This week, Belay Manaye, founder and Managing Director of Ethio News, a cyber media outlet, was reportedly arrested. Local media outlets have confirmed this news.
The circumstances surrounding Belay’s arrest bear resemblance to the kidnappings carried out by radical ethnic Oromo Nationalist groups in the Oromia region. Sources indicate that there was no arrest warrant. On November 13, around 6:30 P.M. local time in the capital Addis Ababa, government security forces arrested Belay as he was leaving his office to head home.
His whereabouts were initially unknown to family members, contributing to the perception that his arrest was akin to a kidnapping. Currently, he is reportedly held at the Federal Police Headquarters and has yet to appear in court.
Following his arrest, his media outlet, Ethio News, has ceased operations. The outlet had been a crucial source of news updates for Ethiopians regarding the security situation in the Amhara region, which has been under a state of emergency since August this year.
Journalists and Human Rights activists face restricted access to the region due to government-imposed limitations, including a shutdown of the internet.
As of now, the Ethiopian government has not disclosed the reasons behind Belay’s arrest. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration has incarcerated numerous journalists and activists, signaling a shift towards more autocratic and dictatorial governance.
In the Amhara region, where the government has faced fierce resistance from Fano forces, hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians are believed to have been killed. The government has escalated military operations in the region, resorting to drone strikes and artillery shelling targeting civilians and civilian institutions.
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