Authorities in Ethiopia’s northern Amhara region have arrested four employees of a US-based online media outlet, while the whereabouts of two others were unclear, the outlet said on Sunday in the latest round of media-linked arrests.
The arrests would add five reporters Thursday to another Amhara media outlet, which their aides said were reports of the activity of a local volunteer militia, known as Fano.
“We have four confirmed employees who are in jail and two are unidentified. Of the four, one (a) is a full-time editor, one is in the process of recruiting for the editor position, one full-time reporter, one human resources and finance leadership,” Nisir International Broadcasting Management said in a message to Reuters on Sunday.
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Nisir said three employees were arrested on Thursday and two are in custody in the regional capital, Bahir Dar. Nisir said the third employee and the fourth employee who were arrested on Friday are in the town of Geyant, about 160 km (100 miles) from Bahir Dar.
Legacy Tulu, a spokesman for the Amhara Regional Administration and spokesman for the government, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Nisir describes itself as an impartial and independent online media agency focusing on Ethiopian news, paying close attention to the Amhara region. It did not specify the reason for the arrest.
Amhara is the second most populous region in Ethiopia, and a major constituency for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. But recently some Amhara leaders who had previously supported his government have publicly criticized Tigre’s handling of the war with the neighboring region.
Amhara forces and Fano militia supported Abiy’s federal troops against rebel forces in the northern Tigre when fighting began there in 2020.
Critics say Abiy, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018 after taking over as a reformer, is cracking down on discontent around Ethiopia. He says he is guaranteeing stability and law and order in the multi-ethnic nation.
In another case, Addis Ababa-based talk show host Solomon Schumey was arrested on Friday, taken to court along with three others and ordered into custody for 14 days, his sister Tigist Schumey told Reuters. Told.
Solomon has been critical of the government and the war in the Tigre.
Government spokesman Legacy and Addis Ababa Police Commission spokesman Marcos Tadese did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment on the arrests.
The arrests add to a prominent general critic of Abiy and some ethnic Amhara activists in the past week.
The state-appointed Ethiopian Human Rights Commission said in a statement on Sunday that “the recent arrests do not comply with basic human rights principles and are unfair”.
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