BY BILEH JELAN @BILEHJELAN
Addis Abeba March 24, 2021 – In a statement released on March 23, the Amhara Regional State chapter of the ruling Prosperity Party (PP), Amhara Prosperity Party (APP) condemend earlier statement released by the Oromia Prosperity Party (OPP) blaming the recent violence in both Oromo Special Zone and North Shewa Zone of the Amhara Regional State on members of the Amhara Special Forces.
In the Statement the APP stood by the regional administration statement that accused both “OLF-Shene” and “TPLF” for being behind the recent violence, the statement said, “While the party acknowledge that the two zones where the ongoing violence is taking place are known to enjoy peaceful coexistence, the party also wants to bring to public attention that claims made about the nonexistence of the OLF-Shene group in the area are false for two reasons”, APP said. First, the zonal party chapters have knowledge about the presence of OLF-Shene operatives in the area and second, there are arrested members of the rogue group (OLF-Shene) and arrest warrants were issued against individuals in connection with their alleged relation to the group.
“Amhara Special Forces have evacuated the area and heavily armed OLF-Shene members invaded the area and caused a lot of damage to lives and properties despite efforts by elders for reconciliation,” the statement said.
APP also responded to comments made by both OPP and members of parliament about the Amhara Special Forces involvement in the violence by saying, “OLF-Shene knew that Amhara special forces had evacuated the area and they chose to start the conflict by killing religious leaders and elders.” It also explained that authorities in both Oromo Special Zone and North Shewa Zone have seen movements and training of “OLF-Shene” soldiers countering, the statement issued by OPP suggesting that there were no “OLF-Shene” operatives in the area, “There has been organizing and training which posed danger to zonal leadership,” APP said further accusing “OLF-Shene” group of being a culprit in conflicts bordering the region particularily with Afar Regional State. “Because of OLF-Shene and other groups aggression, Local communities clash with neighbouring Afar people,” it said.
The regional chapter in its statement highlighted regional and zonal administrations’ efforts to put a stop to the violence, “In the areas that the conflict broke out, the leadership from both said zones were engaged in efforts to restore peace.” While at the same time casting blame on what it called ‘elements’ within the zonal administrations for trying to sew division and create a complex situation, “There are some elements in the zonal leadership which want to create a situation where these zones seem to operate as regional states by themselves.”
In response to both the statement issued by Oromia Prosperity Party and news reports that suggested the involvement of the regional special forces, the statement said, “The state of our politics is backward as it is far below the dignity of the country and the people.” It continued, “We consider the statement by the Oromia Prosperity Party irresponsible and irrational.” Addressing what it describes as false reports the statement read, “Although defending oneself is natural, radical media and short sighted political parties wanted to push an agenda.”
The statement concluded by emphasizing on the importance of the regional chapter of the ruling party in the reform process, the statement read, “Finally, we ensure that the Amhara Prosperity Party is part of the Prosperity Party, not a separate from it and will play its role as part of the forces for change. We are not advocates of division and would never unless put under pressure engage in political games that are aimed at hurting Ethiopia’s as well as its regions.”
In related news, the Amhara regional state announced in a statement issued today that the region is relatively stable. The administrator of North Shewa Zone, Tadesse Gebre said “The threat still remains but relative calm has been restored because of concerted efforts of both regional and federal security forces.” He added, “Gunshots have not been heard in the last 24 hours.” Tadesse also denounced the comments by the members of parliament at yesterday’s session. “The comments are abhorrent and far from the truth,” Taddese said while asking that the representatives be held accountable.
The administrator of Oromo Zone, Ahmed Hassen on his part said that there is relative peace in the zone while also mentioning some gunshots still being heard in some areas. He spoke of efforts being made to start a reconciliation process led by elders and religious leaders. AS