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Ethiopia's key security headache is Oromia, Amhara mistrust of federal forces

Tuesday January 9, 2018

The lack of trust for federal security forces in Ethiopia’s biggest regional states has been identified as the main security headache the country faces.

The Addis Standard news portal reported on Monday that two anonymous sources close to a Security Council meeting held late last week, said that strong resistance from parts of the Oromia and Amhara regional states was making the work of federal forces difficult.

“Concerns were raised by members of the national defense forces and the federal police regarding strong resistance from several parts of the public, particularly in Oromia and Amhara regional states,” a source is quoted to have said.

The Security Council meeting was headed by Defense Minister Siraj Fegessa and was attended by Premier Hailemariam Desalegn and other top security and police chiefs from across the country.

Clashes between especially the army and residents of Oromia has claimed a number of lives. The most recent being when about 19 people were killed in the town of Chelenko late last year. In October 2017, 10 people were reportedly killed in Ambo with another four deaths in the town of Soda.

The security situation between the Oromia and Ethiopia-Somali states has also been heated in the last quarter of 2017. The clashes led to hundreds of deaths with massive displacement of persons on both sides. The government has announced a resettlement plan.

Another area of concern according to the submissions was the ethnic-based killings that forced the closure of some universities in the Oromia, Amhara and Tigray regional states. The situation is said to have calmed down and most universities reopened.

Addis Ababa early last week announced political reforms to what has long been tagged a repressive region. Leaders of the four parties that form the ruling EPRDF coalition announced that political prisoners were to be released and a notorious jail, the Maekelawi, closed down and turned into a modern museum.


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