West News Wire: The United Nations Human Rights Office (OHCHR) reported on Tuesday that fighting between the Ethiopian National Defence Force (ENDF) and local Fano militia members in the Amhara area had resulted in at least 183 deaths since July.
The government outlawed public meetings under a state of emergency rule that was implemented in reaction to the violence earlier this month, according to the UN, and more than 1,000 individuals had been detained nationwide as a result, three journalists among them.
The organisation expressed worry about the “deteriorating human rights situation in some regions of Ethiopia,” saying in a statement that “detainees have reportedly been placed in improvised detention centres that lack basic amenities.”
The OHCHR also claimed to have received reports that at least 250 ethnic Tigrayans had been detained in the disputed area of Western Tigray, where the federal government vowed last week to dissolve all illegal administrations.
Fighting flared in Ethiopia’s northern Amhara region earlier in August after months of tensions arising from a government order for regional security forces to be integrated into the federal police or army.
Last Friday, the president of the Amhara state, Yilkal Kefale, resigned from his role, explaining his decision by reference to challenges, including the region’s “complex” political struggle and a lack of an adequate conflict-resolution strategy.
He said the unrest had worsened and that peace efforts to address the escalating security crisis had failed.
There have been prior allegations of officials making numerous arrests in Addis Abeba, the capital, as well as the Amhara area. The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission called on the federal government to stop the arrests after learning on August 14 that ethnic Amharas were being held in large numbers.
Fighting is still going on despite reports that federal forces have retaken several significant cities and villages that had previously belonged to Fano rebels in the area.
Conflicting parties were asked by the UN to “stop killings, other violations, and abuses,” stressing that “grievances must be addressed through dialogue and political process.”