Addis Ababa expansion halted

addisababa landscapeAddis Ababa. — Ethiopia’s government yesterday said it would abandon plans to expand the capital Addis Ababa into surrounding areas of Oromia federal region after almost two months of protests reported to have left scores of people dead.

“OPDO (…) ruling party of Oromia region has decided to abandon the project between Addis Ababa and Oromia . . . because its own people have been asking questions and protesting,” said communication minister and government spokesperson Getachew Reda said.

The Ethiopian government had put the death toll at five.

The protests began in November when students opposed government proposals to take over territory in several towns in the Oromia region, sparking fears that Addis Ababa was looking to grab land traditionally occupied by the Oromo people, the country’s largest ethnic group

The government spokesman said Wednesday that “OPDO decided to stop the project”.

“The plan was never to expand Addis Ababa to Oromia but to coordinate the development efforts of Addis Ababa and surroundings towns around Finfine region,” he said.

The Oromo People’s Democratic Organisation (OPDO), a member of Ethiopia’s EPRDF ruling coalition, currently holds all seats in the local Oromia Parliament. — AFP.

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