ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Mobs looted shops and burned down properties in Ethiopia’s eastern Somali region on Saturday, as unrest gained momentum and spread across the province following deployment of soldiers, witnesses said.
On Friday evening, Ethiopian troops entered the regional capital Jijiga in an apparent attempt by central authorities to arrest regional officials, residents said. On Saturday soldiers traded fire with members of local government security forces.
Violence has since broken out in at least four towns, with mobs attacking civilians and looting property, witnesses said.
“Ethnic non-Somalis are the ones being targeted. (The region’s) security forces are collaborating with them,” one resident told Reuters.
At least two Ethiopian Orthodox churches have been burned down, another witness said. Shops, hotels and banks remained closed, he added.
Residents in four other towns said gunshots were being heard.
A third witness in Jijiga said government soldiers had been deployed in the region’s administration offices with the intention of arresting officials.
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— Harun Maruf (@HarunMaruf) August 4, 2018
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