Ethiopia: PM vows to reform national security laws

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Ethiopia’s prime minister has vowed to reform the country’s national security laws following years of violent protests.

Abiy Ahmed, who was sworn in as the nation’s new leader earlier this month, told citizens living in and around Addis Ababa and reporters on Sunday that his government will work to heal Ethiopia’s crisis by reforming the security sector and reviewing oppressive laws.

Ethiopia PM promises reforms

Speaking at a public address in Addis Ababa on Sunday, Ahmed promised to establish accountability in the security sector. During the past few years, security forces have clamped down on protests with impunity, often using live ammunition to disperse crowds of demonstrators.

Hundreds of people have been killed and thousands more arrested by security forces over the last three years.

Last month, the country’s army killed at least 12 civilians in Moyale after allegedly receiving an inaccurate intelligence report suggesting the victims were members of a militia group. The Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) has been involved in multiple clashes with civilians since 2015 and PM Ahmed is promising to bring accountability to the actions of security forces in the country.

Ahmed raises hopes for change

Ethiopia’s recent security troubles stemmed from anti-g0vernment protests that originated int he Oromia region and spread to other parts of the country. What started as demonstrations against government plans to encroach on Oromia territory turned into a fight f0r civil rights as security forces clamped down with increasing violence.

Ethiopia’s new prime minister – the first ethnic Oromo to take the position – is tasked with calming political dissent while maintaining his government’s authority. Reforming the country’s security sector alone won’t be enough to fix Ethiopia’s political crisis but it shows Abiy Ahmed is tackling the root cause of this issue.

On Monday, the government also lifted a three-month internet blackout that silenced the country’s online communications. This is another key issue Ahmed’s govenrment will need to find a solution for: the seemingly irrepressible desire Ethiopians have to express their opinions freely, which includes criticising the ruling party when they see fit.

Featured image: Twitter

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.