ADDIS-ABABA (Halbeeg News) – The Internet has been cut off in Ethiopia’s Somali State for the past three days amid an outbreak of violence in several towns in the state.
The resident, speaking from the city of Harar, some 100 km from Jijiga, the capital of the region of Somali, said the connection had been off for three days by Ethiopian Authorities.
The residents say it has been shut down in the vast Somali region and neighbouring areas, including the city of Harar.
This is the first time internet access has been cut in Ethiopia since the state of emergency was lifted in June.
Violence broke out in Jijiga on Saturday, with mobs looting properties owned by ethnic minorities, in unrest that the government said had been stoked by regional officials at odds with central authorities.
The security forces in Ethiopia’s eastern Somali region on Monday shot dead four people protesting against the looting of their shops and homes.
The attacks forced thousands to seek refuge in an Ethiopian Orthodox church from Friday, residents told Reuters
Amid the violence, the region’s president Abdi Mohamud Omar stepped down late on Monday, state-owned media outlets said. The agencies did not offer any explanation for his resignation.
But earlier, a government spokesman, Ahmed Shide, had said regional officials were stoking violence at a time when attempts were being made to address rights abuses in the region.
He said the officials claimed the government was illegally forcing them to resign, and that a regional paramilitary force had taken part in the attacks under their orders.
“Infrastructure was destroyed and civilians were subjected to killings and lootings. Religious centres were also attacked and banks looted,” he said at a news conference.
“These acts were carried out by gangs of youths that were organised by some members of the region’s leadership.”
Halbeeg News and Agencies