Amahara National Movement urges Defense Force to come clean

A day after Defense Force issued statement over the killings in Gonder, Amhara National Movement leadership issued its own statement and is calling for members of the Defense Force who are involved in the killings in any way to appear before law.

Amhara National Movement
ANM leadership
(DW Amharic)

January 12,2019

Amhara National Movement (NaMA), an ethnic Amhara party founded in June 2018, has issued a statement today regarding the killings in Gondar which happened last Sunday in Kokit and Genda Wuha.

According to ANM statement, The Defense Force killed 10 Amharas and wounded over 25 in the towns mentioned about. The victims are peaceful civilians and weaponry that are meant to be for conventional war are used for the killings, the statement added.

Noting what it called institutionalized anti-Amhara policy pursued in the past 27 years which mainly took a form of propagating narratives that paint Amhara as an “oppressor” to instigate other Ethiopians against Amhara, and the statement linked the policy to Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). It also claims that some institutions are still not free from anti-Amhara teachings albeit TPLF is defeated and now restricted to Mekele.

“While the Defense Force has the legal right to be deployed in any party of the border area to defend the country,” continued the statement, “it is not expected to play the role of police and substitute regular security apparatus.”

NaMA called Defense Force’s escort and involvement in conflict with the locals in Kokit and Genda Wuha illegal intervention. The reason is that it was not invited by the regional government and the situation in the region did not require the involvement of the Defense Force for it could have been controlled by regular security forces, says ANM.

Regarding existing sentiments and feelings after the incident, as reflected in today’s statement, “What the Defense Force did coupled with involvement during controversy created by bandit self-proclaimed Kemant Committee, has disenchanted our people leading to loss of confidence in the Defense Force.”

Worse, says NaMA, the claim by the Defense Force that shots were fired to the air is “more painful to our people” than to the tragedy itself.

In the end, the organization demanded

1) The Prime Minister, the Defense Minister and the Chief of Staff to clarify the issue
2) The Defense Force to apologize for the killings, and pay financial reparation for the families of the victims
3) Those who took part in the crime and those who tried to cover up the crime to appear before law
4) The Defense Force to refrain from indulging in regular law enforcement and security affairs with out a request by government authorities. Defense Force should never be in the business of guarding private properties of individuals
5) For the Defense Force to free itself from anti-Amhara indoctrination

The Defense Force deputy chief of staff said yesterday that his organization has decided to investigate the killings.

NaMA also talked about its recent negotiation to work with Amhara Democratic Party (ADP). However, the movement underscored that the development does not represent unity with ADP but strategic alliance.
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