Ethiopian federal police were deployed to universities across the country on Tuesday, government said, as authorities attempt to calm ethnic tensions which claimed the lives of seven students in the past three months.
Since taking power in 2018, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed implemented sweeping political reforms that have won him praise but also lifted the lid on long-repressed tensions between Ethiopia’s many ethnic groups.
In October, 86 people were killed and 409 detained during protests against the treatment of a prominent activist.
“We decided to deploy federal police to all 45 public universities in the country because the security situation could not be managed by campus security, some of who are implicated in violent clashes,” Ministry of Science and Higher Education spokesman Dechassa Gurmu said.
He said five campus security guards were arrested for taking part in violent clashes with students.
Dechassa did not know how many officers would be deployed, or for how long.
Last year, ethnic violence forced more than two million people from their homes and killed hundreds, the United Nations and monitoring groups said.
On Tuesday, Abiy collected the Nobel Peace Prize for forging a peace accord ending two decades of hostility with Eritrea.