News Analysis: Amhara region accuses faction of ‘Fano’ for killing ruling party official as security taskforce announces arrest of 47 individuals

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Mekerem Abera, prominent media personality and teacher, Journalist Genet Asmamaw among the 47 suspects (Photo: Federal Police/Facebook)

Addis Abeba – The Amhara region has accused the faction of informal ‘Fano’ armed group operating in Eastern part of the region ‘Misrak Amhara Fano’ for the killing of Girma Yeshitila, head of the Amhara Prosperity Party and member of the party’s executive committee, who was shot dead on 27 April.

Despite attempts by the national army to peacefully resolve differences, a group led by the ‘Misrak Amhara Fano’ killed “our leadership and is still terrorizing the people” a statement by the Amhara Communication Bureau has said.

According to the statement the group is also working to incite discord between the defense forces and the people by disseminating false information that blackmails the army. The statement noted that the government would continue in its law enforcement operations and called on individuals in the armed groups to surrender and return to their normal lives.

“Brutal killings have been perpetrated on senior government officials by groups organized covertly aiming to make the region leader-less even though the government chooses to give peaceful dialogue a priority when it is capable of enforcing the law,” the statement reads.

This comes days after the Ethiopian Joint Security and Intelligence Task Force announced on 28 April that it has started “taking decisive measures” against “extremist forces” that it accused of “trying to take control of regional state power by destroying the constitutional system in the Amhara regional state”.

As a sequel to the announcement the taskforce said on Sunday, 30 April that it has arrested 47 suspects who were organized covertly and have allegedly committed terrorism offenses. The individuals were apprehended with several individual and group weapons, bombs and incendiary explosives as well as satellite communication devices and laptops containing various information, the taskforce said in a statement.

“The suspects, making the killing of senior Amhara region leaders their target, were organized and coordinated in the country and abroad to overthrow the federal government by violently attacking the constitutional system and controlling the governmental structure of the region” the statement added.

The statement also listed names of 11 individuals including prominent politician Lidetu Ayalew and other notable media personalities from the Youtube based Ethio-360 media as accomplices of the plot, and said that the government is working with governments of foreign countries where the individuals are based, to have them extradited.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of Halala Kela Resort, which was built as part of his ‘Dine for nation’ initiative, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said on Monday that external forces that have been interfering in Ethiopia’s internal affairs whenever there is any insecurity in the country should restrain from their deeds. 

He warned the wealthy and young people who have been residing abroad or at home and participating in this action to restrain themselves from illegal actions, saying that “it is impossible either to live comfortably or come to power through killing people”.

In a statement he released shortly after the news of the killing of the Amhara Prosperity Party head, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said the perpetrators were those who espoused “ultimate extremism” to try to persuade everyone who disagrees with them “with a gun” and have committed this “shameful and horrible act.” AS

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