Ethiopia Extends State of Emergency Amidst Amhara Insurgency

Friday February 02, 2024 - 19:20:41
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Staff Reporter
FILE PHOTO: A general view shows a bridge constructed across a dried up river in Ethiopia's northern Amhara region.
FILE PHOTO: A general view shows a bridge constructed across a dried up river in Ethiopia's northern Amhara region.
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (diplomat.so) - Ethiopia's parliament voted on Friday to extend the state of emergency in response to the ongoing insurgency in the northern Amhara region, granting an additional four months to the measures initially declared in August. The conflict in Amhara, marked by clashes between federal forces and the local militia called Fano, has led to hundreds of deaths and sparked allegations of widespread human rights abuses.
The state of emergency, which empowers the government to enforce curfews, restrict movement, and prohibit public gatherings, was deemed necessary as fighting persists in smaller towns and rural areas despite government forces regaining control of major cities from Fano fighters since August.

Parliament's decision to extend the state of emergency follows a request from the justice minister and extensive deliberations among lawmakers. The government maintains its stance of safeguarding Amhara's security and denies accusations of undermining it.

This conflict arose less than a year after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's administration brokered a peace deal in November 2022 to resolve the two-year civil war in the neighboring Tigray region. However, tensions escalated in Amhara due to perceived inadequacies in addressing security concerns regarding Tigray and the neighboring Oromiya region, leading to strained relations between the government and Fano militiamen who had initially fought alongside federal forces.

The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has documented numerous alleged abuses during the Amhara conflict, predominantly attributed to government forces. EHRC's head, Daniel Bakele, expressed grave concerns on social media about the human rights and humanitarian implications of the state of emergency extension.

The government has yet to address specific allegations of abuses in Amhara but criticized EHRC's report in November, citing a lack of balance. As the conflict persists, stakeholders remain vigilant about the evolving situation's impact on human rights and the humanitarian crisis in the region.

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