By Aaron Maasho
ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Unidentified gunmen killed the manager of a plant owned by Nigeria’s Dangote Industries Limited in Ethiopia on Wednesday after he was attacked in the restive Oromiya region while returning to the capital from the factory, officials said.
Oromiya, which surrounds the capital Addis Ababa, was plagued by violence for over two years, largely fuelled by a sense of political and economic marginalisation among its young population.
Hundreds died in the violence that was triggered in 2015 by demonstrations over land rights, before they broadened into rallies over freedoms that spread to other regions.
“The company’s director died following an attack by unknown gunmen that took place while he was returning to Addis Ababa from the factory alongside two company employees,” a government statement said.
“Security forces are currently pursuing the assailants,” it added. The statement called on residents in the area to help gather details.
Representatives of the company in Nigeria were not immediately available for comment.
It was not immediately clear whether it was the company’s country representative or the plant manager who died in the attack.
During the unrest, some vehicles belonging to the firm were torched by protesters.
Company heads have been in discussions with the region’s authorities to boost employment opportunities.
The plant – Ethiopia’s largest cement producer – was inaugurated in May 2015.
The country remains under a state of emergency imposed in February, a day after prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn resigned. Former army officer Abiy Ahmed has since replaced him.
Since taking over amid the unrest that threatened the ruling coalition’s tight grip, Abiy has vowed “a new political beginning” including more democratic rights.
Thousands have been released since January, including journalists and dissidents who have been jailed for a variety of charges including terrorism.
(Editing by Mark Potter)