Ethiopia has released several opposition leaders from prison, state broadcasters reported yesterday. The government said it would begin dialogue with political opponents after a 14-month war in which thousands were arrested.
The transition from several ethnic groups to free leaders has been the most important breakthrough since the outbreak of war in northern Tigray threatened the unification of Africa’s second most populous state.
Some of the liberated people are leaders of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), a party that fights Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s central government.
“The key to lasting peace is dialogue,” a statement from the Government Communications Bureau said. “One of the moral obligations of the victor is mercy.”
The released list of the state-owned Ethiopian Broadcasting System included two senior political leaders in Oromia. Bekere Gerva, senior leader of the Oromia Parliamentary Party, and Javal Mohamed, the founder of the Oromia Media Network.
Bekele Gerva’s son Samuel Bekele later tweeted that two men had been released.
Two men were charged with terrorist crimes in September 2020.
Oromia is the home of Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group and the political center of Abby.
Oromia has a long-standing rebellion rooted in dissatisfaction with security agencies’ perceptions of political alienation and infringement.
Eskinder Nega, the leader of the Valderas for Genuine Democratic Opposition, has been released, his party announced on Twitter.
Amharic journalist and blogger Eskinder has been charged with Jawar, Bekele, and more than 12 other political activists.
Among the liberated people are Abey Weldu, the former president of Tigre, and Sebat Nega, the founder of the TPLF.
Getachew Reda, a TPLF spokesman, couldn’t get in touch immediately for comment.
“This is the first sign that the federal government is taking serious steps towards a political reconciliation,” said Will Davison, senior Ethiopian analyst at the Brussels-based think-tank International Crisis Group. Said.
But he warned that the release of several prisoners did not mean the resolution of the war.
After the outbreak of the war in November 2020, Abby’s army, backed by Eritrean troops, immediately occupied major cities.
The government declared victory three weeks later.
Months of fighting and reports of serious infringement continued.
Ethiopian and Eritrean troops withdrew from most of Tigray at the end of June, but the United Nations said a “virtual government blockade” prevented aid from entering.
The government denied blocking aid.
They said they wanted to reopen the supply line for humanitarian aid, and in July Tigrinya troops pushed the south and east into the neighborhoods of Afar and Amhara, leaving reports of infringement.
They announced an alliance with the rebellious Oromo Liberation Army in August, threatening the capital and attempting to cut the main transport corridor.
However, the army pushed the Tigray army back to Tigray in December with the support of a newly purchased drone.
Sporadic combat and airstrikes continue in parts of Tigray.
No humanitarian assistance has been provided since December 15. Doctors at major hospitals in the area say it’s been a week since the collapse.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the release of opposition leaders yesterday and said he was looking forward to improving humanitarian access to all areas affected by the conflict.
He called on the parties to the conflict to build what he said on the basis of “significant trust-building steps.”
http://www.gulf-times.com/story/707595/Ethiopia-frees-opposition-leaders-from-prison Ethiopia releases opposition leaders from prison