Over 1,100 people have been detained under Ethiopia’s February 16 State of Emergency, authorities in the country have disclosed. A total of 1,107 detainees are currently being held across six different zones classified under the marshal law.
The inquiry board, led by MP Tadesse Hordofa, said over 1000 men and twenty women make up the figure. The board is tasked to investigate the actions of the command post administering the State Of Emergency.
Activists and local media portals have severally reported arrests by the authorities. People who criticized the measure were among those being held. Although a full list has yet to be provided, the reasons for the detentions ranged from deadly violence to the obstruction of social activities.
Ethiopia says more than 1000 men + 20 women have been arrested since a state of emergency was declared last month. Reasons given vary from killing to blocking roads. Lots of hope in Ethiopia that a new Prime Minister will mean political reform + stability.— will ross (@willintune) March 31, 2018
The most publicized arrest by the Command Post has been that of recently released journalists and politicians in the capital of Amhara Regional State, Bahir Dar.
The February 24 arrests took place during a gathering reportedly to honour the ex-detainees. A lawyer for a number of them said they had been arrested on two main issues.
The display of a banned national flag which is punishable by law and the failure to get appropriate clearance for the gathering. Among the arrested group are award-winning journalist Eskinder Nega, who had been in detention since 2011 for publications critical of government.
Aside Nega, others picked up during the gathering were, Andualem Aragie, leader of Ethiopian opposition UDJ party, journalist Temesgen Desalegn and bloggers Befeqadu Hailu and Zelalem Workagegnehu.
The multiple-award winning Nega who was jailed in 2011 on terrorism charges is on record to have said he was ready to return to jail if the democracy was not respected.
The country is set to swear in a new Prime Minister on Monday. Abiy Ahmed, 41, from the protest-hit Oromia region takes over at a time of political volatility with the bulk of the protests from his region. He is the first ethnic Oromo to lead the ruling coalition, EPRDF.
Abiy, a former military man and minister will be tasked with leading political reforms announced in January 2018 by the coalition. He takes over from Hailemariam Desalegn who resigned to enable reforms to be pursued.
#Ethiopia – Opposition politician #AndualemAragie, journalist #EskendirNega and blogger & rights activist Befekadu Hailu (— Addis Standard (addisstandard) March 31, 2018
befeqe) as pictured this afternoon by visiting friends. They are among 11 individuals detained Sunday March 25. taking pics is often prohibited. #SoE pic.twitter.com/nkwF5Pvf3W