Ethiopian opposition leader Abraha Desta attacked

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Ethiopian opposition leader Abraha Desta was attacked, thrown to the ground and robbed of his cell phone and wallet, his party announced. Abraha Desta, a leader of the Tigray based Arena party, was walking home on Saturday night in Mekele town around Abraha Atsebeha hotel when three unidentified persons came from behind, and strangled him with a rope around his neck, according to the party’s spokesperson Amdom Gebreselassie. Amdom said the assailants tried to drag Abraha into a dark corner but was stopped by people who were around. His cell phone and wallet was robbed. Abraha had to be hospitalized and he suffered rope burns and bruising to the neck, according to the spokesperson.
Arena party said this was not an isolated incident but part of a widening campaign of repression by the state. Amdom cited other members who were victims in the past, such as Aregawi Gebre-Yohannes who was killed in the town of Shire in 2010, Tadesse Abrha strangled to death in Humera town, Zinabu Hailu murdered in Tsilalo town, and the Central Committee member of Arena Lijalem Kalayu killed in Addis Abeba on 2015. Amdom accused the police of doing nothing to stop the violence and of having helped plan the attack.
Gebremichael Meles spokesperson of the Tigray region told the VOA they were investigating the attack, but had so far made no arrests.
State media and the regime politicians have repeatedly cast the opposition as a foreign-funded fifth column intent on sabotaging the country.

Arefayné Fantahun
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