Ethiopia’s House of People’s Representative ( the parliament) is meeting this Friday to extend the state of emergency imposed in the Amhara region of Ethiopia.
Wazema Radio cited members of parliament, whose names are unspecified, to report that the first agenda of the special meeting is to extend the state of emergency in the Amhara region. It was in August 2023 that Abiy Ahmed’s administration imposed a state of emergency in the region for six months under the guise of “restoring law and order in the region” by disarming Fano forces.
The state of emergency was followed by an official full-fledged military campaign in the region involving mechanized contingents, infantry, and the Air Force. Initially, the move was to quell the Fano armed movement – which at the time controlled over 50 towns in the region – within a few weeks. As it turns out the Fano movement proved to be too strong and the government has reportedly lost a significant number of troops in the region. It was reported that the situation frustrated the defense force to the point that it retaliated against unarmed civilians in the region. Human Rights organizations in Ethiopia and abroad have reported confirmed extrajudicial executions and drone strikes against civilians.
Emerging reports from the region seem to suggest that Fano forces are even growing stronger. This week the movement announced that it is forming commands in different areas of the region to come up with a single command structure. So far guerilla-like warfare against government troops has been waged in the form of isolated commands in the four areas of the region: Gojjam, Gondar, Shoa and Wollo. The movement that started with the goal of reversing what it called existential threats against Amhara is now demanding the removal of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
When the Ethiopian Parliament was moving to impose the state of emergency about six months ago, Gedu Andargachew, former president of the Amhara region, Foreign Affairs Minister, and Security advisor to the Prime Minister expressed his opposition to the parliament. He said the situation in the Amhara region could only be resolved by political dialogue and that the military situation will aggravate the situation. Gedu Adnargachew is said to have been under house arrest since then.
Yesterday, the Ethiopian government arrested Dessalegn Chane, a member of parliament from the National Movement of Amhara, after he submitted a question opposing the extension of the state of emergency – as reported by local sources. He was one of the opposition party members of parliament who was calling for the resignation of the prime minister over failure to restore peace and order in the country. Christian Tadele, another staunch critic of the Ethiopian Prime Minister in the parliament and who was also chair of the parliamentary audit standing committee, was arrested in August 2023 under circumstances whereby his parliamentary immunity was not lifted.