Unrest in some parts of Ethiopia has been taking the form of a “color revolution,” with a clear intent to seize power, Defense Minister Siraj Fegessa declared earlier this month

By Nizar Manek (The Hindu) |

Unrest in some parts of Ethiopia has been taking the form of a “color revolution,” with a clear intent to seize power, Defense Minister Siraj Fegessa declared earlier this month as U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrived in Addis Ababa. A strike in Oromia, a hotbed of anti-government protests for over two years, was choking the capital. A state of emergency was declared in February after Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn resigned in the wake of continued protests.

Musa Ali, the chief elder responsible for an over 30,000 sq. km portion of north-eastern Oromia, told this reporter that federal forces arrested the deputy commander of the regional police heading a riot squad. The deputy head of the western Oromia’s Kelem Wolega zone’s administration and security office was also arrested, the zone’s vice administrator Nebiyu Nabsu said, after the dismissal of his boss, held out as instrumental in forging police-community relations.

Since Ethiopia suspended its Constitution on February 16, federal forces have arrested a swathe of Oromo police officials, Mayors, and high-profile administrators. Bekane Tadesse, a lecturer at Addis Ababa University, says hardliners are using the emergency to take retaliatory action against the Oromia administration over its measures against ‘controbandists’— figures in the army and the federal government said to control checkpoints and illicit businesses on the internal boundary between Oromia and Ethiopia’s Somali region. The conflict between the Oromo administration and the controbandists is estimated to have displaced a million people.

In East Hararghe at the upper extreme of the boundary, the Ethiopian National Defense Forces shot dead five Oromo and wounded 13 on February 11 at Hamaresa, a site that sheltered about 5,000 Oromo who fled their homes, Karim Bashir, a doctor, said. “Half the population fled into the forests.”

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