Ethiopian Prime Minister Calls for Unity as Protest Deaths Rise to 86

Samuel Gebre

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The death toll from last month’s protests in Ethiopia has risen to 86 people, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said on national television Sunday.

“There would be no need for these differences if we solved our quarrels through reconciliation,” he said. “Our unity, co-existence will benefit our growth, prosperity and greatness.”

Violence, mostly amid rival groups, broke out in parts of Oromia last month after state security was withdrawn from influential activist Jawar Mohammed. Oromia has been a center of protests for several years.

Since coming to power last year, Abiy Ahmed has implemented a reform agenda to open up Africa’s second-most populous nation. He has also scrapped bans on opposition and rebel groups, purged allegedly corrupt officials and ended two decades of acrimony with neighboring Eritrea -- an initiative that won him the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize.

Ethiopia is to hold national elections in 2020.

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To contact the editors responsible for this story: David Malingha at, James Ludden

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