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Ethiopian opposition says candidate murdered - Yahoo! News

Ethiopian opposition says candidate murdered - Yahoo! News: "ADDIS ABABA (AFP) – An Ethiopian opposition candidate was 'butchered to death' for his political activities ahead of elections scheduled for May, an opposition official said Wednesday.

'Six men attacked Aregawi Gebrehannes at his bar in Shire (north Ethiopia) at around 3:00 am on Tuesday,' Gebru Asrat of the coalition Forum for Democratic Dialogue in Ethiopia (Medrek, main opposition movement), told AFP.

The candidate, who had claimed repeated harassment this year, was vying for a place in parliament for a constituency in Tigray, a stronghold of the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) coalition.

'They butchered him to death, his body was found cut into pieces,' added Gebru, who was an ally of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi before falling out with him in 2001.

He claimed the assailants were 'mercenaries' linked to the ruling party.

The group said another candidate was 'badly beaten' for his political activities in the region on the same day.

Government spokesman Shimeles Kemal confirmed the incidents, but denied any ruling party involvement.

'Both incidents had nothing to do with the government. These were isolated mishaps and we very much regret that they had to happen,' he told AFP."

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