State of Emergency Command Post Says It No Longer Tolerates “Anti-Peace Elements”; Instructs Security Forces to Take all Necessary Measures
Addis Abeba, February 27, 2018 (Addis Standard) – Amidst continued anti-governments protests and reports of causalities, including death, in parts of the Oromia regional state, particularly in Dembi Dolo and Nekemt, in western Ethiopia, the Command post established to oversee the reinstated state of emergency said its patience against what it called ant-peace elements has run out and it no longer tolerates any form of disruptions of public peace; it said it instructed security forces “to take necessary measures to restore peace.”
The command post, led by Siraj Fegessa, the defense minister, also said it will take serious measures against individuals who are “intimidating members of parliament”, including acts of posing house-to-house-threats. It said some MPs have lodged complaints with the command post. The warning from the command post on “threats” against MPs came after activists posted phone numbers of MPs online and urged their constituencies to lobby the MPs to vote against the proposed ratification of the state of emergency.
Protests in Nekemt have be ongoing since last Saturday after federal security forces forced leaders the recently released leaders of the opposition, Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), to cancel an event in Nekemt & return back to Addis Abeba after a standoff that lasted for more than 7 hours.
Larger protests erupted yesterday in Nekemt and protesters have blocked roads with burning tyres in what they said were to prevent the security forces from crackdown on protesters. They were also chanting slogans against the state of emergency and the now famous protest slogan, “down, down Woyane”, referring to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), one of the four parties that make up the ruling EPRDF.
On Saturday, while the security were holding OFC leaders, protests were ongoing further west in Dembi Dolo after security forces tried to arrest individuals who were organizing public gatherings for religious purpose, according to activists
This morning, Addisu Arega, head of Oromia communication bureau, confirmed the ongoing protests in Nekemt and said one person, Abebe Mokonnen, was killed and seven others were wounded. Activists say more than 15 people were wounded in various incidents after security forces have opened fire at protesters.
The statement from the command post also alleges that “illegal forces” have thrown a hand grenade against security forces in Nekemt and have obstructed the peace and security of citizens. However, it didn’t give specifics on what “to take all measures necessary.”
The statement from the command post came before the ruling party dominated members of parliament were to meet on Friday after they were called from recess to convene for an extraordinary session. They are reconvening to decide on the state of emergency, which is met by several criticism both by citizens and opposition leaders in Ethiopia as well as Ethiopia’s western allies. AS