Ethiopia launches crackdown on journalists and staff

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Nairobi, Kenya – Ethiopian security officials are conducting a nationwide crackdown that has led to the arrest of more than 4,500 people in one region alone. On May 20, Prime Minister Abi Ahmed’s administration called for a crackdown on journalists, activists, and others, calling for the “protection of citizens and ensuring the survival of the nation.”

On Monday morning, security officials in the northwestern Amhara region announced the arrest of more than 4,500 people. The head of peace and security in the region, Desalegan Taseu, told state media that “arrests have been made to maintain law and order, deal with criminal activity and get rid of external enemies.”

Human rights groups have expressed concern. Shujie, the sister of prominent Ethiopian journalist Solomon Shumei, told The Associated Press that she was arrested at her home on May 20 by men dressed in civilian clothes. “They did not want to tell us who they were. They even detained me for two hours because I was a journalist’s sister, “he said.

Some political parties and media outlets in the country have been accusing the Ethiopian government of conducting “kidnappings”, a practice some activists call a new strategy. Some Amhara activists claim that the Fano armed group that was involved in the atrocities in the country’s Tigris war is also a target.

Some journalists are leaving the country amid threats and intimidation from government and non-state actors, both online and offline. Recently, Ethiopian authorities revoked the license of a journalist recognized for working for The Economist.

Earlier in May, the Ethiopian Media Professionals Association called on the government to end the imprisonment of journalists, citing a growing trend of arbitrary arrests. “The relentless onslaught of government security forces against the media … may hit the industry for the time being, but in the end such exercises will have to be borne by the government,” it said in a statement.

Ethiopia’s deadly fighting has subsided in recent months after the government declared a humanitarian ceasefire and the Tigers accepted it. But reports of killings, human rights abuses and mass arrests are being made in various parts of the country, especially in Oromia and Amhara.

On May 20, the US State Department announced that its counter-terrorism and counter-terrorism delegation would travel to The Hague on May 22-25 to “hold high-level discussions with allies and partners on our response to the atrocities in Ukraine, Burma, Ethiopia, and other areas of violence.” Face to face. “

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