By Dipo Olowookere
More than 150 persons have been confirmed dead in a stampede that occurred in Ethiopia over the weekend.
The unfortunate incident occurred during the annual Irreecha religious and cultural celebration in the Bishoftu town in Ethiopia’s Oromia region on Sunday, October 2, 2016.
The incident happed when security forces fired tear gas and live ammunition at a crowd of over a million people celebrating a religious occasion.
Irreecha is an annual holiday for giving thanks, celebrated by the Oromo people, Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group.
However, eyewitnesses say that the total number of deaths on October 2 may exceed 300.
Meanwhile, Freedom House has urged the government of Ethiopia to probe the deadly stampede and bring those involved to book.
The organisation’s message was relayed by the Director for Africa programmes, Vukasin Petrovic, in a statement issued on Monday.
“The government of Ethiopia should allow a truly independent body to investigate the tragedy at Bishoftu as well as security forces’ well-documented record of using excessive force against peaceful gatherings,” Freedom House said.