May 25, 2022
Ethio-American Development Council (EADC)
Ethio-Canadian Network for Advocacy and Support (ECNAS)
We are compelled to write this letter in light of the recent developments in Ethiopia where, based on published reports, over 4,000 citizens, journalists, and patriots in the Amhara region alone, are being kidnapped and detained by the Ethiopian security forces. This comes at a critical time when the citizenry should be united and strengthened to face the impending offensive from the TPLF terror group.
It is no secret that the TPLF is engaging in yet another massive military mobilization, including by way of forced conscription in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. A Reuters report seems to confirm that the TPLF is indeed engaged in forced conscription, which includes child soldiers, in what appears to be a preparation for a potential new military offensive.
Inside TPLF’s rhetoric of terror are open threats of attacking the sovereign nation of Eritrea and invading the Amhara region of Ethiopia (again) to take control of the greater Welkait corridor; with the aim of gaining an international border with Sudan, by forcing their spurious claim for “Western Tigray”.
The residents of the Amhara and Afar regions of Ethiopia, in particular women and children, have yet to heal from the trauma of rape, torture, mass displacement, mass killing, mass graves, and destruction of infrastructure caused by the TPLF terror group’s five-month brutal occupation of the area.
And as we stand, the people of Amhara, particularly the residents of Raya, Welkait, Tsegede, Tselemt, and Humera, are once again faced with the credible and terrifying threat of yet another invasion by the TPLF. The Federal government of Ethiopia and the Amhara regional government have both issued statements in which they confirmed reports that the TPLF is planning to invade the region again and ordered the security forces to be on standby.
Yet, to our dismay, instead of reassuring the public by strengthening our unity in the effort to defend the war-traumatized Amhara people from the impending TPLF terrorist invasion; the government appears to have shifted focus to mass arrests and persecution of citizens, journalists, critics, Amhara public figures, cultural icons, Fano members, opposition parties and activists; all under the pretext of “law and order.”
Even more perplexing is the government’s use of unconstitutional and illegal tactics of kidnapping and dramatic abductions of citizens, with no regard to the rule of law or the need to maintain public trust. Maintaining public trust and securing peace is the hallmark of a responsible government. The current actions of the Ethiopian government are counterproductive and are effectively making a bad situation even worse.
We understand there are genuine concerns about known troublemakers in certain towns committing crimes masquerading as “Fano” and the government’s effort to root out these hooligans is legitimate. However, the government’s current “law and order” politicizes a legitimate concern and overreaches far beyond its scope to crackdown on opposition parties, government critics, activists and journalists at an alarming massive scale.
The mass abduction of military vetrans, journalists, opposition parties, activists, etc. is not only unconstitutional and illegal but also creates uncertainty and division, with consequences to national security and the stability of the greater Horn of Africa. This is a poor practice often seen in dictatorships, rather than the responsible and accountable behavior of an elected government.
It must be clearly understood that it is widely accepted by the Ethiopian public that ‘Fano’ is made up of ordinary citizens from different sectors of society who come together in times of crisis to defend the nation from invaders and return to their ordinary life during times of peace. Historical facts support this; as this was the traditional method Ethiopian patriots and martyrs of all cultural backgrounds defended the nation from European Colonialism.
Current history also supports this, as not too long ago, the federal government thanked and honored the Fano patriots for their fight and sacrifice to defeat the TPLF’s march towards Addis Ababa, in what appeared to have been a western-backed regime-change operation to re-install a puppet regime in Ethiopia.
The war-traumatized Amhara people, who are facing yet another round of atrocities, look up to the Fano as heroes and defenders of the people who will protect them from a repeat of the 2021 atrocities by the TPLF. Fanos are ordinary citizens who lined up with the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) to liberate the people from the brutal TPLF occupation.
As a result, the current witch-hunt against prominent Fano members and leaders is being perceived by the masses as a betrayal of the people by the Amhara Region administrators and the Federal Government of Ethiopia. This is a critical time in history when the government must earn the people’s trust and unify the country. Therefore, we demand the immediate release of all detained patriots and due process for all citizens in custody.
It must also be clearly understood that the Amhara people and the Fano patriots are at the forefront of the fight to save Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa from the TPLF and their neocolonial sponsors who wish to disintegrate the region into chaos to create a new order for the Horn of Africa.
We hope that no negotiations or backroom deals have been made with the TPLF to appease the west or their biased institutions against the interest of the people of Ethiopia, Eritrea, and the greater Horn. It must also be clearly understood that any arrangements made that would adversely affect the state of the Welkait corridor, home to the indigenous Amhara people for millennia, is rightfully considered as an issue of national security not only for Ethiopia but for Eritrea and the greater Horn of Africa.
As civic organizations dedicated to advocating for Ethiopia and the Ethiopian people globally, we firmly believe that these arbitrary mass arrests are grave violations of human rights and undermine the progress toward a free, fair, and democratic society.
Further, these actions of the government are creating distrust, disunity, and weakness in our communities at home and globally.
Therefore, we kindly request that the government reverses its course.
Ethio-American Development Council (EADC) – United States
Ethio-Canadian Network for Advocacy and Support (ECNAS) – Canada
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