Ethiopian PM to visit riot hit southern city to calm tensions – Xinhua

ADDIS ABABA, June 16 (Xinhua) — Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is to visit the riot hit Hawassa city, capital of Ethiopia’s Southern regional state next week to calm tensions, state media Ethiopia Broadcasting Corporation (EBC) said on Saturday.

EBC didn’t give exact dates for the PM’s visit to Hawassa city, but said Ahmed is expected to meet community elders and local officials in a bid to restore peace in the city.

The EBC report further said the PM plans to institute a boundary commission to solve territorial disputes raised in various parts of Ethiopia.

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On Friday, Solomon Hailu, Head of Communications Bureau, Southern regional state, said several days of riots in Hawassa city left 10 people dead, 89 others injured, and more than 2,500 people displaced.

The riots in Hawassa city are said to have involved ethnic Sidamas the original inhabitants of Hawassa city and the neighboring Wolaita ethnic group.

Ethnic Sidamas and ethnic Wolaitas are one of the more numerous ethnic groups in Southern regional state and have history of tension spilling occasionally into deadly communal violence, reportedly over land rights and economic resources.

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Hawassa city is also home to Ethiopia’s flagship Hawassa Industrial Park, built by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) in a record time of nine months and commissioned back in July 2016.

The east African country has targeted to generate 1 billion U.S. dollars annually once the park starts operations at its full potential.

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