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Renewed unrest in Ethiopia’s Oromia regional state leaves 1 dead

OromiaADDIS ABABA, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) — Renewed unrest in Ethiopia’s central Oromia regional state left one person dead and four others injured, a regional official said on Saturday.

Speaking to journalists, Ketema Bekelcha, Head of security department at Huro Guduru Wollega zone of Oromia regional state, said the unrest occurred on Friday when youths in Shambu city, 303 km northwest of Addis Ababa, tried to rob passing trucks carrying sugar.

The incident is the second time in two months that unrest over sugar being transported in Oromia caused deaths.

In October, at least eight people died in Ambo city, 130 km north of Addis Ababa, when police and soldiers used live rounds against angry demonstrators who blocked roads to prevent transportation of sugar.

The demonstrators believed erroneously sugar from nearby Fincha sugar factory was being transported illegally to other places.

Ethiopia is in the midst of a severe sugar shortage which the Ethiopian government blames on bad weather condition that halved the country’s sugar production last year.

Oromia, Ethiopia’s largest regional state, has seen large anti-government protests by ethnic Oromos since the end of 2015, leaving hundreds of people dead.

Oromos, Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group making up a third of the country’s 100 million population, complain of decades of economic, political and social marginalization by successive governments.

Martial law declared in October 2016 and later lifted in August 2017 had calmed Oromia regional state, but renewed anti-government protests starting October left several people dead and property damages.

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