Ethiopia: Prime minister accused of ethnic clampdown

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The Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) has accused Ethiopian prime minister Abiy Ahmed of attacking members of the Tigrayan ethnic group in a recent clampdown on security and corruption.

Party leader Debretsion Gebremichael has said that recent arrests by authorities show the clampdown is “being used to attack Tigrayans,” which comprises 6% of Ethiopia’s 100 million population. His comments follow the arrest of dozens of security and businesses people last week, many of whom are from the Tigray ethnic community.

PM accused of ethnic clampdown

The TPLF is one of Ethiopia’s most prominent political groups and the former majority party in the country’s leading coalition. However, an internal partnership between the Oromo Democratic Party (ODP) and the Amhara Democratic Party (ADP) took majority influence away from the TPLF and paved the way for ODP chairman Abiy Ahmed to be selected as the country’s prime minister in April.

Since coming into power, Ahmed has implemented a regime of sweeping reforms, including peace deals with neighbouring Eritrea and Ethiopian rebel groups, as well as targeting corrupt officials and security officials committing human rights violations.

Many of these issues were prevalent under the previous TPLF majority government and Amnesty International has welcomed last week’s arrests, calling many of them “infamous for perpetrating gross human rights violations.”

However, TPLF chairman Debretsion is accusing the prime minister of ethnically targeting the Tigrays and contested the arrests, claiming there is “foreign involvement” – although he stopped short of naming any state or agency.

Featured image: By Odaw – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=66598891

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.