Beijing’s embassy in Addis Ababa announced on Tuesday that a Chinese national had been killed in the unrest-plagued Oromia region of Ethiopia and advised its citizens to leave danger zones.
According to a statement from the embassy, nine Chinese citizens were attacked on Monday night in Gebre Guracha, around 160 kilometres north of the city.
“Unfortunately, one of them was shot and died,” it said, giving no further information about the incident or the Chinese nationals.
After two years of deadly conflict, the northern Tigray region has generally experienced a return to quiet. However, fighting has continued elsewhere in Oromia, Ethiopia’s largest and most populous region, which has been plagued by a protracted insurgency.
The Oromo, the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia, have long complained of exclusion. This mounting discontent has been used by the rebel Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) to boost its ranks in its protracted conflict with federal and local forces.
However, there are also several ethnic conflicts in the area, particularly those between the second-largest ethnic group in the nation, the Amhara, and the Oromo.
China claimed on Tuesday that Oromia and neighboring regions were plagued by “pernicious occurrences of armed attacks, kidnappings, and robberies.”
It urged its inhabitants to flee conflict-ridden areas and increase their awareness of personal safety.
“If you are already in a high-risk area, you should evacuate to a safe area immediately,” it said.
The violence in Oromia has received much less international attention than the conflict in Tigray, but it nevertheless poses a threat to the stability of the continent’s second-most populous country.
In a phone chat with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed this month, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed worry about the situation in Oromia.
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