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Council directs regions to address recurring protest

Council directs regions to address recurring protest

Regions to be accountable for unrest in their regions  

The National Security Council of Ethiopia issued a stern warning to regional governments on Friday that they will be held accountable if they do not control the simmering protests in their respective jurisdictions for they are no longer tolerated by the state. 

The Council converged at the Office of the Prime Minister on Friday in the presence of regional presidents and heads of the security apparatus and identified problematic regions and asserted that the Security Council will be forced to take measures if the regional governments fail to get a hold of the unrest and violent protests in their respective regions.

Today’s meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn and the Council’s Office Head and the minister of Defense, Siraj Fegessa, brought together all regional presidents, federal police commissioners, militia leaders, military leaderships and federal security heads.

On Thursday, the Prime Minister, on his part, issued another stern warning for party and government officials who have involvement in the recent political unrest across the country and vowed that they will be brought to justice. Hailemariam also asserted that officials who have connections with anti-peace and terrorist establishments and those who have been using the recent unrests in the country to advance their own agenda will be accountable to their actions.

“Officials that had connections with anti-peace establishments and terrorists and that have been working to politically benefit from the unrests in the country will be accountable,” Hailemariam said on Thursday.

“We have evaluated the security risk in the country which has been recurring since last year and we have prepared a detailed plan to control the situation,” Siraj briefed the media after the meeting.  “We met with the stakeholders since we have to work together.” He added.

Siraj also indicated that the majority of the regions in the country have been peaceful after the State of Emergency (SoE) was lifted, with the exception of few areas. However, he said that there are security concerns in every region, although at different the levels.

In addition to that, the regional governments were also told to identify the security issues observed in their respective regions and prepare an action plan for actions to be taken to control the recurring security problems.

He also announced that the Council has reached a consensus on the actions that must be taken and said that the rule of law must be respected in the country.

“There are illegal demonstrations being carried out in many places and some of these demonstrations have seen people carrying terrorist flags; such illegal demonstrations should not continue. We have to teach those mistakenly involved in this and should redirect them to the right track,” Siraj emphasized.

He also stated that the regional and federal governments have agreed to work together on this matter and are devising a plan to enable them to do so.

“Security forces who attacked civilians siding with their ethnic groups have acted illegally and all wrongdoers should be held accountable,” Siraj said addressing some of the recent conflicts in the country.

“We have identified such forces and we will continue to identify them further,” he stated.

The plan that the Council has prepared will be carried out throughout the year according to Siraj. He also pointed out that, be it officials or otherwise, anybody instigating these unrests will be brought to justice.

Pertaining to this decision, Prime Minister Hailemariam also told the media on Thursday that democratic centralism, a long held internal party culture of EPRDF, will remain central to the ruling party and recent actions by some government and party officials cannot be taken as sign of departure.

“Keeping democratic centralism up is inalienable EPRDF principle,” he asserted.

The prime minister also criticized regional governments that had engaged in public private partnerships which were out of the policy framework of the federal government.

Although the types of measures to be taken by the government are yet be identified clearly, both the statement of Council and the Prime Minister indicated an impending action on grand scale starting this week.