Yesterday saw another dimension of the Ethiopian protests which has been going on for months. Foreign firms in Oromia and Amhara region were attacked.
Hundreds of lives have been lost from the incessant protests between the Oromia tribe and the government of Ethiopia.
The protests have gone far enough that Feyisa Lilesa, an Olympic silver medalist from the Oromo tribe, dared to make a political message with his hands crossed above his head during the 2016 Olympics at Rio.
In the bid to get back at the government, Ethiopian protesters targeted businesses that have links with the government.
According to Al Jazeera, Ethiopia has seen sustained economic growth in recent years and the government has been keen to attract foreign investors, often offering attractive incentives to firms who want to do business there.
On that note the attackers from Oromo and Amhara region set the Esmeralda flower farms, amongst others, ablaze. Esmeralda is a dutch-owned business in Ethiopia.
Flowers are part of the country’s major exports. Esmeralda released a statement that says that about 10 million euro ($11.1 million) investment was lost as a result of the attack.
Flower farms in the area owned by Israeli, Italian, Indian and Belgian companies were among 9 commercial properties that were damaged in the protests.
Report says the protesters out-numbered the Ethiopian soldiers who were forced to flee to save their lives.
Oromia region is an ethnically based region in Ethiopia. The region covers about 284,538 square kilometers. This makes it the largest region in the country. Amhara, is the second most populous group after Oromia.
As at 2007, the Oromo tribe was Ethiopia’s biggest ethnic group, taking up about 25 million out of the nation’s 74 million population. The regional capital until 16 years ago was Addis Ababa. Amidst controversies, it was moved to Adama region.
It will be recalled that these endless Ethiopian protests started with the government’s declaration of its intention to expand of the city capital by the government into the Oromia region.
The inhabitants refuted the proposition with the fear that farmers in the region will bear the brunt. Subsequent protests has seen the arrest of many, deaths and sexual assaults for Oromo women in detention.
In the most recent Ethiopian protests, the Oromo and Amhara are accusing the government of being nepotistic, as they demand from the government, political and economic equality.