Addis Ababa - More than 400 people have been killed in Ethiopia since November in a crackdown on anti-government protests, Human Rights Watch said on Thursday, but the government immediately dismissed the claims.
"Tens of thousands" more were also arrested by security forces in "widespread protests in the Oromia region since November 2015," the US-based HRW said.
The protests were sparked by plans to expand the capital into outlying farmland.
The report, titled "Such a Brutal Crackdown", was based on over 125 interviews with protestors and those caught up in the violence.
It spoke of the "government's use of excessive and unnecessary lethal force and mass arrests, mistreatment in detention, and restrictions on access to information to quash the protest movement."
The demonstrations were triggered by a government plan to expand the boundaries of Addis Ababa into Oromia. The project was dropped on January 12 but protests continued for weeks.
But government spokesperson Getachew Reda dismissed the report, saying that HRW, "is very generous with numbers when it comes to Ethiopia" and attributed any violence on the part of security forces to "bad apples".
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