Following the kidnapping of a group of University students, several thousand students took to the streets in Ethiopian cities. The protestors were demanding that the country's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed take a strong stance against the ongoing ethnic violence in the country.
The university students were abducted from Dembi Dollo University by armed men. The university is present in the Oromiya region and the kidnapping took place in early December last year. Just earlier this week, the government announced that it had rescued 21 students who had previously been kidnapped but the whereabouts of 12 students still remained unknown.
Nobel Peace Laureate and a member of the Oromo ethnic group, Abiy is under great pressure as these recent kidnappings have revived widespread fears about ethnic violence at a time when the country is gearing up for an election.
Majority of the students that were kidnapped belonged to the Amhara, a group that has clashed with the Oromos in the past. According to statistics released by the higher education ministry, 35,000 students have opted to drop out of the university fearing the growing violence. At least 12 students have been killed.
According to reports, the Prime Minister and other government officials met with the family of the abducted students and the family members were given assurances that the students would be safe. The movement has begun using the hashtag #BringBackOurStudents and has been used by several thousand people who are taking part in the marches.
Big protests are going on right now in major cities of the Amhara region. The citizens want to express their discontent and are demanding the release of the abduction of #Dembidolo university students.#BringBackOurStudents:Ethiopians demand truth over abduction in Oromia region pic.twitter.com/sj9JX2d1H0— Obang Metho (@ObangMetho) January 28, 2020
#BringBackOurStudents demonstration just started at different towns of #Amhara "region".— Dessalegn Chanie (@cdessalegn) January 28, 2020
17 (13 girls) students of Dembi Dollo University were kidnapped for 55 days & @AbiyAhmedAli's gov't kept silent about their whereabouts. #BringBackAmharaStudents ! pic.twitter.com/eRUfgcyewc
(with inputs from agencies)