An Ethiopian man has died from his injuries after he set himself on fire in a protest against the government following mass arrests of youths from his local area.
Residents of Dawro area in south west Ethiopia said 29-year-old school teacher Yenesew Gebre poured flammable petroleum distillate Benzine on his body in front of the local government building in Waka town on November 11, dying three days later in hospital.
“I want to show to all that death is preferable than a life without justice and liberty,” he is reported to have said before setting himself alight.
After the incident, authorities reportedly switched off the telephone network in the area and restricted residents’ movement.
Mr Yenesew was a vocal activist known for his role in seeking justice and freedom for his community.
Mr Zelalem Tessema, a coordinator of a UK-based campaign group told the BBC World Service that the incident is a clear indication of the deteriorating human rights situation in tightly-controlled Ethiopia.
Another local resident (name withheld on request) who escaped from the area told this reporter by telephone that Mr Yenesew was in dispute with local authorities against the recent mass arrest of young people in Waka.
Local authorities reportedly arrested 12 young people accused of protesting against the administration.