Residents of the southern Ethiopian city of Hawassa, where there has been tension over the declaration of a new regional state, have reported hearing series of gunshots.
Earlier this week, activists from the Sidama people said they would declare the new state on Thursday, a year to the day after the idea of a referendum on the new state was approved by the authorities.
The referendum, which should have been held within 12 months, has been delayed, but the electoral board said ”it would happen in the next five months.”
That appeared to placate some Sidama activists but it seems that others were not happy.
”In one area of Hawassa, Alamura, security forces have fired tear gas to disperse youths,” witnesses say.
The mobile internet connection has now been shut down.
Youth started gathering in a central meeting place in the morning and witnesses say ”they saw some of them attempting to attack vehicles.”
BBC/ Dominica Nwabufo