Ethiopia deploys federal forces over insecurity; protests, arrests in Oromia

Demonstrators in Gimbi and its environs in W. Wellega.

Demonstrators in Gimbi and its environs in W. Wellega, have demanded an end to the killings of civilians and respect for the rule of law. (Addis Standard)

(Africa News) — The Ethiopian government last Saturday stated that federal forces were being deployed to secure parts of the country rocked by deadly violence.

A statement from the office of the Prime Minister said the move followed a decision by the National Security council. The deployments were specifically to western Ethiopia along the border between Oromia and the Benishangul Gumuz regional states.

“The decision was made based on requests from the two regions to ensure the safety of citizens and enforce the law.

“Tens of thousands have been displaced & more than 100 people, including 11 Oromia police officers, have been killed in the conflict that started more than 2 months ago,” the Oromia region’s OBN network reported.

On the same day, OBN reported that the federal forces had arrested 60 suspects believed to be linked with the incidents.

As at today, the privately-owned Addis Standard news portal said the arrests had reached 200 plus citing Addisu Arega Kitessa, an official of the Oromia region.

Meanwhile, a series of coordinated protests were held across Oromia – the largest and most populous region decrying the fluid state of security.

The protests come barely a week after the ruling party in Oromia, the Oromo Democratic Party, ODP, led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said it was ready to restore durable peace to the rattled region.

Protesters are calling for an end to the killings of civilians and respect for the rule of law. The largely peaceful protests also included members of the regional police force.

Cities and towns where demonstrations took place included Ambo – the heartland of the popular mass protests of few years ago, Metu, Gimbi, Ambo, Holeta, Bako, Jimma and Woliso, local media portals reported.

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