Police in Ethiopia’s Oromia region says 359 people have been arrested across the region on suspicion of involvement in the violence that some say was the result of ethnic and religious tensions last week.
Much of the Violence seen during protests in Ethiopia last week was ethnically tinged, eyewitnesses said on Saturday, describing attacks by young men from the Oromo ethnic group against people from other ethnic groups.
There were clashes in several cities in Oromiya, Ethiopia’s most populous province, underscoring the spectre of ethnic violence that the United Nations says has already internally displaced more than 2 million people
The police chief in Oromia, Kefyalew Tefera, told the BBC the number detained could increase as investigations into the violence continue.
Oromiya’s top police official said: “There was a hidden agenda to divert the whole protest into an ethnic and religious conflict.
“There were attempts to burn churches and mosques,” Oromiya regional police commissioner Kefyalew Tefera told Reuters
In the town of Ambo, 100km (62 miles) west of the capital, Addis Ababa, protesters had been killed by members of the regional police who shot live bullets, according to the police chief.
Tefera had said late on Friday that 67 people had been killed in the region in two days of protests.
Soldiers have been deployed in areas affected by the violence