Four Feared Dead in Gondar Prison Standoff

Politics News
Demeke Zewdu Gondar prison
A shootout ensued in Ethiopia’s restive region of Amhara between Gondar prison police and the federal police resulting in the death of three police officers and a prisoner.

By ESAT News,

Three police officers and a prisoner have reportedly been killed in a shootout between the federal police and prison police in a dispute to take custody of Colonel Demeke Zewdu, the leader of the movement in the Amhara region.

The Amhara region has been hit by anti-government protests since this summer after an uprising ensued the arrest of a committee that spearheads the demands of the people of Wolkait, Tsegede and Telemt. They are demanding to reclaim their land that was illegally incorporated into Tigray region when the Tigrayan-led regime took power 25 years ago.

The Colonel is at the Angereb prison in Gondar since July after he killed two TPLF operatives who came from Tigray to put him under their custody without a court warrant.

The federal police have been trying to take custody of Col. Demeke Zewdu for the last three days but the local police have refused resulting in a shootout between the two forces, according to ESAT’s sources.

Repeated attempts by the federal forces to put him under solitary confinement failed due to prisoners revolt against the move. One prisoner has reportedly been killed over the weekend.

The federal prosecutor in Addis Ababa on Wednesday brought charges against Col Demeke and et al accusing them of terrorism.

The charge accuses the plaintiffs were responsible for the loss of lives and property in the protests in the Amhara region which was sparked by the arrest of members of the committee that spearheads the demand by the people of Wolkait, Tsegede and Telemt.

Over 23,000 Arrested Under Ethiopia’s State of Emergency

By ESAT News,

Over 23 thousand people have been detained since the declaration of the state of emergency in October following a yearlong anti-government protest in Ethiopia that saw the death of over 700 people in the hands of security forces.

Head of the command post in charge of the state of emergency, minister of defense Siraj Fegesa told local media that 18 of the detainees were members of the government’s security force.

Government officials meanwhile said over the weekend that about 9,000 people would be released on Wednesday.

About 12,500 people have been detained in the second and new round of mass arrest, according to the minister. The command post last month said 11,000 people have been arrested in the first round of which 2,449 will be charged. The minister did not say what charges would be brought against the detainees.

The detainees were not told reasons of their arrest and formal charges have not been brought against them.

All prisons in Ethiopia are over capacity and the regime is using military camps and government buildings as concentration camps.