by Arefayné Fantahun
Intense clashes erupted in Bahir Dar city, capital of the Amhara region, last week when authorities demolished thousands of houses and small businesses at an area known as Yibab located around Bahir Dar University Yibab Campus, it was reported. The houses and small businesses were reduced to rubble, leaving thousands homeless when a heavy contingent of police conducted this operation.
The affected persons protested, saying they were living on the area for the past few years that they purchased from land barons.However, police disregarded the plights, according to residents, used force to evict them, beating, mostly elderly people, with batons. There are reports of many injuried and several imprisoned.
Residents bitterly castigated Alemnew Mekonnen, the vice President of the Amhara regional government who reportedly ordered the operation, according to sources.
Speaking to the Amharic service of the Voice of America, Negussu Tilahun, spokesperson of the Amhara Region justified the demolitions as necessary to keep law and order. He said that the demolition of illegal structures in the region was not new or out of the ordinary, also done in western Gojam. He said that the region sat in a mediation session with the residents to try to discuss alternatives to eviction.
SOURCE: Ethiopia Observer