12/5/2019
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Ethiopian PM threaten to close universities amid rising violence


Saturday November 16, 2019

As rising manufactured ethnic-based violence in universities continue to claim lives of innocent students, Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed calls relevant bodies to work on restoring order and peace or his government will take measures including closing down universities.

Ethiopia’s Nobel Peace Prize winner Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, is changing his tone of speech after universities in Oromo and Amhara region of Ethiopia experienced another security crisis that claimed the lives of students.

In a meeting organized by the Ministry of Science and Higher education on Friday to discuss the situation in Universities, he emphasized on the roles of regional state heads, zone and city administrations in terms of restoring calm and order in the university communities.

“If universities are not moving in the direction of stability, government could take measures including closing them down,”  said Abiy Ahmed flanked by deputy prime minister Demeke Mekonen and The Minister for Science and Higher education, Hirut W/ Mariam

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University Board Members, regional state presidents, zone administration heads, high level security officials and chief of staff of the Ethiopian Defense Force, among others, have attended the meeting.

The meeting discussed ways of identifying ways of the sources of the violence and ensuring sustainable peace.

Modernizing security apparatus and increasing the number of security personnel to ensure peace and security in the university is one of the measures that the prime minister is suggesting.

Installation of devices to take fingerprints in the entrances of university campuses is another possible solution that he recommended.

His recommendation is informed by the view; it is also shared by many others, that those who instigate violence in the universities are external forces with their own political agenda.

However, he does not spare students either. He said, rightly, that students need to pose and think about the motives of entities who want them move along the path to death. Quality of education in Ethiopian universities has been criticized for many years now. Some observers tend to see lack of critical thinking and crowd mentality as key problems of university students.

Abiy Ahmed has warned that “Government will take legal measure on students who cause damage in university campuses.”

Apart from fostering security controls, building a social bond between students and the local community where the universities are located is another plan of action he suggested to resolve the problem.

Coordinated work between local communities and security forces could also help to take proactive measures, he said.

Violence has become a recurring problem in Ethiopian universities. At least five university students have been killed due to what appears to be ethnic based violence this past week alone.



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