Ethiopia: Christians and Muslims Fight, Five DeadFresh from an overwhelming victory in Somalia, the Religion of Peace begins to bring its peace into adjacent Ethiopia: Five people die in Muslim-Christian clashes in western EthiopiaThe clash happened near Dembi, about 440 kilometers west of the capital, Addis Ababa, where at least eight people died when Muslims and Christians fought on Sept. 26 over an Ethiopian Orthodox Church festival. Five people died in clashes over the weekend in a western Ethiopian region that has seen clashes between Muslims and Christians, a police spokesman said Monday.The clash happened near Dembi, about 440 kilometers (273 miles) west of the capital, Addis Ababa, where at least eight people died when Muslims and Christians fought on Sept. 26 over an Ethiopian Orthodox Church festival.[...]October 5, 2006Ethiopia: Muslims Fight With Christians - Five DeadNews from Associated Press via International Herald Tribune and Nazret, from EITB 24 and from Reuters AlertNet states that in the west of Ethiopia, five people were killed after fighting broke out between Muslims and Orthodox Christians.The violence happened on Sunday (October 1) at Dembi, a town northwest of Jimma, in Oromia province, some 215 miles west of Addis Ababa, the capital. A police official said by phone: "Four people were killed and many others were injured in clashes after Muslims in the region objected to Meskel celebrations by followers of the Christian Orthodox Church."The Meskel Festival is a commemoration of the finding of the "True Cross" upon which Christ was crucified, apparently 1,600 years ago. In this festival, which takes place in September, yellow Meskel daisies are placed on bonfires and set alight. The daisies are cross-shaped and appear at the end of the rainy season. The cross was said to have been found by the Bezantain Queen Helen.Reuters states that there have been reports that two Christian churches have been set alight, though this cannot be confirmed.The police official said: "The incident which developed into sectarian violence was instigated by an individual as followers of the Christian church were preparing to set up a bonfire to celebrate Meskel holiday." He said that several people, thought to have taken part in the violence, were arrested.Federal Police spokesman Demsash Hailu confirmed that five people in all had been killed. He would not commit himself to saying the conflict in Dembi was religiously motivated. The figure for people who were wounded in the clashes is not known.According to Elias Redman, vice president of the Ethiopian Islamic Affairs Supreme Council, most Muslims in Dembi are extremists - they follow conservative Sunni Islam, in the form of Wahhabism or Salafism. Representatives of the Council were today sent to Dembi to investigate the circumstances of the conflict.There are 77 million people in Ethiopia, with the population fairly equally divided between Orthodox Christian and Muslims. Traditionally the two communities are said to co-exist peacefully. five dead
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