December 10, 2022

The Political Chronicle

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Ethiopia has issued a general amnesty to several opposition figures


The Ethiopian government has announced a general amnesty and the release of imprisoned politicians, including opposition leaders and the TPLF, a party rebel group in the northern Tigris region.

Ethiopian government On Friday, January 7, he announced the release of several opposition figures who, after 14 months of confrontation with Digre and thousands of arrests, said he wanted to engage in dialogue with his political opponents.

The surprise announcement comes after Prime Minister Abi Ahmed, who has been ravaging the country for 14 months due to clashes between the federal government and rebels, called for “national reconciliation” launched earlier Friday during the Orthodox Christmas celebrations. Tigre People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

The government statement said that the purpose of the amnesty was to “find a lasting solution to Ethiopia’s problems in a peaceful and non – violent way.” “The key to lasting unity is dialogue. Ethiopia will make all sacrifices to this end,” according to the text, which lists the names of several opposition leaders but also key members of the TPLF.

The TPLF, the party that has effectively ruled Ethiopia for nearly 30 years, has been armed since becoming prime minister. Abi Ahmed In November 2020, he sent the Federal Army to Tigray, accusing regional authorities – from the TPLF – of challenging his authority and attacking military bases.

It was not immediately clear how many of the detainees involved had already been released. Nevertheless, the opposition Baldres party has announced the release of its founder, Eskinder Nega, an opposition figure whose name will appear on the amnesty list.

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Many personalities were forgiven

The party posted on Facebook a photo of Eskinder Nega and one of his fellow inmates raising their fists outside the Kaliti High Security Prison in Addis Ababa where they were being held.

The list of pardoned individuals includes former media chief Jawar Mohammed, a member of the Oromo Federalist Congress. Abi Ahmed’s former ally – Oromo himself, the country’s largest ethnic group – became one of his fiercest opponents.

Like Eskinder Nega, Jawar Mohammed was arrested along with other opposition figures in July 2020, carrying the flag of the Oromo ethnic group after violence erupted in the shooting of the most popular singer, Haslu Handesa, in Addis Ababa the previous month.

These demonstrations and violence killed 239 people in a few days, in the wake of racial tensions and hatred.

Among the TPLF officials cited in the government statement are Sibat Nega – one of the founders of the party – Kidusan Nega, Abe Volt, Abadi Jemu (former ambassador to Sudan) and Mulu Keprajiaber.

The conflict in Tigray, home to six million people, has claimed thousands of lives and territory, subject to what the United Nations calls the “real siege” of humanitarian aid, food and medicine shortages.

The amnesty coincides with the mission of the US Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa to Ethiopia. Jeffrey Feltman, Which seeks to promote peace talks between the government and the TPLF.

Publications praised by the UN President

In a country with the second largest population on the continent, the conflict threatens to destabilize the entire horn of Africa. Jeffrey Feltman – who resigned from his post this week – had “rich and constructive discussions” with Abby Ahmed in Addis, U.S. State Department spokesman Netflix told reporters Thursday.

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“The United States will act on any positive impulses derived from these discussions,” he said.

On Twitter, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres welcomed the apology. “I am actively involved in helping end the fighting in Ethiopia and restore peace and stability,” he added.

Abi Ahmed quickly declared victory in Tigray by the end of 2020, but the TPLF counterattack allowed the Tigris rebels to retake most of the territory by the end of June and advance into neighboring Amhara and Afar.

The rebels said they had arrived 200 km from Addis Ababa in November, and several countries were calling for their citizens to leave the country.

In late December, the DPLF announced its withdrawal from Tigray, following the federal military’s seizure of several strategic areas on the road to the capital, including Lalibela, a historic and tourist site known for its rock-cut churches. UNESCO World Heritage Site.

With AFP and Reuters