Ethiopia: Rights Commission Says Civilians Killed in Ongoing Military Conflict in Amhara Region, Calls for Dialogue
Addis Abeba — Local people in Debre Sina town, North Shew zone of Amahara region, blocked access road in an attempt to impeded the national defense forces’ activities in the area. Photo: Social media
The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said it is “closely monitoring” the ongoing “law enforcement campaign” in some areas of the Amhara regional state and its implications and effects on human rights.
The rights commission also confirmed the presence of militarized conflict in parts of North Gonder, North Wollo and North Shewa zones of the regional state, and said that there are exchanges of fire and the presence of attacks supported by heavy weapons involving the federal the defense forces and local armed groups in the Shoa Robit area of North Shewa zone, in Armania, Antsoqia, Gemza and Majete localities. “As a result, it has been confirmed that there have been deaths, physical and property damage to civilians, and that the road from Desse to Addis Abeba has been closed at various times,” EHRC said.
Furthermore, the Commission said that it has learned some members of opposition political parties in the region, some youths who allegedly led/coordinated protest demonstrations against the decision to restructure the regional special forces, and some people suspected of having links with the informal Fano group have been detained.
“Recognizing that further conflicts in any part of the country will result in grave/serious violations of human rights, all concerned parties should resolve the problem through peaceful means and dialogue, refrain from actions and speeches that aggravate the conflict, and ensure accountability for all the damages caused”, EHRC said, adding that detentions in case should also be based on the law; it especially called on on the government to ensure respect for human rights on “strict necessity, proportionality and non-discrimination” principles.
This week, the Amhara regional state government has accused the ‘Fano’ armed group commonly known as ‘Misrak Amhara Fano’ for the killing of Girma Yeshitila, head of the Amhara Prosperity Party and member of the party’s executive committee, who was shot dead on 27 April.
It also admitted that there has been armed confrontations between the Fano armed group and members of the national defense forces in parts of the region, and vowed that the government would “continue in its law enforcement operations” in the region.
The ongoing militarized conflict in the region came in the wake of the announcement by the Ethiopian Joint Security and Intelligence Task Force last week that it had started “taking decisive measures” against “extremist forces” that it accused of “trying to take control of regional state power by destroying the constitutional system in the Amhara regional state.” AS