Opinion: Abiy released Political Prisoners to salvage his image

One of the reasons the African Heads of State decided to host this year’s AU summit in Addis Ababa was that they have come to see that Ethiopia is not like what others talk about. Ethiopia is hosting thousands of its Diaspora who are enjoying their vacation peacefully and prisoners are being released. This gesture brought forth the image that this country has a hope. This was image we created which led Addis Ababa to host the AU summit. It was a difficult trial for us” – Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali (17.01.2022).

When the Federal Government released some political prisoners earlier this month. They have only done it with one intention and not remedy any stances or buy peace. No, the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali with his own words are saying the quiet part loud, which is very clear here. It is not for national dialogue … or for reforms, but for posture… and that is a tragic take, but it is what the PM is stating here.

As image goes… he continued with a lot more in the speech, which shows his real stance and not the deliberate use of the political prisoners for the benefit of dialogue or for making things better in the conflict. Therefore, what his saying further is very interesting…

No government body asked me to arrest these men in the first place and no government body had asked me to release them. I am telling you the truth. This is not something related with outsiders. However, with regards to prisoners in general, we had multiple discussions” (…)let me tell you one example. When the enemy [TPLF] reached Debre Sina few of our officials suggested the idea of releasing prisoners for fear that TPLF would release them if it captures Addis Ababa. We rejected the suggestion. We will ensure TPLF would not enter Addis Ababa. Even if it enters, let the TPLF release them but we will not release them now and allow the humiliation of Ethiopia” (…) “I want you to understand that this is something that has been going on for some time. We also discussed this issue during the Prosperity Party Executive Committee meeting a month before their release. We agreed that the way to defeat an enemy is not just by attacking but also through a gesture of goodwill. We decided to continue the discussion down our ranks. I also remember in Addis Ababa the discussion held with religious leaders, businesspeople and the scholars. Every regional state has discussed this issue. It is not acceptable to say the decision is a surprise. We have discussed this for more than a month” (…) In all honesty, we wanted to achieve a political objective by releasing prisoners but we did not discuss specific individuals. I had no idea who was going to be released even when we had the meeting with the Federal Ministers [Jan 06]. The Attorney General said it has decided to release them after it conducted its own studies” (Abiy, 17.01.2022).

It is all part of ploy and clearly the leaders has been selected by the state. Which they knew could create headlines and sell “hope”. They wouldn’t pick random activists or political prisoners of low-level tier in the banned or opposition parties, which has been blocked or not been able to operate by the Federal Government.

What is striking in the same speech, he says it’s released to give a spirit of hope and to get outsiders to participate in the African Union Head of State in Addis Ababa this year. That is having influence of outsiders. To make it look all good, but he later says it wasn’t related to outsiders… that doesn’t add up… and the PM cannot have it both ways. He can either do one or the other… but not both. That isn’t working. One is a lie and the other is the truth. The matter of how proud he is of having AU Heads of State Summit. Makes it believe to be the thing, as we know the PM likes to bash in glory and be the centre of attention.

We are further seeing no concessions or plans to concede to their enemies or parties of the conflict. That is very obvious here, as we know the state have ceased direct combats, but is still using drones and affiliate armies to fight for them. Therefore, the conflict or warfare isn’t over. Neither in the Tigray or in Oromia. Therefore, the PM is false-flagging … and his continuing to kill civilians to win points with his allies.

The political objective was to sell a “false hope” and promise of better future, but that is just an image or a publicity stunt. As there is nothing else to gain but an international conference in the capital. Because, the PM wants to be the big-man and have all the flashing lights. There is no usage of them political prisoners as a bargain chip for AU. That is really it and it’s tragic…

So, the ones that has believes in the Commission and the National Dialogue is foolish. When the PM is stating it this obviously for the whole world to see and I wonder why it doesn’t face backlash. As this is speaking out loudly and arrogantly about the recent events. Mohammed Jawar and Bekele Gerba are just tools for the small objective pieces of silver, which is all the PM sought for. Peace.

Ethiopia: Filsan Abdullahi Ahmed – An open letter to the Ethiopian people! (20.01.2022)

Ethiopia: The Global Society of Tigrai Scholars (GSTS) – A Call for the Protection of Minorities: The Irob and Kunama People (19.01.2022)

Ethiopia: Ethiopia Catholic Church-Social and Development Commission Adigrat Branch – Subject: Situation Updating on the Worsening Situation in Tigray (17.01.2022)

Ethiopia: Dwindling medical supplies in northern Ethiopia prevent health workers from aiding those in need (18.01.2022)

The ICRC is profoundly concerned over availability of medical treatment, including medicine and medical equipment.

