Police dismiss allegations that the individuals are arrested because of their ethnic Tigray identity. Hundreds of thousands of ethnic Tigreans live in the capital Addis Ababa.
The Addis Ababa Police on Saturday arrested about 323 individuals in the capital Addis Ababa. They are arrested over alleged support to the rebels in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
Police also claimed that they were engaged in different activities that support what the government calls terrorist TPLF. The Ethiopian Parliament designated TPLF as a terrorist organization in May 2021.
Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation cited Getu Argaw, Addis Ababa Police Commissioner, as saying the individuals are suspected of illegal possession of firearms, “disrespecting the Ethiopian flag,” and the constitution.
They are also suspected of smoking drugs and illegal gambling.
Police claim that it has seized uniforms of TPLF special forces and a range of firearms during authorized searches in their homes.
Businesses that are linked with the suspects are closed down as police are undertaking the investigation.
There has been criticism against the government that the individuals are arrested “because of their ethnicity.” Addis Ababa Police dismisses the allegation.
“They are in custody because they were engaged in criminal activity,” Commissioner Getu said. He also added that there are individuals that are not of ethnic Tigran origin from those arrested.
Over 300,000 ethnic Tigreans live in the capital Addis Ababa. If the arrest was on grounds of ethnic identity, as claimed by some critics who are openly supporting the TPLF, the number of arrests would have been much higher.
This week, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission condemned what it called arbitrary arrest of individuals in the capital Addis Ababa.