In a massive crackdown operation carried out across the country, the Ethiopian security forces have arrested more than 4500 people, including journalists, activists and others. The operation has been called a “law enforcement operation”. The crackdown comes after speech by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on May 20 in which he stressed on the need to “protect citizens and ensure the survival of the nation.”
Mass arrests in Amhara region
Security officials said on Monday morning that in north western region of Ethiopia, Amhara alone more than 4500 people have been arrested. Desalegn Tassew, head of peace and security in the Amhara region, said that the arrests were made “to uphold law and order, deal with criminal activities and get rid of outside enemies.”
Rights groups call it an alarming situation
The rights groups and entities have raised concern over the alarming situation in Ethiopia. Tigist Shumye, a sister of prominent Ethiopian journalist Solomon Shumye, said that on May 20 he was arrested from his home by people dressed in civilian clothing. “They were not willing to tell us who they were. They even detained me for two hours, just because I am a sister to a journalist,” she said.
Many media outlets have been calling out the new “tactics” of Ethiopian government to suppress the voice of people – abductions of activists and journalists. The alarming situation in the African country is forcing journalists to leave the country amid intimidation online and offline by both state and non-state entities.
Citing a surge in arbitrary arrests, the Ethiopian Mass Media Professionals Association had in early May called out the government to end targeting journalists. A statement by association said, “Government security forces’ endless assault against the media … might traumatize the industry for the time being, but eventually such practice will cost the government itself.”
The deadly war in Ethiopia’s Tigray region had exposed horror stories of human rights violations and killings. But the violations and arrests are increasing in other parts of the country also, including Amhara and Oromia regions.