By Justin Fishel
An American citizen was killed in Ethiopia on Tuesday after the vehicle she was traveling in was struck by rocks thrown by unknown assailants, the State Department confirmed today.
“On October 4, in the late afternoon, a passenger van was hit by rocks thrown by unknown individuals on the outskirts of the city of Addis Ababa. One of the passengers, a U.S. citizen, was struck by a rock and subsequently died from her injury,” the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia said in a consular message issued to Americans in the region.
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State Department spokesman Mark Toner declined to identify the individual due to privacy considerations. “We offer our sincerest condolences to her family and loved ones on their loss,” Toner said, adding that the U.S. is “providing all possible consular assistance.” The State Department has referred all questions about the investigation to local authorities and declined to provide any further information.
Addis Ababa has seen experienced a great deal of political and religious unrest recently. On Sunday, a protest broken up by the police resulted in a stampede that left more than 50 people dead, according to local reports.
Demonstrators and government opposition members have been protesting against the Ethiopian government’s plan to integrate infrastructure development and expand the municipal boundary of the capital, Addis Ababa, into surrounding towns in Oromia. Some feared the urban expansion would cause Oromo farmers to lose their traditional lands.
Largely peaceful protests have been met by federal security forces that have allegedly used excessive and lethal force to quell the demonstrations. More than 400 people are estimated to have been killed, thousands injured and tens of thousands arrested since November 2015, according to a recent report by Human Rights Watch based on over 125 interviews with witnesses, victims and government officials.