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Ethiopian authorities arrested thousands of people this week in what human rights groups have described as a crackdown on militia fighters, journalists and critics of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration, the Associated Press reported.
Security officials said Monday they detained more than 4,500 individuals in the Amhara region, noting that the arrests were made “to uphold law and order, deal with criminal activities and get rid of outside enemies.”
The detentions are part of a broad “law enforcement operation” by the government to “protect citizens and ensure the survival of the nation.”
But Ethiopian political parties and media outlets are accusing Abiy’s government of conducting “abductions.” They added that members of the Fano armed group implicated in atrocities in the country’s war in the Tigray region have also been targeted.
Meanwhile, journalist organizations warned that some reporters are fleeing the country amid threats and intimidation by the government and non-state actors.
Killings, human rights violations and mass detentions have been reported in parts of Ethiopia, even after the deadly civil war in the Tigray region began easing in recent months because the government and Tigrayan forces agreed to a humanitarian truce.
Even so, the US State Department sent its Atrocity Prevention and Response delegation to the Netherlands this week to hold talks with allies “regarding our responses to atrocities committed in Ukraine, Burma, Ethiopia and other locations experiencing violence.”