By Salem for De Birhan Addis Abeba 3/1/13
A violent ethnic based conflict among Addis Abeba University (AAU) College of Natural Sciences/4 Kilo Campus students that started yesterday afternoon (02-01-2013) 4PM resulted in the damage of properties and injuries of students.
According to De Birhan sources the violent conflict had reportedly started after “unidentified students posted a poster containing a derogatory message on the College’s main Library and two other places about Oromo ethnic students”. The conflict continued until mid night when Oromo ethnic students non violently blocked and banned most students from entering or leaving their dormitories. The tension turned out violent when a student was severely attacked around mid night.
The violent clash that continued until early morning had restarted after it was contained several times by the Federal Police who surrounded the Campus and tried to quell the situation. Several students from the conflicting groups that form along ethnic lines were severely wounded and were taken to Zewditu and Yekatit 12 Hospitals. Windows, doors and other properities of the Univeristy and many students’ dormitories were damaged in the clash that continued until 3AM this morning.
Students that have been suspected to have had direct involvement in the violence are now under Police custody. Although there is Police presence and calamity in the Campus, students are still barred from either leaving or entering the Campus.
Similarly, De Birhan has learnt that there was a fall out between students and the College’s Administration for the past two weeks over grading issues. The College had introduced a new Grading System/scale, which requires students to score more than 95 out of 100 to get an “A”, however students protested the new scale and class representatives had to meet with the College Administration on the matter. Due to disagreement, some representatives had even walked out of the meeting. After tense meeting and talks, the Administration finally agreed to reduce the required score to get an ‘A’ to 85 points out of 100.
The College was founded on March 20, 1950 by Emperor Haile Silassie I who declared the foundation of the University College of Addis Ababa, including the faculties of Arts and Science. At the time there were only 33 students enrolled. At present, over 5000 undergraduate, 3000 extension, over 1000 MSc and 50 PhD students are enrolled in the College. The Faculty today comprises six departments: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Earth Sciences,Mathematics and Statistics and four programs namely Biothechnology, Food Science, Computational Science, Matreials Science and Environmental Science.
The young political analyst Jawar Mohammed had written an analysis of conflicts in Ethiopian public universities and colleges two years ago. We have linked it HERE as it may help readers in giving a deeper, contextual and interpretative explanation of student clashes in the setting of Ethiopian universities.