Drone Strike Kills at Least 26 Protestors

REPORT: 26 Protestors KILLED - Tensions Boil Over

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The situation in Ethiopia’s Amhara region has escalated as rebel groups attempt to topple the local authority. After months of violent protests over land issues, officials attempted to halt the unrest with a truce in April, but the battle continued. New waves of violence and demonstrations have broken out as a result of the revival of a militia group. Residents of a community called Finote Selam have lately assembled in protest of federal takeover plans intended to counteract the rebels’ presence in the area. At least 26 protesters were reportedly killed in a drone strike, though details are sketchy at best.

There have been reports of retaliation by the Ethiopian government against a militia known as the Fano, who are upset that their leaders supposedly gave up territory in the Tigray region without due process during the country’s civil war ceasefire in November. The nine-month truce was not very long-lasting. There has been relatively little unrest, but some disgruntled Amhara locals have tried to seize control of strategic areas. Both groups of people feel strongly about their right to the border territory.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018 for his work to bring peace to his country. Some current residents claim he has compromised regional security and abandoned the Amhara people. It has been alleged that members of this ethnic minority are being persecuted all over Ethiopia, and some locals have even accused the government of carrying out a genocide. According to a recent article in The New Humanitarian, locals don’t see the Fano as terrorists, but as “liberators” fighting a homicidal despot.

Ahmed’s April move to integrate regional security forces into the national police and federal military is said to have sparked the most recent confrontation. The Fano people, seeing this as a negative development, reacted violently, blocking highways and allegedly stealing firearms and ammunition from jails and police stations.

The Ethiopian government rejects the Fano’s accusations and maintains it is only trying to strengthen its hold on power and make the country more stable.

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