By BirukAlemu@Birukalemu21 &
Addis Abeba: Southern Wollo Communication Bureau announced that passengers traveling to Addis Ababa from Desse City, South and North Wollo Zones and Wag Hemra Zone were subjected to extreme harassment and abuse when they arrived in Sheno City, Oromia Region to enter Addis Ababa.Unless they hold Addis Abeba resident IDs, they could not pass, it was said. Similarly, transportation service from Debre Berhan to Addis Abeba have been suspended for the same reason.
Travelers, expressing their complaints to the South Wollo Zone Government Communication Bureau, said that since the past few weeks their attempts to enter Addis Abeba for various social issues, including medical follow-ups, have been banned by security forces. “You cannot pass unless you bear an Addis Abeba ID,” they said.
The complainants, including the elderly, women and children, said that even though they had a medical appointment, and other social issues with their loved ones residing in Addis Abeba, they were not able to enter the capital for ‘unknown reason’. “We were not considered as citizens and we are subjected to a lot of abuses and insults,” they condemned. .
In this regard, Addis Standard spoke to Rabi Mohammed [father’s name changed for security reasons], one of the travelers who were denied entry from Debb Wolo to Addis Ababa at the Sheno area checkpoints. ” Following my husband’s employment in Addis Abeba, I brought my four-year-old child with me from South Wollo, Kombolcha city to Addis Ababa. We were denied passage before entering Sheno city,” adding,” Because the situation is not good, I took my kid back to where I came from and we boarded Ethiopian Airlines to Addis Ababa.”
Head of South Wollo Zone Roads and Transport Department, Kedir Yimer said that travelers have complained that the cross-country buses provided by the department are being repeatedly stopped by the security forces when they arrive in the Shenona area.
According to the information Addis Standard acquired from the zone communication, the drivers also said that they are finding it difficult to accept the services provided by the sector and they have informed the Amhara Regional Government and various institutions about the seriousness of the problem.
Acknowledging her awareness of people’s complaints regarding the matter, the Deputy of the Amhara Regional Government’s Communication Bureau, Hilina Mebartu, admitted that such unpleasant experiences on travelers are happening only because security forces are filtering ‘insurgents’ who are suspected of holding illegal IDs and documents, following the war in Tigray who are trying to wreak havoc. She stated that such filtering should be conducted diligently in a manner that does not hurt the travelers who are being subjected to abuse and unnecessary expenses.
The head explained that the people of the Amhara region are also making an effort to counter the attacks that the Tigrayan forces may carry out in various areas. Condemning the mass harassment that is taking place on the travelers, she called for immediate corrections. .
He added that the leaders of the regional government are trying to discuss and solve the problem with the officials of Addis Abeba city and the relevant federal government.
Similarly, passengers and drivers traveling from Debre Berhan to Addis Ababa told Amhara Media Corporation (AMC) that vehicles with “AM” [Amhara] license plates and Amhara region ID cards are being harassed. The drivers said that they have stopped working because of the harassment. Due to the problem, Debre Berhan bus station has stopped providing service.
Sisay Wolde Amanuel, Head of North Shewa Zone Road Transport Department, recalled that passengers and drivers have been raising repeated complaints and said that the latter were forced to stop providing services following the absence of an appropriate solution from the concerned governmental body.
The chairman of North Shewa Zone Transport Association, Gebre Egziabher Tesema, explained to one of the FM radios based in the capital that vehicles with Amhara license plates are not able to work because of the traffic policemen and road insecurity in the Sandafa area of Oromia region for unknown reason.
When the drivers arrived in Sandafa city, the traffic police would charge them a fine ranging from 1,500 to 2,500 birr, he explained. He further stated that more than 40 vehicles with Amhara license plates were illegally charged in the last two days in relation to this matter. In addition to the charges, the traffic police also threatened the drivers not to come on that line again, the official said.
The driver, who spoke to the Addis Standard on the condition of anonymity, shared the same idea. “Where is our country heading to under such circumstances?” adding, “I support my family driving. It is hard to live if this kind of violence continues,” he said.
Addis Standard asked this driver what the current situation is like, and he said that the a “Do not enter ban” that started yesterday, August 11, has been fixed and urged government officials at all levels to dispose of the public trust they have been entrusted with tackling an unwanted national crisis in Ethiopia.
Demelash Yalfal, a resident of Debre Berhan city, told Addis Standard that the Oromia special forces and militia in the area are responsible for the problem. According to him, after Debre Berhan city was reorganized into a sub-city, it named its kebeles after the old kings, nobles and people who were indebted to the country. “When we were traveling to Addis Ababa with this ID, the security forces were harassing us, saying that you should not enter,” he said. He recalled that the incident happened to him two weeks ago and told our reporter that he heard from other people that the current situation is being corrected and that he wants to go to Addis Ababa to handle his daily routines that he planned months ago.
According to Gebre Egziabiher, in addition to the charges against the drivers, public transport vehicles are prevented from entering Addis Ababa at Sandafa and Laga Tafo check points. The chairman of the association said that they stopped the transport service not to go on strike, but to ensure that our rights are respected. AS