MOPTI, Mali, January 18, 2022 – As the conflict in northern Ethiopia continues to evolve, hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced, putting enormous strain on the region’s health-care system and medical staff.

The ICRC is profoundly concerned over availability of medical treatment, including medicine and medical equipment. Health-care services are lacking essential medical supplies, and in some cases infrastructure has been severely damaged. This makes access to health care very challenging, depriving people of the essentials they need to survive.

The ICRC is adapting its assistance efforts with a focus on the most vulnerable. However, our capacity to respond has become limited as medical supplies dwindle, with delivery of humanitarian assistance seriously hampered by a combination of fighting, insecurity and access constraints.

“Some hospitals in Amhara have closed due to lack of medicines,” said Micha Wedekind, who is in charge of the ICRC’s response in Amhara and Afar. “People with chronic diseases are dying every day and women are giving birth at home as health facilities are not functional and often without electricity or water.”

“In Tigray, single-use items such as gloves, surgical materials and even chest drains are being washed and reused, increasing the risk of infections. In some places, doctors have replaced disinfectant by salt to clean wounds,” said Apollo Barasa, the health coordinator at the ICRC delegation in Ethiopia. “Patients are receiving expired medications, oxygen plants are not working anymore, and some health facilities cannot provide routine vaccines.

The ICRC reminds all parties to the conflict that they must facilitate without delay the delivery of humanitarian assistance to those who need it most.

Our medical support this month has included to seven health care facilities around Dessie, including Hayk, Mersa, Woldiya and Kobo. Throughout 2021, together with the Ethiopian Red Cross Society, the ICRC supported 130 health facilities in Amhara, Afar, Tigray, Oromia and Somali region. More than 110,000 people have benefited from our medical programs and 9,800 persons received physiotherapy and mobility treatment.

Beyond medical assistance, the ICRC continues to be concerned over the food and livelihood situation in northern Ethiopia. Last week our teams were able to bring humanitarian assistance to communities in Lalibela, Amhara, for the first time in six months, providing 2,500 people with food and 6,000 people with household items such as mattresses, jerrycans, kitchen sets and solar lamps. In Mekelle, the ICRC has distributed essential household and hygiene items to more than 900 displaced people.

Finally, whilst maintaining our operations in the area, the ICRC is deeply concerned by recent reports of continued fighting in northern Ethiopia causing civilian casualties, including in recent airstrikes.

We call upon all parties to the conflict to respect the rules and obligation of international humanitarian law, which provide that civilians are protected against attack and that everything feasible must be done to verify that targets are military objectives. To the extent feasible, civilians must also be removed from the vicinity of military objectives.

In 2021, the ICRC has:

– Assisted 655,000 people with household supplies, shelter and cash throughout the country, with a focus on northern Ethiopia
– Provided 875,000 people with agricultural and livestock assistance
– Facilitated access to clean water and sanitations to 1,950,000 people, including in places of detention
– Helped over 169,000 people restore or maintain family links, facilitating exchange of news by family members.

Ethiopia: Oromo Federalist Congress-Global Support Group (OFC-GSG) – A statement by the Oromo Federalist Congress – Global Support Group (OFC-GSG) on the partial release of Oromo leaders from unjustified prison (15.01.2022)

Ethiopia: Fano is boosted by Amhara regional government – so their war-effort is still on…

The Amhara regional government has said that the rumors that the government is going to disarm Fano are baseless and an enemy plot to divide the Amhara people. The regional government has held talks with members of the Fano organization. Fano, in collaboration with other security forces, is a force to be reckoned with. Therefore, neither the federal nor the state government has any plans to disarm Fanon” (Amhara Prosperity Party, 14.01.2022).

The ones who believes the Tripartite Alliance is dead and stopped their war in Ethiopia. They have to see the signs, as the Eritrean Defence Force (EDF) is not only fighting on front within Tigray Region, but is also deployed in the Oromia region. Alas, Ethiopian National Defence Force (ENDF) have stopped their advances and not continued inwards in Tigray. However, there is air-strikes and drone-strikes on the regular, killing and destroying infrastructure on the daily. Meaning, the Tripartite Alliance is intact.

