Ethiopian parliament ratifies state of emergency in Amhara region amid escalating violence
In its extraordinary session, the Ethiopian House of People’s Representatives (HoPR) on Monday (14 August) voted in favor of a six-month state of emergency rule in the northern Amhara region amid increasing violence between the federal forces and local militiamen.
The lower house of the Ethiopian parliament examined and ratified the rule following the country’s Council of Ministers’ announcement of a state of emergency on 4 August. Clashes between the army and a regional militia threaten public security and are causing “serious economic and humanitarian damage,” said officials. This comes as a suspected air strike over the weekend killed at least 26 people — the deadliest case reported so far — in Ethiopia’s embattled region. The Ethiopian military managed late last week to push local Fano militiamen out of most major towns in Amhara, but clashes reportedly continue in other parts of the region.
The unrest has revived fears about the stability of Africa’s second most populous country, seven months after a peace deal ended a brutal two-year conflict in the neighboring region of Tigray. Ethiopia’s rights watchdog has voiced “grave concern” over the fierce fighting in the region this month which has “resulted in the deaths and injuries of civilians” and condemned a wave of arrests of ethnic Amharas. Meanwhile, Ethiopian authorities are reportedly carrying out mass arrests of hundreds, even thousands, of people in the capital, Addis Ababa, specifically targeting ethnic Amharas, after deadly unrest in the country’s restive northern region, lawyers and witnesses have said.