Ethiopian authorities have arrested over 4,000 individuals in the northern Amhara region, local state media said on Monday, as part of a broader crackdown against militia fighters, critics, and the press.
Gizachew Muluneh, spokeswoman for the Amhara regional administration, and Legesse Tulu, spokesperson for the federal government, did not respond promptly to demands for comment on the arrest wave.
Desalegne Tasew, an Amhara state security officer, informed the Amhara Media Corporation that more than 200 of the individuals are accused of murder and “illegal actions” in the name of the Fano paramilitary group. It was unclear why the remaining individuals were detained.
Tasew provided no evidence to support his accusations of murder. Reuters was incapable of independently confirming the claims.
Amhara is Ethiopia’s second-most populous area and a crucial constituency for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
When fighting broke out in northern Tigray in 2020, Amhara forces and the Fano militia backed Abiy’s federal soldiers against dissident groups; however, relations between certain key Amhara leaders and the central government have subsequently deteriorated.