10,000 prisoners pardoned in restive Ethiopia region

Ethiopia's state broadcaster says 10,000 prisoners have been pardoned in the restive Oromia region. It is not clear whether they were detained under the country's state of emergency.

Broadcaster EBC reported Wednesday that those pardoned include people who are old, have chronic illnesses or have families and children. It says people sentenced for rape, human trafficking and corruption were not included.

Oromia has seen violent anti-government protests that spread to other parts of Ethiopia and led to the state of emergency that was declared in October.

Mualtu Gemechu with the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress says the pardons are welcome but estimates that 60,000 to 70,000 people have been detained in Oromia in recent months. He says prisons are full and some people are now being held at private residences.