Police fire live rounds in Ethiopia’s Oromiya region to disperse protests

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ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Police in a town in Ethiopia’s restive Oromiya region fired live rounds on Thursday to disperse demonstrators who had blocked roads, witnesses said.

The incident in Ambo some 130 kilometres (80 miles) west of the capital Addis Ababa is the latest bout of unrest to plague a province that was shaken by unrest for months in 2015 and 2016.

Residents in the area told Reuters that demonstrators blocked the town’s main road to protest sugar shortages, sparking clashes with police.

“Police fired live rounds. We know of four or five people who died from gunshot wounds,” one of the protesters said.

The regional government’s spokesman confirmed that deaths had occurred, but did not give details.

“Demonstrations happening in Ambo have resulted in death and injuries,” said Addisu Arega Kitessa, who said the demonstrations were organised by “enemies” of the region.

The developments highlight tensions in the country where the government has delivered high economic growth rates yet often faces criticism from opponents and rights groups that it has curbed political freedoms.

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