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News: Court acquits Fano militia leader Zemene Kase as federal security taskforce claims to squash new insurgency in Amhara region

Addis Abeba – A court in Bahir Dar, capital of the Amhara region has exonerated Zemene Kase, leader of the Fano militia, due to insufficient evidence corroborating the charges filed against him, Deutsche Welle reported.

Zemene was taken into custody on 11 September, 2022, following allegations of his involvement in the homicide of a law enforcement officer. Mulan Tadese, Kase’s legal counsel, verified his release from the Bahir Dar prison on 03 June, 2023, in the wake of the court’s verdict on the previous day. 

Prior to his arrest, Zemene had been in hiding following a major crackdown by regional and federal security forces against members of the Fano, an informal armed group operating in the Amhara region.

His release from prison comes in the backdrop of an announcement by the federal government’s intelligence and security joint task force of a significant blow to a new armed insurgency in the region, following a decisive military operation in the Debre Elias district of East Gojjam zone. 

The taskforce said in a statement that the operation resulted in the death of approximately 200 militants of the insurgent group led by Eskindir Nega and the dislodging of a stronghold protected by the group around the holy Trinity monastery.

According to the statement, Eskindir Nega, along with his cohorts, allegedly conspired to destabilize the region and instigate an armed rebellion to overthrow the incumbent, adding that despite the significant losses, Eskindir and few of his associates have managed to escape and are currently in hiding.

After reports of days of fighting at the monastery, Debre Elias district peace and security office in the East Gojjam zone confirmed on 31 May that precautionary actions were executed by Defense forces against armed individuals alleged to be utilizing the monastery in Degolma kebele as a hideout. AS

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