Ethiopian soldiers enforcing the country’s state of emergency have killed at least nine civilians in what appeared to be a botched security operation, highlighting the tension in the country as the ruling coalition meets to select a new prime minister.
The military said troops in the town of Moyale, in Oromia state close to the Kenyan border, acted on a “mistaken intelligence report” in an “anti-terrorist operation”, according to state television. At least a dozen were injured, local authorities said.
Ethiopia has been rocked by almost three years of deadly protests against the authoritarian Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, which has ruled for 26 years.
In January, the government appeared to change from its traditionally repressive approach to handling dissent, announcing that it would release thousands of political prisoners and begin a process of national reconciliation.
But after Hailemariam Desalegn resigned as prime minister last month the government declared a state of emergency in what appeared to be an attempt by hardliners to reassert control.