Students Riot at Dilla University

(Mulu G.)

Yesterday, November 17, 2010, rioting students, demanding a search for the body of a drowned student, interrupted classes at Dilla University. According to our reporter, a number of injured students were transported to the town’s hospital. The report also indicated that the rioters demonstrated their anger by breaking glass windows and damaging other university property. Members of the Federal police force are now stationed on the campus following the riot.

A university lecturer told Addis Neger’s reporter that the riot broke out after University administration refused to search for the body of a third year history student named Bizunesh Birhanu. According to students, the river drowning occurred while she was traveling to the new university campus, known as “Semra”, located 20 minutes walking distance away from the main university. The student’s anger mounted when the university failed to save her life or to find her body despite the repeated attempts of lifeguards.

According to the lecturer, the university administration is still searching for her body using local swimmers, but the lifeguards were unable to properly search for the body due to the  local superstition that believes the river, known as “Walleme”, possesses divine power. According to this belief, the river claims one person every year as a sacrifice.

A member of the student council explained to our reporter that the students began a hunger strike and refused to attend classes starting yesterday morning. They demanded that the university administration devote proper attention to the issue. The riot was incited during lunchtime, when students who were not part of the strike tried to have their lunch. The two groups of students started to fight and many were injured as a result.

By mid afternoon afternoon, security officers and members of the federal police members had regained some control over the campus, but the riot took another twist. Uniting together, the two groups of students opposed the intrusion of security forces onto their campus, forcing the police officers to slowly retreat behind the campus gates.

The students continued their strike into the evening, demonstrating their anger with shouts and song. Fully armored police forces were heavily present around the campus of the university. The drowned student, Bizunesh Birhanu, was a student from the Oromia region of “Wollega”.

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6 Responses to “Students Riot at Dilla University”

  1. First and for most I feel sorry for the loss of the student. We ought to pray for her to rest in peace.

    On another note though, our backward attitude towards superstition is literally killing us. Come on! guys this is 21st century. And there is no such stupid thing – One person per year for the divine power. This is absolutely bullshit! And we have to bring a paradigm shift to our society who are still hooked by this archaic believing system .

    For me a life of a person is way beyond one’s ethnicity; as a result, I don’t want to meddle in the ‘race card’ as the author (ANO) wants us to emphasize on it… I must say this though – the officials from the university owe us a press release asap.

    Bizunesh Birhanu – RIP

  2. Ancient Egyptians,Romans and Greeks had myth of gods and godesses. Mythology is offered as academical cources through out many reknowned higher education institutions of the world.

    I think Dilla university might want to do little research about the traditional tales,folklorsand folk tales of its envioron in particular and other traditions at large.

    It is sad that an institution did not have safety and security of its scholars. It is also sad that the administration of the institution was a hurry action to inform the lithal force of the vagabond government to spill the blood of poor students.I still say the university still responsible and accountable for the drawning of the student. The lesson should be learned for the future to bus students to the campus of the university to avoid another unintended and untimely deathe like the one happened.

  3. how can a river possesses a divine power claim to have on person a year? its naive but its obvious the ruling party wish to see more such kind of people ,,,lol

  4. Weyane is the most successful regime to divide the people. Look how the Dilla University students divided with this important issue of the life of a fellow student.The same may happen to another student tomorrow. So it is appropriate to inform the University administration. But instead the University students divided (some rightly demanding a response from the Administration and others wrongly against their fellow classmates.) Why is that? Is the origin of Bizunesh a source of division? Where are heading to? RIP Bizunesh

  5. ANO,
    I am sure some naive readers will fall prey to your motive- politicizing the the sad incident which has nothing to do with politics.

  6. I feel sad for the girl.May God rests her soul in peace. Amen!

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