Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed warned on Saturday of further instability while vowing to bring justice to those responsible for the violence that left 67 people dead this week.
“The crisis we have faced will become even more fearsome and difficult if Ethiopians don’t unite and stand as one,” Abiy said in a statement issued by his office.
In the same statement he continued to say, “We will unswervingly work to ensure the prevalence of the rule of law and to bring perpetrators to justice.”
Violence broke out in Addis Ababa and in much of Oromia region on Wednesday after a high-profile activist accused security forces of trying to plan an attack against him; however security officials later denied the claims.
According to PM Abiy, protests against the government had soon morphed into clashes that took an ethnic and religious turn.
He added that homes, businesses and places of worship had been destroyed and an unknown number of Ethiopians had been displaced.
“There has been an attempt to turn the crisis into a religious and ethnic one. In the process, our comrades have become victims in terrible circumstances,” he said.
On Friday, 67 people had been killed including five officers as stated by Oromia police chief, Kefyalew Tefera as most lost their lives in clashes between civilians rather than at the hands of security forces.
The Defense Ministry announced Friday that it was deploying forces to seven hotspots to restore order while reports of violence persisted through Friday night and into Saturday.
United States Ambassador Michael Raynor said in a statement Saturday that Washington was “deeply troubled by the recent hatred, inflammatory language, and violence
He is quoted saying, “For Ethiopia to build the peaceful, prosperous, and politically inclusive future that so many of you tell us you want to see, Ethiopians must unify around, and work toward, that vision. Anyone who undercuts these efforts undercuts the best interests of all Ethiopians, now and in the future.”