Intelligence chief Temesgen Tiruneh to lead command post overseeing SoE in Amhara region, ministry of justice reveals further details

Addis Abeba – The Ministry of Justice has disclosed further details of the proclamation which was unanimously passed by the council of ministers on Friday to declare a state of emergency in the Amhara region. According to the proclamation, a general command to execute the state of emergency has been established with Temesgen Tiruneh, Director General of National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), who was the former president of the Amhara region named to lead the command post. 

Additional details regarding the composition, structure, and specific roles within the command post will be determined by the Prime Minister. The command post will be held accountable directly to the Prime Minister, ensuring a unified response to the crisis.

Gedeon Themothewos, minister of Justice, while presenting the details of the proclamation said the proclamation will last for six months, but if deemed necessary, the House of people’s representatives could decide to end the state of emergency before six months. The state of emergency will primarily be implemented in the Amhara regional state, but in the wake of situations that exacerbate the security crisis in the region or nationwide, the state of emergency can be implemented anywhere in the country. 

The proclamation also outlined several measures and restrictions during the state of emergency, with every individual required to follow the instructions, orders, and decisions passed under the decree. Accordingly, any speech or agitation, direct or indirect, that contradicts the objectives of the emergency declaration or undermines the activities of the State of Emergency Operation Command is strictly prohibited. Any form of encouragement towards violent activity, actions causing fear among peaceful citizens, or activities that could potentially exacerbate security breaches are also forbidden.

Additionally, the declaration explicitly bans any form of support, whether financial, informational, material, or moral, to armed groups, directly or indirectly. Public meetings or peaceful demonstrations can only take place with the explicit permission of the State of Emergency Operation Command. Furthermore, the carrying of weapons without explicit permission from the Command Post is strictly prohibited. 

Among other key restrictions, the proclamation entails that the command post is authorized to shutdown, discontinue, cancel licenses or limit operations of media houses and other entities suspected to be working against the proclamation. The State of emergency operation command, according to the proclamation, can reestablish local administrative structures and pass decisions on administrative and security issues. 

The Council of Ministers, announcing the declaration of the state of emergency, said in a statement that the security situation in the Amhara regional state has become “a threat to national security and public safety”, adding that the armed activities have “greatly disrupted the overall economic and social activities of the residents of the region and threatened the constitutional order.”

The Council’s decision followed a letter issued on 03 August by the president of Amhara regional state, Yelikal Kefale requesting the federal government to intervene in the region and “implement the necessary legal framework” in order to control the deteriorating security crisis in the region. The letter urged the federal government to take “appropriate measures based on the FDRE constitution” stating that the security situation was causing major humanitarian, social and economic issues, and it is no longer possible to control the situation with regular law enforcement authorities.

This comes amidst reports of escalation of months-long militarized engagement between government forces and the non-state Fano militia. AS

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