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Ethiopia announces new curbs as part of state of emergency measures

October 17, 2016

Siraj Fegessa
Siraj Fegessa, Ethiopia’s minister of defense and also head of the Command Post set up to oversee the state of emergency law

Reuters – Ethiopia imposed curbs on its opposition, travel restrictions on diplomats, and a dusk-to-dawn curfew around major projects in new measures announced on Sunday that follow the declaration of a six-month, nationwide state of emergency.

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn declared the state of emergency earlier this month, saying months of unrest threatened the Horn of Africa nation’s stability.

More than 500 people have been killed in protests in the Oromiya region surrounding the capital Addis Ababa and other areas since last year, after anger over a development scheme for the capital sparked broader anti-government demonstrations over politics and human rights abuses.

The state of emergency was effective from Oct. 8.

In a directive released on Sunday, opposition parties were barred from issuing statements deemed to pose a threat to the “sovereignty, security and the constitutional order of the country” to both domestic and foreign press.

The raft of measures include granting security services powers to stop and search suspects and search homes without court authorization. Contacting opposition groups branded “terrorist movements” has been forbidden. Ethiopia has designated five groups, including two armed secessionist movements, as terrorists.

The violence in Oromiya, Ethiopia’s largest and most populous region, and to a lesser extent in Amhara province, has overshadowed the success story of one of Africa’s fastest growing economies.

The latest flare-up in Oromiya followed a stampede on Oct. 2 in which at least 55 people were killed after police fired teargas and shots into the air to disperse protesters during a crowded annual festival in the town of Bishoftu.

The emergency prohibits anyone from making contact with groups that are labeled as terrorist and from watching media channels like Oromia Media Network and Ethiopian Satellite Television and Radio
The unrest has sparked attacks on businesses, many of them foreign-owned, including farms growing flowers for export.

The new measures include a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew on access to “economic installations, infrastructure and agricultural development projects, factories and others” for anyone apart from authorized employees.

Diplomats are also restricted from traveling beyond a 40 km (25 mile) radius of the capital.

 

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One comment on “Ethiopia announces new curbs as part of state of emergency measures

  1. Total state of emergency is a useless solution. Just solve the root causes of the problem, i.e lack of democracy, corruption, bad governance etc As long you don’t address those problems, you can’t stop people from expressing their grievance in whatever way they prefer; people don’t care whether you declare a 6 month or a 6 year state of emergency because the country has been in state of emergency for the last 25 years. So there is no new thing.
    I am surprised you worry too much about the so-called OMN or ESAT. Trust me they will disappear, if you just bring democracy to the country, release all political prisoners, let people debate freely without fear of prosecution, etc.

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