Ethiopia arrests regional boss accused of rights abuse

Human rights violations are being arrested in EthiopiaThe police in Ethiopia arrested the disgraced former head of the eastern Somali region on charges of human rights violations and ethnic clashes, according to the attorney general's office.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, president of democratic reforms in the African nation of 100 million, said Saturday violations of rights committed in the region "tolerated faith" and included torture, rape and murder.

The administrator of the region, Abdi Mohammed Omer, had to resign on 6 August after the violence erupted in the provincial capital Jijiga.

At least 20 people died and thousands fled while rogue companies plundered property of ethnic minorities and burned down several Ethiopian Orthodox churches.

Central authorities said the unrest in the region was caused by local officials who were afraid of arrest for charges for human rights violations.

On Monday, the federal police arrested Abdi Mohammed Omer at his home in Addis Ababa, said Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation, citing the federal attorney general's office.

"Crimes that he committed include violations of human rights and the incitement of disputes along ethnic and religious lines," he said, as other officers were sought by the police.

Rights groups routinely accuse Abdi of abuses such as torture, while some witnesses claimed that he had paramilitary raids on civilians in Oromiya province after ethnic clashes there in September last year.

The government dismissed high regional prison officials last month for accusations of torture. Abiy on Saturday described cases where prisoners were placed in cells with lions, hyena's and leopards to force them to confess.

The region has been plagued by violence over the last three decades, with the government fought against the secessionist Ogaden National Liberation Front before the group signed a unilateral cease-fire after reforms.

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