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News: Catholic Relief Services “devastated” after two staff “shot and killed” in Amhara region

Members of the Amhara Special Forces surrounded by protesters who took to the streets in several cities and towns in the region against the federal government’s decision. Photo: Social Media

Addis Abeba – Aid agency Catholic Relief Services said it was “devastated” by the death of two staff members who were “shot and killed in [an] CRS vehicle in the Amhara region” where tensions are rising after protests broke out last Friday against the federal government’s decision to disband and reintegrate controversial regional special forces.

Chuol Tongyik, a security manager, and Amare Kindeya, a driver with the CRS were killed “as they were returning to Addis Abeba from an assignment,” CRC said in a statement on Monday.

“Details of the murder are still unknown”, CRS said, but it’s communications director Kim Pozniak is quoted as saying that the killing happens “in the town of Kobo.”

Residents in Kobo town in the North Wollo zone of Amhara region told Addis Standard hearing the sound of heavy artilleries in the town on Sunday night.

“The depth of our shock and sorrow is difficult to measure and we are saddened over this senseless violence. CRS is a humanitarian agency dedicated to serving the most vulnerable people in Ethiopia,” said Zemede Zewdie, CRS country representative in Ethiopia. “CRS reiterates our commitment to continue working in support of the people in Ethiopia.”

The killing of the two CRC staff happed as protests continued spreading across several cities and towns of the Amhara region after the official announcement on Thursday 06 April evening triggered a backlash in the region where protesters began taking to the streets since Friday.

In parts of the region protesters also blockaded the movements of federal defense forces leading to tense stand-off. Similarly members of the region’s special forces left camps in protest, leading to the Amhara regional state government to issue a statement calling on the members of the special forces “to return to their respective camps or assigned workplaces and remain calm.”

Despite the backlashes however the federal government showed no sign of reversing its decision as of yet.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced that the decision “will be implemented as planned” and it will be done so “even if” there is a price to be paid. AS

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