Growing Concern over Escalating Violence and Arrests in Amhara Region, Ethiopia

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Ethiopia has been gripped by heightened turmoil as a result of the escalating violence in the Amhara region, which culminated in a tragic incident on Sunday, August 13th, claiming the lives of at least 26 individuals due to an airstrike. This alarming development prompted the Ethiopian institution for human rights monitoring—an ostensibly independent public body—to voice its “serious concerns” on Monday, August 14th.

The resurgence of hostilities within the Amhara region between federal forces and local fighters, coupled with the widespread arrests of individuals belonging to the Amhara ethnic group across the nation, has fueled the prevailing apprehension. The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission has received complaints from members of the Amhara community, both preceding and following the declaration of a state of emergency on August 4th by the federal government in Amhara. This move was prompted by escalating tensions between the national military and paramilitary units.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who once relied upon these militias for support during the two-year conflict in the neighboring Tigray region, is currently pursuing their dismantlement.

The commission has further underscored the occurrence of intense clashes over the past few days within the Amhara region, marked by substantial artillery bombardments and airstrikes. The use of heavy artillery, according to the institution, has resulted in numerous casualties and injuries among the local populace, in addition to widespread destruction.

Lastly, the Ethiopian human rights monitoring body has reported “massive arrests of civilians of Amhara origin” in the capital city, Addis Ababa, expressing concern over their detention conditions and regretting the inability to verify their well-being due to restricted access.

As Ethiopia grapples with these intensifying tensions and disconcerting developments, international attention remains fixated on the evolving situation.


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