– Ethiopia apologizes to opposition and rebel leaders
The Ethiopian government hopes that the announcement will “pave the way for a lasting, peaceful and non-violent solution to Ethiopia’s problems.”
The Ethiopian government on Friday announced a general amnesty and the release of several imprisoned politicians, including opposition leaders and the TPLF, an insurgent group from the northern Tigris region.
The surprise announcement comes after Prime Minister Abi Ahmed, who has been ravaging the country for 14 months due to clashes between the federal government and rebels, called for “national reconciliation” launched earlier Friday during the Orthodox Christmas celebrations. Tigre People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
The government statement said that the purpose of the amnesty was to “find a lasting solution to Ethiopia’s problems in a peaceful and non – violent way.” “The key to lasting unity is dialogue. Ethiopia will make all sacrifices for this purpose”, according to the text, which lists the names of several opposition leaders but also key members of the TPLF.
The TPLF, the party that has ruled Ethiopia for nearly 30 years, has been armed since Prime Minister Abi Ahmed sent the federal army to Tigris in November 2020 to oust regional officials who challenged his authority and blamed him. Attacked military bases.
It was not immediately clear how many of the detainees involved had already been released. Nevertheless, the opposition Baldres party announced the release of its founder, Eskinder Nega, an opposition figure whose name appeared on the amnesty list.
The party posted on Facebook a photo of Eskinder Nega and one of his fellow inmates raising their fists outside the Kaliti High Security Prison in Addis Ababa where they were being held.
The list of pardoned individuals includes former media chief Jawar Mohammed, a member of the Oromo Federalist Congress. Abi Ahmed’s former ally – Oromo himself, the country’s largest ethnic group – has become one of Jawar Mohammad’s fiercest opponents.
Like Eskinder Nega, Jawar Mohammed was arrested along with other opposition figures in July 2020, after the violence erupted in Adis Ababa last month, sparked by violence, with the most popular singer, Hachalu Handesa, carrying the Oromo flag.
Against the backdrop of racial tensions and hatred, these demonstrations and violence killed 239 people in a few days. Among the TPLF officials cited in the government statement are Sibat Nega – one of the founders of the party – Kidusan Nega, Abe Volt, Abadi Jemu (former ambassador to Sudan) and Mulu Keprajiaber.
The conflict in Tigray, home to six million people, has claimed thousands of lives and territory, and there is a shortage of food and medicine, subject to what the United Nations calls the “real siege” of humanitarian aid. On Twitter, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres welcomed the apology. “I am actively involved in helping end the fighting in Ethiopia and restore peace and stability,” he added.