PM Abiy detains alleged suspects to overthrow his government.
Ethiopia detains 47 suspected of trying to ‘overthrow’ PM Abiy
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. The Ethiopian Joint Security and Intelligence Task Force on May 1, 2023 announced the arrest of at least 47 people whom it alleged attempted to topple Abiy’s federal government. PHOTO | MICHAEL TEWELDE | XINHUA
The Ethiopian Joint Security and Intelligence Task Force has announced the arrest of at least 47 people whom it alleged attempted to topple Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s federal government.
The mass arrests follow the assassination of the ruling Prosperity Party (PP) leader in the Amhara region.
Mr Girma Yeshitila, the head of PP in the northern Amhara region was assassinated along with four others in an attack on Thursday last week.
“Those who couldn’t win with ideas have taken away the soul of our brother Girma Yeshitila,” PM Abiy Ahmed said in a Facebook post following the attack.
Abiy blamed what he referred to as “violent extremists” for the “shameful and horrible” killing of the senior government official.
‘Working with external forces’
In a statement issued on Sunday night, the Ethiopian Joint Security and Intelligence Task Force said the 47 individuals are suspected “terrorists” who have allegedly been working with external forces.
The suspects were found in possession of weapons, bombs and satellite communications equipment, it said.
“The suspects worked together locally and in foreign countries with the aim of taking control of the regional government in order to overthrow the federal government by assassinating senior Amhara officials,” the statement reads.
The murder of Mr Girma was carried out by these “extremist forces”, the statement added.
Targeted on social media
He was a member of the 45-member executive committee of the ruling Prosperity Party and was recently targeted on social media by Amhara nationalists who called him a “traitor” over his proximity to Prime Minister Abiy.
According to the Amhara regional government, “irregular forces” attacked the vehicles carrying Mr Girma, his bodyguards and others on Thursday as they were heading to Debre Birhan, one of the main cities in the region.
The joint task force stated that the extremist forces were working to carry out assaults targeting senior government officials.
‘Violence and chaos’
It said the aim was to overthrow the state and federal government by force by instigating “violence and chaos” across the country.
The task force further accused them of “creating false rumours and spreading terrorist propaganda” to create ethnic and religious conflict in the country.
With regard to suspects residing overseas, the Ethiopian government said it is working with the international police agency Interpol as well as with security institutions of foreign countries to arrest and hand them over to Ethiopia to face justice.
Ethiopia has named at least 10 exiled individuals including politicians and journalists in its latest wanted list.