The Africa Report Tuesday, 23 October 2012 14:43
By: Tinishu Solomon
The Muslim election in Ethiopia was marred by violence with two protesters reported to have been killed on Sunday.
The incident occurred in the town of Gerba in the Amhara regional state of Ethiopia.
Sources say that other civilians were also injured during the clash, and there are unconfirmed reports of the death of one federal police in the clash.
Muslims across the country were electing a new council.
Ethiopian police declined to give details on the incident, saying police were investigating the incident in Gerba town.
The run up to the elections has also been characterised by widespread protests by the Muslim community in the past few months.
Protesters accused the government of interfering in religious affairs, a charge which has been denied.
Following the protests, dozens of Muslims were jailed.
The government accuses protesters of using religion as a cover for their political agenda.
Ethiopia’s newly elected Prime Minister, Haile Mariam Desalegn, in a recent address to parliament, threatened to take measures against any extremism, which he said was cloaked under religious mantra.
In July 2012 police arrested 71 Muslim and released many of them but dozens are still in jail, awaiting trial.
Ethiopian Muslims are estimated to make up 35 percent of the country’s more than 80 million dominantly-Christian population.