ADDIS ABABA, July 12 (Xinhua) -- Clashes in Ethiopia's Southern regional state have left at least four people dead, an Ethiopian official said on Thursday.
Tsegaye Bizuene, Chief Administrator of Yem special district in Southern regional state, said the deadly clashes were ignited by disputes over a land set aside for Islamic teaching center, reported state media outlet Ethiopia News Agency.
Bizuene said sections of the local Muslim community which had complained that the proposed plot of land was too small engaged on Wednesday afternoon in road blocks and arson prompting clashes with security forces that left four people dead.
He further said security forces from Southern regional state and the federal government have re-opened closed roads and are patrolling the area to prevent recurrence of the violence.
Ethiopia is a heavily religious country with about 98 percent of the East African country's estimated 100 million population professing to follow a religion.
Muslims make up about 33 percent of the population and are generally well integrated into the wider Ethiopian society, although in recent years the Ethiopian government has warned of a danger of rise in extremism among a section of the Muslim community.