February 3, 2006
Ethiopia has denied a report that it has detained thousands of students from the Oromo ethnic group in a crackdown on anti-government protests.
In an interview with VOA correspondent James Butty, Ethiopia's Information Minister Birhan Hallu called Wednesday's report from Amnesty International "very much exaggerated."
Without giving an exact figure, he said the number of Oromo students detained is small and that they were arrested for trying to instigate violence on school campuses.
Amnesty said Ethiopian authorities have arrested several thousand Oromo students over the past three months. It said the arrests began during November protests against alleged government fraud in the May general elections.
Ethiopia has experienced periodic civil unrest since the elections. But the information minister said the situation inside the country is stable.