“Red Terror” returns to Ethiopia under a different regime and a new name: “Red Zone”

“This is a regime for the stone age operating in the 21st century.”
By Alem Mamo

October 20, 2016 
It was in 1978 the Provisional Military Administration known as the Derg declared what it called “red terror” in Ethiopia. What followed was hard to comprehend; it was a grotesque demonstration of inhumanity against fellow human beings. Streets were littered with bodies of young men and women with placards displayed on them reading “red terror.” For the survivors and their families, this period is a particularly painful one, which they wish didn’t happen. Whatever the context, the use of the term “red,” especially coming from the government policy makers, has a chilling psychological and emotional effect on the people of Ethiopia. It brings back that dark period and pokes the terrible memories of those who endured so much under the official campaign of “red terror” (1978-1979). The declaration of a “state of emergency” by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) is a sad repeat of the “red terror” from which citizens are still trying to recover. Continue reading

Ethiopia ‘detains 1,600’ under state of emergency

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Demonstrators chant slogans while flashing the Oromo protest gesture during Irreecha, the thanksgiving festival of the Oromo people, in Bishoftu town, Oromia region, Ethiopia, October 2, 2016Image copyrightREUTERS
Image captionThe most recent protests were sparked by the deaths of at least 55 people at a religious festival

The Ethiopian authorities have detained more than 1,600 people under the state of emergency, a government minister has told the BBC.

A statement, quoted by state-affiliated FBC website, lists arrests in the Oromia and Amhara regions, which have recently seen massive demonstrations.

This is in addition to Monday’s arrests of 1,000 people near the capital.

A six-month state of emergency has been declared in the face of a wave of unprecedented anti-government protests.

Under the emergency measures, people can be detained without an arrest warrant for the duration of the state of emergency.

FBC reports that a total of 1,683 people have been arrested in at least five places, including in Shashamene, 250km (155 miles) south of the capital, Addis Ababa, where 450 people have been detained.

It describes most of those arrested as “suspects in the recent violence” and adds that a large number of looted weapons had also been handed over.

Some business people have been detained for closing their shops, as have three teachers for “abandoning school”.

There is no mention where the people are being held.

Oromo woman cryingImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionThe current unrest is the biggest to hit Ethiopia in more than two decades
Ethiopian security personnel at demonstrationImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionThere have been months of deadly clashes in Ethiopia

Rights groups say that at least 500 people have died during the anti-government protests over the last 11 months as a result of clashes with security forces.

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said last week that could be an accurate estimate, but blamed “anti-peace forces” for the trouble.

Activists have targeted commercial property, including some foreign-owned businesses.

These include warehouses and factories in the town of Sebeta, near Addis Ababa, which were set alight during recent protests, the authorities say.

On Monday, the mayor of the town told FBC that 1,000 people had been arrested in connection with those attacks. He later told the AP news agency that some of those had been released.

Arrest breakdown:

Map showing the regions of Ethiopia
  • 670: West Arsi zone, Oromia
  • 450: Shashamane, Oromia
  • 302: West Guji zone, Oromia
  • 110 “key actors and co-ordinators of the violence”: Kelem Wolega zone, Oromia
  • 93: Gondar zone, Amhara
  • 13 businesspersons for closing their shops, 13 for calling for a strike and three teachers for “abandoning school”: Gondar zone
  • 29 businesspersons for closing their shops: Bahir Dar, Amhara

Source: FBC

Seven things you can no longer do in Ethiopia

The recent wave of demonstrations began in Oromia last November with people there protesting against a plan to expand Addis Ababa into their region.

That plan has since been dropped, but the protests have continued.

There have also been demonstrations in the country’s Amhara region.

The state of emergency was declared on 9 October a week after at least 55 people died in a stampede during an Oromo religious festival which turned into a protest.

Activists blamed the security forces for causing the panic, but the government said protesters in the crowd were responsible.

Human rights groups have in the past criticised Ethiopia for suppressing dissent.

In last year’s general election, every seat was won by either a member of the governing EPRDF coalition or one of the party’s allies.

The government has recently proposed reforms to the electoral system so that opposition politicians have a better chance of being elected.





South Sudan rejects new peace deal with Machar’s faction

October 20, 2016 (JUBA) – South Sudan government under President Salva Kiir has reiterated objection to any political initiative aiming at striking a new peace deal with a group allied to the former First Vice President, Riek Machar, claiming the current deal is “not dead.”

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First Vice-President Riek Machar (L) and President Salva Kiir (R) listen to the national anthem following a ceremony during which Machar was sworn in on April 26, 2016. (Phot AFP/Samir Bol)

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Ethiopia declares state of emergency over violent protests

By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

October 10, 2016 (ADDIS ABABA) – The Ethiopian government has declared a state of emergency in the wake of continued anti-government protests across its Oromia region.

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Demonstrators chant slogans while flashing the Oromo protest gesture during Irreecha, the thanksgiving festival of the Oromo people, in Bishoftu town, Oromia region, Ethiopia, October 2, 2016 (Reuters Photo)

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“The blood flowing in Oromia is our blood too”: Why Oromo-Amhara solidarity is the greatest threat to the Ethiopian government

By Awol Allo (PhD)
September 28, 2016 
“For decades, the ruling party has governed by pitting the Oromo and Amhara against one another. Now the two groups are joining forces against the government.

“There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen,” said Lenin, describing the Bolshevik revolution. For Ethiopia, the start of August 2016 saw such a week – one that will go down in Ethiopian history as a moment in which a grassroots movement achieved in days what organised elites have not been able to achieve in two decades. Continue reading

Gondar uprising leader charged with terrorism (ESAT News (September 28, 2016)

Filed under: News,News Feature |

The leader of the the movement in the Amhara region that is campaigning to restore areas forcefully annexed to Tigray by the Tigrian-led regime has been charged with terrorism.

Colonel Demeke Zewdu, seen by many Ethiopians as the leader of the ongoing uprising against a minority regime in Amhara region, was charged Wednesday after several court adjournments.

The colonel was taken to the custody of the Amhara police in July after he shot dead three operatives of the regime who went all the way to his house from Tigray to arrest him without a court warrant. Continue reading

Former Murle Cobra leader meets President Kiir over new rebellion

September 28, 2016 (JUBA) – Deputy Minister of Defence and Veterans Affairs and former leader of Murle armed Cobra Faction, David Yau Yau, has met President Salva Kiir in Juba on Wednesday, a day after his deputy declared resumption of armed rebellion against the government.

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Members of the South Sudan Democratic Movement/Army (SSDM/A) faction march in Gumuruk on 13 May 2014 after their leader, David Yau Yau, signed a peace deal with the South Sudanese government on 9 May 2014 in Addis Ababa (Photo: AFP/Samir Bol)

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