Ethiopia government has accused elements in Eritrea, Egypt and other countries on Monday of arming, training and funding groups that it blames for a wave of protests and violence in regions around its capital Addis Ababa.
The government had on Sunday declared a state of emergency after more than a year of unrest in Oromiya and Amhara regions, where protesters say the government has trampled on their rights in pursuit of industrial development.
Rights groups say more than 500 people have died in clashes with police and other confrontations. The violence has damaged around a dozen factories and equipment mostly belonging to foreign firms, accused by protesters of purchasing leases for seized land.
There are countries which are directly involved in arming, financing and training these elements.
Government spokesman Getachew Reda said, “there are countries which are directly involved in arming, financing and training these elements”.
He named Eritrea, which has a long-running border dispute with Ethiopia, and Egypt, involved in a row with Addis Ababa opver sharing Nile waters, as backing the “armed gangs.”
“We have to be very careful not to necessarily blame one government or another. There are all kinds of elements in the Egyptian political establishment which may or may not necessarily be directly linked with the Egyptian government,” he said.
However, Egypt has dismissed previous accusations that it was meddling in Ethiopian affairs. “Egypt firmly respects the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries,” a Foreign Ministry statement said last week.