Amhara Regional State saddened by what happened in Gende Wuha and Kokit, says head of the region Gedu Andargachew
Days after tragic killings that took away the lives of at least 8 innocent civilians in Genda Wuha and Kokit areas of West Gonder zone, Amhara regional state is demanding an answer for it. As well, more than 18 were wounded.
It was members of the Defense Force who were escorting Sur Construction Company, whom residents in the region seem to see as a facilitator for forces engaged in illegal activity which brought about security problem as they see it, who opened fire on civilians.
Asaminew Tsige, security chief of the region, spoke to Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT) regarding the incident and it is already established that the Defense Force employed heavy weaponry in the conflict which could have been resolved through dialogue, according to authorities in the region. Besides, families who were in their own small traditional cottages and with no role in the conflict were even targeted and became victims.
Gedu Andargachew, president of the regional state, had a press conference today regarding the development in Western Gondar.
He said the regional state is very saddened over that happened. He said “Such an irresponsible measure should not have have happened.” Even if there was a problem, it could have been possible to resolve it through patience and dialogue.
Gedu also told journalists that he is sending a team, along with relevant Federal government bodies, to the crime scene to investigate in detail as to who did what.
“Whatever the reason is”, says Gedu, “in such a conflict there should have been caution to protect innocent civilians. But there are also victims who did not have any role in the conflict,” as reported by Amhara Mass Media Agency (AMMA).
Gedu also said that based on preliminary information, which he said will be analyzed and made public, an irresponsible and wrong measure is taken.
He made it clear; however, that what has happened in those areas can not be linked to the Defense Force as an institution. It could only be linked to those members of the defense force who were in the area and who were involved in the killings. Otherwise, says Gedu, Defense force is working with the regional security forces to resolve security challenges in the region.
Yet, he also said that residents both in Gende Wuha and Kokit should not have entered into conflict with the Defense Force.
Deputy Chief-Of-Staff of the Defense Force does not seem to know, or he is pretending so, that killings of innocent civilians have happened in Gonder. In an interview with VOA Amharic service, he says that no killings of civlians have happened in Gondar.
For many Ethiopians, one of the main question is “who ordered the Defense Force to escort Sur Construction when there are regional security forces that can do the job?” And whether the regional state authorized the Defense Force escort?
While some seem to see the incident in light of political sabotage linked to party politics, regional rivalry and power struggle, others question the efficiency of the Defense Force from the point of view of discipline for fear of involvement in partisan political plots. Still others seem to think about the possibility of corruption within the Defense Force.
In an interview with ESAT, the regional security chief, Asamenew Tsige, seem to espouse the view from the public that the Defense Force is not free from the influences of past practices, seemingly under TPLF administration.
Based on the interview, the regional government seems to agree with the residents regarding suspicious activity of Sur Construction. As such, the demand to search the company’s vehicle before they relocate to a different area was accepted.
The killings have caused outrage among many Ethiopians living in the country and/or abroad.
Amahara region is facing security challenges due to an ongoing fighting between forces who claim to represent Kemant community members and Amhara communities. TPLF was implicated as a main driving force behind the movement of those who claim to be Kemant representatives and Sur Construction was some how suspected of facilitating arms for the group.
Amhara regional state president confirmed today that the region is still experiencing security challenges and the fighting is going on.
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