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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Ethiopian national security council says security situation improving 

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Ethiopian National Security Council (ENSC) said on Wednesday the security situation in the East African country has improved over the past 45 days.

Siraj Fegessa, Defense Minister of Ethiopia and coordinator at ENSC, said measures undertaken to prevent road blockage by protesters and illegal rallies have been successful.

He also said 270 rifles, 200 handguns, 65,000 rifle ammunitions and 1,000 artillery ammunitions have been intercepted in recent days as they were about to be smuggled to Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa.

Ethiopia faced in 2016 unrest that killed hundreds dubbed by analysts the gravest challenge to the ruling coalition, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front in 25 years.

The unrest which focused on the two most populous regional states Oromia and Amhara led to an imposition of martial law in October 2016 which was only lifted in August 2017.

However, starting September the Ethiopian government has become alarmed at growing signs of renewed unrest in the two regional states.

Many ethnic Oromos and Amharas, who make about 33 and 27 percent of Ethiopia’s estimated 100 million population, accuse ethnic Tigrayans who make up six percent of the total population of unduly dominating the country’s political and economic scene.

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EARLIER REPORT:

Ethiopia releases top opposition figure

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- The Ethiopian government on Wednesday released Merera Gudina, Chairman of Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC).

He was released as the Ethiopian government had discontinued criminal and terror charges against him and 527 others as part of its pledge to build national consensus.

Gudina, who was received by thousands of supporters in his resident city, Burayu, 15 km west of capital Addis Ababa, was in prison for 413 days for allegedly conspiring with an outlawed rebel group Ginbot 7.

He had vehemently denied the allegations stating they were politically motivated and he was a peaceful political activist.

“Our party, myself remained legal and we were operating in a legal framework all along,” he told journalists.

Nevertheless, Gudina emphasized the Ethiopian government needs to keep its words on political reform and release of still imprisoned political activists including Bekele Gerba, Deputy Chair of OFC.

“How to deal with government call for national dialogue, if it’s real and honest we are for it. We expect rest of our members remaining in prison will be out soon, if the government will follow up, it will be a real breakthrough in this country,” he said.

While Gudina is already looking forward to future negotiations with the Ethiopian government, his supporters took the day as simply one to celebrate their leader’s freedom.

“I don’t have a word to express it. It’s a big day for me because I went to see my leader Dr. Merera,” Berhanu Bekele told Xinhua.

Ethiopia faced in 2016 unrest that killed hundreds, dubbed by analysts the gravest challenge to the ruling coalition, Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front in 25 years.

The unrest involving parts of the populous regions of Amhara, Oromia and Southern led to an imposition of martial law in October 2016 which was only lifted in August 2017.

             

 

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