ADDIS ABABA – The Ethiopian government has announced that it will continue to carry out its ‘law enforcement’ operations across the country against groups that it says are illegal as well as against anti-government media.
In a statement following a meeting Wednesday – the second of its kind in a month’s time –, the National Security Council said it has evaluated measures it previously taken against groups to “protect the security of Ethiopia.”
The council said that most of the goals identified to ensure security during the last meeting are achieved and that “illegal groups and armed groups in Amhara, Benishangul Gumuz, and Oromia regions had been detained, illegal arms collected and activists engaged in illegal activity disciplined.”
It also said that it has evaluated existing security threats in the country.
The council identified the Oromo Liberation Army [government calls it Shane too], The Junta of Tigray [and this is used as a reference to the leaders of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front -TPLF], Al-Shabab, illegally armed groups, radical media, political groups, and radical religious groups, and Foreign intervention as threats to the security of the country.
The statement from the council also claimed that it has foiled, apparently, since it met last month, attempted alliances between Al-Shabab, TPLF, and Oromo Liberation Army.
The Council sent a stern warning to activists, media, and religious groups that “plots to disintegrate the country” will not be tolerated.
In the weeks after the Council’s meeting in May of this year, there had been extensive crackdowns in the country, mainly in the Addis Ababa and the Amhara region, and thousands of people were arrested.
The arrest also targeted journalists. At least 19 journalists were put behind bars unlawfully, as a recent remark from the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission indicated earlier this week.
Opposition parties including the National Movement of Amhara (NaMA), which has a single cabinet position in the Federal government, the Enat party, and Balderal For Genuine Democracy Party vehemently opposed the arrest of critics and crackdown on media under the guise of law enforcement measures.
Several cases of arrest looked rather like kidnappings as the whereabouts of journalists and activists were not disclosed to family members for days.
The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission called on courts to defend the rights of journalists with the use of media law in the country.
Ethiopian has identified national security as one of the major spending areas in the upcoming fiscal year.