Displayed with permission from dpa German Press Agency

Addis Ababa (dpa) – Ethiopia has arrested more than 1,500 people under a state of emergency declared nearly two weeks ago to stop anti-government riots, national broadcaster EBC reported.

The command post set up to oversee the state of emergency said most of the arrests were made in restive Oromia region, which includes the capital, Addis Ababa.

« Bandits … are surrendering in great numbers, » the task force said in a statement broadcast late Wednesday. « The command post has continued hunting down the remaining culprits. »

Security forces also recovered hundreds of weapons that had been looted from them, according to the report.

Officials earlier said 1,000 people had been arrested in Sebeta near the capital before the state of emergency.

Oromia, which is home to Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, the Oromo, has seen repeated flare-ups of anti-government protests since late last year.

The latest spate of rioting follows the deaths of more than 50 people in a stampede sparked by police attempts to disperse protesters at an Oromo religious festival on October 2. Demonstrators later attacked factories, vehicles and company premises.

The government subsequently declared a state of emergency on October 8.

Human rights activists accuse the government of brutally repressing protests staged by the Oromo, who feel excluded from political and economic power.

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