By Staff Reporter
ADDIS ABABA – (BORKENA) – The ban on travelers coming from the Amhara Region to the Ethiopian Capital, Addis Ababa, has been resumed, sources said.
Wazema reported yesterday that the ban, which has been in place for more than a year, was lifted by human rights organizations and public petitions, but now it has been reinstated.
Following the war that broke out between Fano militants and government forces in the Amhara Region, the prohibition was gradually re-imposed, and travelers are now being made to go back to where they came from, Wazema said.
Wazema’s reporter who was at the spot saw that travelers coming from the northern part of the Amhara Region via Debre-Birhan Town were forced not to cross over Sheno Town and made to return to where they came from.
Security forces and armed militias wearing uniforms (which were in use previously by the special force of the Oromia Region) stopped the vehicles and picked out the travelers who produced ID cards of the Amhara Region from among the commuters and forced them to return to where they came from, Wazena said.
Among the people who were not allowed to ride the vehicles to Addis Ababa were seen strolling around Sheno Town while some turned back to the nearest town, Debre-Birhan, using any available means of transport.
Some of the travelers who were compelled to return told Wazema that they had no money to pay for transport back home.
One of the people whose journey was disrupted, a young man from Dessie Town, was traveling to Addis to visit his sick sister residing in the capital. However, the security forces prevented him from crossing over Sheno Town.
Mulu Tesfaw, the other passenger, could not pass the checkpoint in Sheno Town even though he showed his driver’s license and a valid renewed ID Card of Amhara Region.
Meanwhile, Wazema confirmed from its source that the Gojjam-Addis travel route, which had previously been subjected to restrictions, was also closed for travelers coming from different areas of Amhara localities following the outbreak of war in the Region.
Traveling from Addis Ababa to Amhara Region and from various areas of Gojjam to Addis Ababa has become very difficult. The situation seems to be a means of income for others. Individuals who acted as “human traffickers” for high payments have emerged. Amhara natives who were not allowed to pass through checkpoints to hit Addis pay huge amounts of money to arrive in Goha-Tsion or Dejen Town of Gojjam.
According to Article 32 of the Ethiopian Constitution, which stipulates freedom of movement, any Ethiopian within the national territory has the right to movement and freedom to choose his residence, as well as the freedom to leave the country at any time he wishes to.
Human rights organizations such as the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission and the Ethiopian Human Rights Council cited the provisions of the constitution and called on the government to respect the freedom of movement of citizens.
The repeated request forwarded for a reaction to the Communications section of Oromia State Government and the Oromia Police was unsuccessful.
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