Decisions came after a meeting with Benishangul and Amhara region authorities
October 16, 2020
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed met on Friday with security officials and administrators from Benishangul Gumuz and Amhara regions of Ethiopia.
Recurring security incidents in Metekel, Benishangul Gumuz region, was the topic the agenda discussed during the meeting, according to information released by the Office of the Prime Minister.
Decisions have been made to reverse the security situation in the region, but the office of the Prime Minister did not disclose them in detail. “Our lengthy discussions examined the challenges for which we have set directions to ensure sustainable peace in the area,” said the brief update from the office of the Prime Minister.
Well over one hundred civilians, mostly ethnic Amhara, were killed in the Metekel Zone since the first week of September 2020. The latest string of attacks, which happened this week, claimed at least 12 lives. Benishangul Gumz authorities framed it as something that has happened due to an escalated brawl between individuals – a story that Amhara region authorities dismissed as incorrect.
The killing was a targeted one, as were the cases in the series of attacks since early September. The identities of the perpetrators is not yet established except in the latest case; reginal authorities said the individual who carried out the attack is detained.
The Federal government of Ethiopia put the region under “Command Post” and members of the defense forces were deployed. However, the attacks were not stopped.
An investigation into the incidents revealed that at least 45 regional authorities were indirectly involved in the attacks by way of facilitating it. These officials had been purged and ten of them are facing criminal offenses, as reported by state media something last month.
Following a fresh attack this week, deputy prime minister Demeke Mekonen, who was part of a fact-finding mission to the region along with the Minister of Peace following the attacks in September, said this week that residents need to arm and defend themselves – a decision which some political observers say is late.
It is unclear if the Prime Minister’s decision on Friday regarding Benishangul has something to do with the option of arming residents to defend themselves.
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