Ethiopia PM says security forces committed “terrorist acts” against citizens

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Ethiopia’s prime minister Abiy Ahmed has publicly accused the country’s security forces of committing “terrorist acts” against citizens.

Ethiopia has spent much of the past three years grappling with violent protests, largely motivated by the actions of security forces in the East African nation. Ahmed, who was sworn in last April and tasked with bringing stability back to the country, has hinted at political reforms to deal with Ethiopia’s security issues and now the PM is admitting the failings of security forces in the past.

Abiy admits security forces’ wrongdoings

“Our constitution doesn’t allow it, but we have been torturing, causing bodily damages and even putting inmates in dark prison cells,” Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said while addressing parliament on Monday.

“These were terrorist acts committed by us, and using force just to stay in power is a terrorist act too,” he added.

Since coming into power last April, Abiy has released more than 1,000 political prisoners arrested by security forces and hinted at changing controversial anti-terror laws that have been used to detain opposition members, journalists and government critics.

Andargachew Tsige, who was found guilty on charges of terrorism and sentenced to death in absentia in 2009 over his role in the opposition group Ginbot 7, is one of those to be released under Abiy’s tenure.

While Ahmed’s comments over the conduct of security forces in the past doesn’t guarantee significant change, the new PM has now addressed two of the major concerns behind the violent protests taking place in Ethiopia over the past few years – the behaviour of security forces and the use of anti-terror laws to stifle freedom of speech.

Fetaured 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.