Abiy Ahmed’s government claims the release of Sebhat Nega and Jawar Mohammed important for Ethiopian Unity
The Ethiopian government on Friday announced that it has released Sebhat Nega, founder and political ideologue of Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). The news comes as a shock to many Ethiopians, given the sacrifices paid to capture him and a few other key TPLF leaders in a military operation carried out in Tigray in January 2021.
The decision came just a day after the U.S. special envoy to the Horn of Africa, Jeffry Feltman, arrived in Addis Ababa to hold talks with senior government officials.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government justified the decision to release arrested radical ethnic nationalist political leaders as a “measure that is in the interest of durable multiethnic unity of Ethiopia.”
There had been rumours that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government was in negotiation with the TPLF, a group that triggered the devastating war in Ethiopia when it attacked the northern command of the Ethiopian Defence Force. However, the government has been denying that there would be no negotiation, whatsoever, with the TPLF forces.
This week, TPLF leader, Debretsion Gebremichael, appeared on CNN saying that the war has to be concluded peacefully and that his party is ready for it. His party has also been claiming that it withdrew from the parts of Afar and Amhara region of Ethiopia with the aim to pave the way for a political solution to the conflict.
Other key TPLF leaders who are arrested along with Sebhat Nega are released too. Kedusan Nega ,his sister, Abay Woldu (former TPLF chairman and president of Tigray region) and Abadi Zemu (TPLF central committee member) are among TPLF leaders released on Friday.
Jawar Mohammed and Bekele Gerba
From the radical ethnic Oromo nationalist politicians, the government has released Jawar Mohammed and Bekele Gerba who were indicted in inciting violence that targeted civilians, mostly ethnic Amhara, soon after the assassination of Hachalu Hundessa in June 2020.
Hundreds of civilians were killed and properties worth tens of billions of birr were destroyed.
Eskinder Nega, leader of the Baladera For True Democracy party, is also released. Many of his supporters, and a considerable number of other Ethiopians too, believe that Eskinder was arrested to make Jawar’s arrest acceptable for Jawar’s support base which is in the Oromo region of Ethiopia.
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