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Tigray conflict: Ethiopia seeks arrest of top soldiers

Dec 13, 2020
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Ethiopia has issued arrest warrants for more than 40 former senior military officers in connection with the conflict in the restive northern Tigray region.

This is according to a statement issued by the Federal Police Commission on Friday night.

Major General Tsadkan Gebretensay, a former chief of staff of the country’s armed defence forces, is among the senior military officers whose arrest warrants were issued.

Police said that the arrest warrant was issued for at least 40 former Ethiopian Air Force, defence forces and police officers on suspicion of treason and kidnapping of members of the federal  defence forces and police who were based in Tigray.

Over 1,000 members of the Northern Command Force were kidnapped by TPLF on the evening of November 4 after they were invited to a dinner party by the former regional governing-party-turned insurgent group.

Citing its investigations outcome, police said Col Berhe WoldeMichael and Commissioner Yehdego Seyoum were the two TPLF senior members who coordinated and led the kidnapping of members of the northern command forces and the federal police in the region.

Some 1,000 officers who had been held hostage by TPLF forces were freed a few days ago.

The statement further said that the 40 former military officers are suspected of plotting to carry out an attack in the country and thereby derail the constitution.

It added that they were either former members of national defence who betrayed the army or retired military officers.

The federal police added that a federal team comprising of commandos and crime investigations team will start a hunt in the Tigray capital, Mekelle, in a bid to arrest all suspects.

Last month, the Federal Police Commission issued an arrest warrant against 76 generals, senior military officers and junior officers on suspicion of “treason and for collaboration with the TPLF”.

Prior to the recent arrest warrants against military and police officers, an Ethiopian court had issued arrest warrants against TPLF leaders who are suspected of serious crimes.

Among TPLF leaders taken to police custody so far are former speaker of the House of Federation, Keria Ibrahim, and former deputy chief of staff of the Tigray Regional State, Addis Alem Balema, who appeared in court for the first time a few days ago.

Interim cabinet

Meanwhile, the newly elected chief executive of the Tigray regional state, Mulu Nega, on Saturday told local reporters that an interim cabinet will be operational soon.

He also ordered government employees to resume work starting Monday.

“If a government employee does not return to work as of Monday, he or she will be deemed to have resigned voluntarily,” he said.

Businesses were also told to resume operations immediately.

He warned that the interim administration will take action against businesses that fail to comply.

House to house search

The Tigray CEO also urged people to return any type of arms they may be having to the regional government.

He urged arms holders to hand over weapons by Tuesday.

“There will be a home to home search after Tuesday. Anyone found holding weapon during the search will be held accountable,” he said.




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