Gambella police arrest 14 officials, a civilian linked to ‘security breaches’ in Jor and Itang districts

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Addis Ababa – The Gambella Police Commission has announced the arrest of 14 officials and one civilian for their alleged involvement in security breaches in the Jor and Itang special districts of the Gambella region.

In a statement released on SundayRegional Police Commissioner Umod Umod said that several officials were apprehended for their alleged involvement in incidents on 04 April that resulted in casualties and property damage in Jor district.

Among those arrested were two senior zone administrators and five district officials, who are accused of playing a role in the security situation in Jor district, the commissioner disclosed.

Additionally, seven officials from Itang district have been arrested for “preventing wanted suspects from being brought to justice,” Commissioner Umod explained, adding that proper investigations are underway.

Umod also mentioned that an individual attempting to “incite clashes between ethnic groups” in various forums in Gambella city has been arrested along with the officials.

The arrest of 14 officials came a week after the Gambella regional government announcement of the removal of three heads of regional bureaus and one zonal administration leader, citing their inability to “adequately fulfill the responsibilities assigned to them by the government and party,” particularly amid the region’s intensifying security turbines.

The Gambella regional government secretariat office stated that these dismissals were prompted by a series of security incidents in the region. On March 29, 2024, the regional government issued a statement indicating its intention to take “decisive action” against any individuals attempting to seize power within the region through coercive means.

Addis Standard has consistently documented the violence and instability arising from numerous attacks carried out by armed groups in the region, including the recent armed assault on a bus traveling from Gambella city to Lare district in the Nuer Zone two weeks ago, which resulted in three deaths and several injuries.

In May 2023, disturbances in Itang special district and Gambella City resulted in nine fatalities and 17 injuries. Additionally, in July 2023, an armed attack on two public buses near Gambella City resulted in three fatalities and 23 injuries.

A recent report from the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) revealed that from May 2023 onwards, conflicts between communities and assaults on refugees within Ethiopia’s Gambella region have led to 138 fatalities and 113 injuries. A.S.

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