News Update: Council of Ministers green lights state of emergency declaration in restive Amhara region

The Council of Ministers (CoM) 23rd regular meeting. Photo: PMO

Addis Abeba – Ethiopia’s Council of Ministers (CoM) in its 23rd regular meeting has this morning passed a unanimous decision for a declaration of a state of emergency in the restive Amhara regional state, where months-long militarized engagement between government forces and the non-state Fano militia is increasing, and as it is “necessary to take emergency measures to maintain public peace and security and to enforce law and order.”

The statement from CoM released after the meeting stated that the security situation in the regional state has become “a threat to national security and public safety,” necessitating the need for a formal declaration of a state of emergency. “The armed illegal activities” in the Amhara regional sate “have become impossible to control through the regular law enforcement mechanism,” the Council said, adding that the armed activities have “greatly disrupted the overall economic and social activities of the residents of the region and threatened the constitutional order.”

The Council further stated that the government “has been making repeated calls for peace so that all armed forces follow a peaceful and legal path”, regardless, the “political, social and economic activities of the region are being severely damaged due to the attacks being carried out by armed extremist groups.”

The Council’s decision today followed a letter issued yesterday by the president of Amhara regional state, Yelikal Kefale requesting the federal government to intervene in the region and “implement the necessary legal framework” in order to control the deteriorating security crisis in the region.

The letter urged the federal government to take “appropriate measures based on the FDRE constitution” stating that the security situation was causing major humanitarian, social and economic issues, and it is no longer possible to control the situation with regular law enforcement authorities.

On Wednesday, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Demeke Mekonen, has issued a statement via his official Facebook page concerning the escalating security problems in various areas of the Amhara region. He cautioned against any approach deviating from peaceful negotiation, warning that such strategies impede the progress towards a resolution, risk existing achievements, and further complicate the quest for long-term solutions.

Mr. Demeke also addressed  the unmet expectations and challenges in the region brought about by recent changes. He advised a thoughtful approach to these issues, recommending the pursuit of durable, peaceful resolutions.

Earlier on the same day, the regional president has cautioned against the detrimental effects of road blockades and restrictions on people’s movements, citing significant social, economic, and political repercussions, stating that the conflict is resulting in mutual destruction and causing significant human casualties.

It is recalled that on 01 August, Colonel Getnet Adane, Director of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces Public Relations Directorate, warned to take actions against forces that it said were “disturbing the country’s peace in the name of Fano.” AS

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