Dumas in court, as Ethiopia said, security guards ordered attack on PM »Manila Bulletin News



ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Dozens of Ethiopian security officials have appeared in court today after a state prosecutor charged the security guards who ordered a shell attack on Prime Minister Abye Ahmed.

PHOTO PHOTO: Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed speaks at a media conference at Elysee Palace in Paris, France, on October 29, 2018. Michel Euler / Pool via REUTERS / File Photo / MANILA BILTEN

PHOTO PHOTO: Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed speaks at a media conference at Elysee Palace in Paris, France, on October 29, 2018. Michel Euler / Pool via REUTERS / File Photo / MANILA BILTEN

The arrests turned out to be a key moment for Abijah, who began the stormy door of economic, political and diplomatic reforms since he came to power in April.

Chief State Prosecutor Berhan Tsegaye said that the evidence showed that the "National Security Agency's leadership" told members of Abi's ethnic group Oromo to attack him at a rally in June.

The claim is revealed in an ethnically diverse country that has seen recent ethnic conflicts, and Abiy is the first leader of Oromo in the ruling coalition.

Berhanu told a press conference that arrest warrants were issued for 36 security guards accused of abusing prisoners and more than 30 military company officials, which, according to investigations, revealed misconduct.

Reuters could not immediately contact the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) or an industrial conglomerate appointed by the Attorney General – Metals and Engineering Corporation (METEC).

A few hours later, 36 senior officials from security forces, including the NISS police and the federal and Addis Ababa, and 26 METEC officials appeared in the federal high court in the capital.

The court session was held until 9 am, a rarity in Ethiopia, and the judge handed a security to the suspected suspects and gave the police 14 days for the investigation. Nobody was charged.

The judges said that the deputy chief of METEC, Tene Kurunda, and the wife of former deputy head of the NISS Yared Zerihun. Yared was moved from this role to lead the federal police in April, but resigned three months later.

For decades, Ethiopia's security services have had the power, such as METEC, which is a key player in the economy dominated by the state and the military.

Abiy's reforms were challenged by the security services and inspired by the policies and hierarchies launched by his ruling EPRDF coalition in 1991.

He promised to open the state sectors to investors and acknowledge police brutality, which he compared with state terrorism. He also calmed down with neighboring Eritrea and announced pardons for previously banned Orom's rebels and other groups.

A grenade attack killed two people in Addis Ababa in June, shortly after Abiy left the stage. In September, the authorities arrested five people and said that members of the former exiled Liberation Front Oromo were abducted by Abiy.

"The evidence we have gathered shows that the leadership of the National Security Agency has commissioned Oromos to carry out an attack because it would mean that Oromos killed the Prime Minister – Oromos," said the Attorney General at a press conference. "It would also (and) create the impression that the population of Oromo does not support it."

Berhanu said that several suspects escaped from Ethiopia or were hiding, and investigations in the past five months have revealed serious abuse of security services.

"There are people who have been blinded after they have been in the dark for a long time, others have remained infertile due to genital punching. Some have had broken coats. Women have been exposed to rash and men have been sodomized," Berhan told reporters.

He said that investigations also revealed problems with METEC procurement procedures.

"For six years, METEC has made international purchases in the total amount of $ 2 billion without any bidding procedures," Berhan said without designating international companies.

He said that the investigation had examined the METEC contract for Lake Grand Renaissance, the central part of Ethiopia's offer, which became the largest African energy exporter.

In August, the government canceled a contract stating delays in completing the project.

Until recently, members of the Tigrayan Group were dominated by Ethiopian governments. Ethiopia has achieved 10% economic growth over the past decade, but rights groups say the government has avoided disagreement.

Abiy became the first leader of Oromo EPRDF, after anti-government protests helped his predecessor to resign.

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