Ethiopia ex-official pleads not guilty to fomenting ethnic violence

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ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – A former Ethiopian administrator pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to charges of instigating ethnic violence in an eastern region, where a government investigation found authorities presided over a litany of crimes including beheadings, torture, and mass rape.

Abdi Mohammed Omer, who spent more than a decade in charge of gas-rich eastern Somali province, is among 47 officials from the region accused of stoking violence that killed 58 people and injured over 260 in the provincial capital Jijiga in August.

Last week, Abdi and five other officials were charged with “direct or indirect involvement” in instigating ethnic Somalis to take up arms against non-Somalis. The remaining suspects remain at large.

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