The brutal killing of Aregawi Gebre-Yohannes in Shire, an Arena Tigray and Medrek candidate for Ethiopia's parliament in the May 23 national elections, and charges that another Arena Tigray parliamentary hopeful was beaten by uniformed authorities have chilled the enthusiasm of some opposition candidates.
Both candidates campaigned in a northern region that is the traditional stronghold of the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Party. VOA's Adanech Fessehaye interviewed Arena Tigray chairman Gebru Asrat about this violence, and included a portion of an interview with government spokesman Shimelis Kemal by VOA correspondent Pete Heinlein.
Aregawi died of stab wounds in a bar he owned in the rural western Tigray. Police have arrested suspects and report that Aregawi was stabbed during a fight with a customer over a bar bill. In a separate incident, local merchant and Arena Tigray candidate Ayalew Beyene was beaten two weeks ago by Ethiopian soldiers and regional police.