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News: Deputy PM recommends arming civilians in Metekel, Benishangul Gumuz region as spate of attacks by armed men leaves dozens killed

Deputy PM Demeke Mekonnen. Picture: Office of the Deputy PM

By Siyanne Mekonnen @Siyaanne

Addis Abeba, October 14/2020 – After expressing disdain at the killings in Metekel Zone, Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen stated that civilians must be enabled to “defend themselves” against the continued attacks. He said that “there is no other option” for the locals other than “organizing and arming themselves” to build a strong defense. In a discussion with the Zone’s leadership and the Zone’s Command Post in the Metekel, Benishangul Gumuz, the deputy PM discussed the current situation in the zone and outlined the efforts being made in collaboration with the community to resolve the security issues in the area. 

A report that summarized the challenges the Zone’s Command Post is facing was presented in the discussion. The deputy PM encouraged the efforts made to prosecute criminals and the measures taken on those who did not fulfill their responsibilities. The report made a point of the crucial need to maintain a strong rule of law in order to ensure peace and security in this area. Deputy PM Demeke strongly condemned the killing of civilians in the Metekel Zone, describing it as a “tragic and heartbreaking” incident. He wished condolences to the families and friends of those who lost their lives. In addition, the leadership of the command post urged the quick implementation of the post’s plan in all areas for the public to resume its everyday life by building trust among one another.

As soon as the discussions were over, a community-based military training began being provided in Debati Wereda to address the ongoing security crisis in the Metekel Zone. The training is believed to ensure lasting peace according to the Chief Administrator of Debati Wereda, Debeli Belgafo. He said that the training will help the community defend itself from crime and stand alongside security forces in the fight against “counteragents of peace”.

Civilians being trained for self-defense, Debati Wereda, Metekel Zone, Benishangul Gumuz Region (Picture: Debati Wereda Communications Office)
Civilians being trained for self-defense, Debati Wereda, Metekel Zone, Benishangul Gumuz Region (Picture Debati Wereda Communications Office)

In his opening remarks at the training, the chief administrator called on the community and recruited trainees to stand by the government to ensure lasting peace. The training will last for three consecutive days after which the trainees are expected to stand guard to maintain peace in their area. AS

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