The Ethiopian Federal Police announced on Friday that it has arrested over 1,000 “suspects.” This press statement was made at the Federal Police Headquarters in the capital, Addis Ababa.
The Federal Police reported conducting a five-day joint operation with the Addis Ababa Police.
“In a joint operation for five days across all sub-cities in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian Federal Police and Addis Ababa Police arrested over one thousand suspects and seized various exhibits,” stated the Federal Police in a news update released on its social media page.
This disclosure follows evaluations carried out by both police institutions after an operation in the Ethiopian capital. Ethiopian media outlets reported numerous arrests in Addis Ababa over a week ago, ahead of a planned anti-war demonstration scheduled for December 10. Four organizers were among those arrested. When State Minister For Peace, Taye Dendeacriticized the government’s ban on constitutionally guaranteed peaceful demonstrations, he was himself dismissed and incarcerated.
The Federal police claim these arrests are linked to what they term as criminal activity in Addis Ababa. They also mentioned seizing items associated with criminal acts, including vehicles, handguns, and US $31,000, among other items. Concerning firearms, the police assert they apprehended an individual engaged in manufacturing ammunition for AK47s, seizing 1,319 ammunition rounds and the associated manufacturing equipment.
Additionally, the police reported sealing 37 gambling establishments and 3,241 betting houses.
The police vows to continue with operations to clamp down on “criminals” until they no longer pose a security threat to society.
Conversely, concerns are voiced by politicized Ethiopians and activists that these arrests are politically motivated to stifle dissenting voices. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government has been facing a legitimacy crisis after he messed up with broad based political support. His military campaigns in Amhara and Tigray regions have noticeably added impetus to the legitimacy crisis he has been facing. Subsequently, his government has been cracking down on journalists and politicians.
Two weeks ago, the Ethiopian government banned a peaceful demonstration in Addis Ababa, citing security concerns related to the country’s current situation. The Federal government is engaged in conflicts with Fano forces in the Amhara region and “Oromo Liberation Army” forces in the Oromia region of Ethiopia.
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