News: PP head in Amhara region says regional officials’s failure led to ongoing violence over decision to “reorganise” special forces

Girma Yeshitila, head of the Prosperity Party and member of the executive committee in the Amhara regional state, in an exclusive interview with Amhara Media Corporation.

Addis Abeba – Girma Yeshitila, head of the Prosperity Party and member of the executive committee in the Amhara regional state, claimed that the sustained mass protests in the Amhara region were the result of poor leadership on the part of the task force commissioned with reorganizing the special forces in the area.

According to him, the responsible reorganizing team was unable to adequately notify the public about the reorganization plan, and the media concentrated on disseminating political sabotage and inaccurate information irrelevant to the actual picture of the plan.

The regional special force was confused and enraged by a letter that was sent by a member of the reorganizing execution team ordering the disarmament of the force without a formal discussion with all of the force’s members and knowledge of the government and political leadership, stated Girma in an exclusive interview with the regional media, Amhara Media Corporation. The letter has been circulating on social media.

He criticized the task force for spreading information, saying “the government decided to disband the special forces”, while the path taken by the task force to carry out the work was largely planned, conceiving the big picture of forming a “centralized national army.”

The task force was further censured for giving impression that the government is working to disarm the special force and put the Amhara people in a “precarious situation” and not performing its responsibilities properly.

“Military weapons and various armors being used by the special forces are primarily aimed at strengthening the region in accordance with military discipline,” said Girma.

Despite the fact that both the federal and regional governments had authorized the decision to reorganize special forces throughout all regions, the Amhara region’s implementation has resulted in tension between the executors, Amhara people, and special forces.

The people in the region have been concerned about the timing and security issues for fear that the decision would leave them vulnerable to attacks from neighboring regions since there is no guarantee that the country is at complete peace, said Girma.

He further said that the northern conflict was settled, Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) has pledged to resolve all disputes amicably through dialogue and for that matter the fear of the people has no basis.

In the past five days, mass protests have taken place in several major cities in the Amhara region, including the capital Bahir Dar, Gondar, Dessie, Woldia, Kobo, etc., against the government’s move to reorganize regional special forces into regular police and the national army. Many city entrances and exits were blocked in addition to the demonstrations.

The protests erupted in the Amhara region following announcement by the federal government on April 6 that “practical activities” had been started to dissolve the controversial regional state special forces and “reorganize” them into regular regional and federal police, as well as the national army. 

In some cities, clashes erupted between government security forces and civilians, as well as between members of regional special forces and the national army. In Kobo town in the North Wollo zone of Amhara region, the sound of heavy artillery was heard in the town on Sunday night.

Yelikal Kefale (PhD), president of Amhara Regional State, subsequently, announced that the decision was made with the support of the federal and regional administrations and will be carried out across all regions; “There was no explicit decision to disarm and disband the special forces in the Amhara region.” AS

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