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Ethiopia: Two Aid Workers Killed In Troubled Amhara Region



Ethiopia: Two Aid Workers Killed In Troubled Amhara Region

The circumstances of their murder”, which occurred on Sunday, “are unknown

The Ethiopian government has announced that two employees of Catholic Relief Services (CRS) were shot dead over the weekend in the Amhara region of northern Ethiopia, which has been plagued by unrest for several days, the NGO said on Tuesday.

Protests and road blockades in Amhara have been reported since Thursday, after the federal government began the process of disarming and reassigning members of military units under regional authority to the federal army or the police.

These units, known as “special forces” in Ethiopia, have been established outside of any legal framework for the past 15 years by some regional states.

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“Chuol Tongyik, a security officer, and Amare Kindeya, a driver, were shot dead in an SRC vehicle in the Amhara region on their way back to Addis Ababa after a mission,” the SRC said.

“The circumstances of their murder”, which occurred on Sunday, “are unknown”, the US-based Catholic NGO said.

According to its website, CRS has been working in Ethiopia for nearly 60 years.

The situation is difficult to assess in Amhara, which is closed to the press “for security reasons.

On Monday, restrictions – including night-time traffic and meetings – were imposed on three of Amhara’s main towns – Gondar, Dessie and Debre Birhan.

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The rules were issued by the military “command post” in each of the towns, suggesting that the federal army is now in charge of their security.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed assured that the disarmament process would be completed “whatever the cost” and warned that “the law will be applied against those who deliberately play a destabilising role”.

The government insists that the process is taking place in all regions and for the time being the unrest is limited to Amhara, whose powerful “special forces” provided crucial assistance to the federal army during the two-year armed conflict against the authorities in the Tigray region.

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An agreement signed in November ended that war, but Ethiopia remains torn by multiple local conflicts, often linked to the reawakening of identity and land claims since Mr Abiy’s appointment in 2018, after three decades of rule by a coalition dominated by the Tigrayan minority.

Ethiopia’s second largest people, the Amhara have long been the country’s political and economic elite. Territorial conflicts oppose to the Tigrayans, but also the Oromo, the most numerous people in Ethiopia.

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