New measures to quell protests announced

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The Ethiopian government has announced new measures to “maintain the peace and security” of the country and “curb out violence and terror” following tumultuous and bloody months, in a declaration announced by the defence minister on Friday night on state-run television. A closed meeting of the Ethiopian National Security Council was held at the Prime Minister’s Office today in the presence of all regional presidents, mayors of selected towns, security forces of the Federal and regional administration, and high commanders of the National Defences Forces. Defence Minister Siraj Fegessa, who chairs the Council, speaking at the end of the meeting said that though the security situation improved in many parts of the country after the end of a nine-month state of emergency in August, there have been a spate of demonstrations in recent months, causing loss of life, property damage and huge displacement people in Oromia and Somalia regions. Siraj said “a one-year uniform peace and security plan for all regions” has been prepared aimed at improving security, and has been ratified after “extensive discussion”. He said the plan would be implemented from federal region to the lowest administrative unit. He said that unauthorized mass demonstrations and carrying flags of groups branded a terrorist would no longer be tolerated.
The Ethiopian National Security council was established on October 2001 under proclamation 257/2001 to “provide additional guarantee against unforeseeable and potential threats and challenges to the country’s national security”.
The Council would deal issues such as facilitating political processes, initiating consultations with the public, the relocation or return of displaced people, and arresting members of the government and other individuals who were involved in the violence, Siraj said. It would also ensure that people’s right to freely move and establish their residence within the country is respected, according to the defence minister.The National Security Council would disclose other course of action to be taken in due course, Siraj said.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Hailemarim said an arrest warrant would be issued for certain party and government officials who, he said, participated in diffusing escalation across the country.
Contrary to what is happening now, the Council was supposed to be chaired by the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister. The proclamation puts defence Minister as member rather than as chairperson.

Arefayné Fantahun
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  1. Elias says:

    A state of emergency under different name!

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