By Yonas Abiye
A day after riots in Debre Markos, Amhara Regional State, which concluded with damages to hotels and institutions, chief administrator of the region, Gedu Andargachew, on Thursday, denounced the riots describing the destruction of property as ‘ self- destruction’.
Located around 305km North West of Addis Ababa, the 148 year old town of Debre Markos has been hit by protesters in which the regional government said was caused by the spread of false information among residents.
The Reporter learnt from residents that the destructive chaos started around 11:00 AM on Wednesday after information began circulating in the town alleging senior members of ANDM including Berket Simon, Hilawe Yosef and Migbaru Kebede, were secretly holding discussions with the town’s people.
Other residents on their part told The Reporter on conditions of anonymity that the same information has been circulating in the town since Saturday, July 7. Coincidently, since then, electric power was cut in and outside the town which eventually led residents to confront the alleged authorities at Hotel Gozamn, where Bereket and his fellow officials were thought to have been staying at.
During the Wednesday riot, according to witness reports, regional police forces having struggled to contain the riot, they fired there weapon in the air in an effort to disperse the crowd. However, this was to no avail.
Coming from Bir Sheleko military training base, the Defense Force of the National military were deployed in the town and controlled the chaotic scene by dusk and freed the besieged Gozamn hotel.
According to hospital sources, one person has been killed while eight people were injured and are being treated.
In terms of property damage; three hotels and two public organizations have been damaged while around six vehicles were torched.
According to Gedu, residents of the town who besieged the hotel were demanding for Bereket and others to be handed over to law enforcements for deterring the ongoing political reform across the region as well as the nation.
However, Gedu who spoke during a meeting of the central Committee of ANDM in BahrDar, denounced the destruction of properties describing it as “an act of anarchy and it could be counted equally as self-destruction.”
“In my opinion, what happened in the town means nothing but it is an anarchy that can be compared to self-destruction,” Gedu said.
He further underlined that it could not be justified to point towards TPLF for whatever wrong things happen in the region.
Furthermore, he downplayed the allegation in connection with Bereket and other senior officials who have been serving both in the region as well as in Federal government levels.
He attributed the recent unrest and spreading of ‘false information’ across the region as an act of anti-reform agents who undertake hidden agendas.
Earlier on Wednesday, Nigusu Tilahun, communication bureau head of the Amhara regional state, told the region’s mass media that the riot was a result of false information.
He explained that one of the officials attended a regional council meeting which took place in BahrDar at the same time the rioters were damaging hotels. “Surprisingly, Migbaru Kebede is attending the Amhara regional state council meeting in Bahir Dar with the rest of us,” Nigussu said on his Facebook page posting a picture showing Migbaru present in the meeting.
Nigussu has further referred to recent incidents where names of senior officials are invoked in order to confuse the public and incite violence. He cautioned the public to stay vigilant.