The Amhara Para-Military Group “Fano” has participated in the whole war and the Amhara Regional State has used their means. Their Regional Special Forces has been activated as well. The Police Force and anyone who could move before the November 2020 has been used. Heck, civil servants was getting military training in the region for their “survival campaign” at some point. Therefore, Amhara Regional State was as invested as it could be.

The Amhara state communications have today published story called: “”Fano is one who respects the system and sacrifices himself for the benefit of the Amhara people”! Mr. Gizachew Muluneh” (Amhara Communications, 16.01.2022). That’s the story that I will digest and show to the world. As that shows what the Amhara Regional state is willing to do and what Amhara Prosperity Party is believing. This is government sanctioned publication and article, which shouldn’t be left without anyone looking into to it.

It starts with: “The government will not disarm the Fano who fought for the welfare of the country and the freedom of the people” (Amhara Communications, 20212.

They are starting with thanking and appreciating what the armed group or militia did in the war. As it has participated in massacres, looting and total destruction. It has been a vicious group and done war-crimes on the front-lines, as an ally of the cause and with deliberate act to annihilate the Tigray region. Therefore, the freedom and welfare is only for the Amhara Regional State and not the whole nation…

The Fano have made great strides in thwarting the invasion of the TPLF; The head of the office said that they have paid the price for their lives; The government recognizes and rewards these people, but there is no reason to disarm. When the government’s idea falls to the ground, it is to treat the injured Fano in the same way as other forces, and not to disarm them, but to do what they have done for the dignity of the country” (Amhara Communications, 2022).

Here we are seeing it is continued. That their acts and enterprise in this war is of vast importance. This is why the Amhara Prosperity Party and Amhara Regional State have no plans of disarming Fano and neither challenge it’s existence. Instead, they are treated as part of the government. That says it all here really…

It continues: “Fano is an armed force that, in the event of an emergency in the region, coordinates with the rest of the government security forces in the same way as anyone else; In times of peace, the farmer, the farmer, is the one who goes into business and returns to his normal business. In peace, most of the Fano is at work; If there is no work, the government will use this force to get them to work” (Amhara Communications, 2022).

Here the state is initially stating that in ordinary times the Fano is workers and farmers doing their duties as citizens. However, when it’s war these are called in as recruits and natural part of the war-effort. This is making them a “home-front” of sorts… but the Fano can also be a way of having unemployed recruited to it too, which is backfiring the first argument. As that means this is to stem for unemployment and secure the idle can become para-military and militia members, which can be deployed in need by the state. That is a hectic organization and also very confusing to say the least.

Fano is not a superpower, but a state under the control of the government. Anyone who deviates from this and is interested should not be called by the name of Fano. The regional government, from its political leadership onwards, wants to be organized in an orderly manner. But this is not about disarmament, it is from my opinion that the administration of the armed forces should be seen in a process and led in a system” (Amhara Communications, 2022).

They make it seems like it is an institution and part of the armed forces, but at the same time it’s ordinary folks who just take up arms. They are just unsigned recruits and militia members who can be called up in need. Therefore, you cannot disarm them or disband them. As they are own entity, but at the same under the system of the Armed Forces (ENDF). Which doesn’t make total sense either.

So, it seems like the Amhara Regional State and Amhara Prosperity Party doesn’t have their minds totally made up. As they are initiated as a part of the army. Therefore, these units and this formation isn’t something to overlook. It has already cast a spell on the ones in power. They cannot disarm them and will use them. This means they are part of the Regional State defence organization and will not be disbanded. That is perfectly clear. They are even praising their achievements and what they have done. Which means the Amhara Regional State are proud of their acts and military offensives… and that should send out red-flags and worrying signals.

As the Fano has participated in vicious massacres and ethnic cleansing together with the EDF in the Tigray Region. That has been reported and needs to be investigated. Since, these forces hasn’t been used to secure cattle in Gondar or rearing goats around Bahir Dar. Peace.

Ethiopia: Tigray Independence Party (TIP) & Salsay Weyane Tigray (SaWeT) – Joint Press Release – A call for a transitional government in Tigray (15.01.2022)

Ethiopia: Tigray Human Rights Forum – Statement on the Mass Detention of Tigrayans in Ethiopia (14.01.2022)

Ethiopia: Oromia Liberation Front/Army (OLF-OLA) – High Command – Eritrean Troops Redeployment Into Oromia (14.01.2022)

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