arrested over 200 people linked to the deadly religious violence last Tuesday in the country’s northern Gondar city of Amhara region.
Attack on a Muslim community in Gondar left 21 peopledead, the Amhara Regional Islamic Affairs High Council said on Wednesday.
The Council further said that more than 150 people were also injured in the incident.
It is not yet clear if there are casualties from the attackers’ side.
In a statement issued late Thursday, Ethiopia’s Federal Intelligence and Security Task Force announced that it has arrested 280 suspects in connection with theincident that happened in the religious and historic tourist destination city of Gondar.
The Taskforce said the arrests are part of the measures being taken against some elements who are working to help “anti-Ethiopian forces” under the cover of religion.
The statement said that the suspects were involved in the violence and had intentions to spread it to larger parts of the Amhara region and beyond.
According to the statement, perpetrators planned to launch an attack targeting religious institutions and individuals with the aim to broaden the scope of the violence.
“The conflict in Gondar is a conspiracy to provoke clashes between different religious groups thereby lead to a national chaos.
“There have been moves to instigate religious violence in different parts of the country with the pretext of the incident that happened in a funeral place in the central Gondar zone that involved Christians and Muslims.The goal was to cater to the interests of ant-Ethiopian forces.
“Those forces whose attempt to bring about a crisis failed due to the age-old shared values have been playing religion as a playing card in order to incite discord that could lead to violence between followers of different faith groups,” the task force added.
Furthermore, it said that anti-Ethiopian forces, internal and external, had attempted to instigate ethnic-based violence across the country to plunge the country into crisis.
The task force further claimed to have adequate information about orchestrators of the attack who are based in Ethiopia and foreign countries, adding that they would take measures against them.
Tuesday’s attack was carried out during a Muslim burial at the Sheikh Elias Cemetery in the predominantly Christian city of Gondar.
Although the security task force blamed anti-peace forces for the attack, the Ethiopian Islamic Affairs Supreme Council has, however, pointed fingers at what it described as “radical Orthodox Church followers” for the deadly attacks.
The Addis Abeba Islamic Affairs’ High Council said that “Mosques were set ablaze and massive destruction of property was carried out by a mob blinded by bigotry, which clearly remarks Islamophobia.”