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  • World - Africa
  • Updated: April 11, 2023

Aid Workers Killed In Troubled Region Of Ethiopia

Aid Workers Killed In Troubled Region Of Ethiopia

A member of the Ethiopian Defense Forces walks away from a damaged military truck.

The Ethiopian government has announced that two employees of Catholic Relief Services (CRS) were shot dead over the weekend in the Amhara region of northern Ethiopia, which has been plagued by unrest for several days, the NGO said on Tuesday.

Protests and road blockades have been recorded in Amhara since last Thursday when the federal administration began the process of disarming and reassigning personnel of regional military groups to the federal army or the police.

For the past 15 years, certain regional authorities have developed these groups, called "special forces" in Ethiopia, outside of any legal framework.

According to the SRC, "Chuol Tongyik, a security officer, and Amare Kindeya, a driver, were shot dead in an SRC vehicle in the Amhara region on their way back to Addis Ababa after a mission."

"The circumstances of their murder," which occurred on Sunday, "are unknown," according to the Catholic NGO located in the United States.

CRS has been operating in Ethiopia for about 60 years, according to its website.

The situation in Amhara is impossible to judge because the city is closed to the press "for security reasons".

On Monday, limitations were placed on three of Amhara's largest towns: Gondar, Dessie, and Debre Birhan, including bans on nighttime transportation and gatherings.

The rules were issued by each town's military "command post," implying that the federal army is now in charge of their security.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed vowed to complete the disarmament process "at any cost" and warned that "the law will be applied against those who deliberately play a destabilizing role."

The administration asserts that the process is taking place throughout the country, but for the time being, the disturbance is isolated to Amhara, whose formidable "special forces" offered critical help to the federal army during the two-year military battle with the Tigray authorities.

An accord agreed in November halted the war, but Ethiopia is still torn apart by many local disputes, many of which are connected to the reawakening of identity and land claims after Abiy's election in 2018, following three decades of administration by a coalition led by the Tigrayan minority.

The Amhara, Ethiopia's second biggest ethnic group, have long constituted the country's political and economic elite. Territorial disputes pit the Tigrayans against the Oromo, Ethiopia's largest ethnic group.

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