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News: Ethiopian Security, Intelligence task force detains more than 800 in Addis Abeba for alleged involvement in Adwa day disturbances

Getu Argaw, Addis Abeba Police Commission Commissioner and member of Security and Intelligence joint task force

Addis Abeba: A joint task force for Peace & Security Operations in the capital announced that it has detained close to 880 people who it accused of mobilizing to disrupt the 127th celebration of the Victory of Adwa at the Minilik Square, Arada Subcity in the capital Addis Abeba on Thursday 02 March. The task force accused the detainees of harming people and causing damage to properties.

According to the task force of the total detainees, close to 560 came to the city from other regional states, and the rest were from various sub-cities in the capital city. “Preparations have been made beforehand,” Getu Argaw, commissioner for the Addis Abeba Police Commission and a member of the task force, said.

According to Getu the accused were found guilty of delivering messages that incite violence and throwing stones at security forces, ambushing the annual celebrations of the St. George Church (Arada Giorgis) after the Adwa festival was finalized earlier in the morning and roads were open for passengers. An ambulance and three buses were also damaged.

He claimed that the groups that caused the trouble on the day of the Adwa celebrations entered the St. George Church pretending to be parishioners but were engaged in throwing stones at the security forces, leading to the injuries of 16 policemen and causing damages to properties.

With regard to the civilian who was shot and killed by police officer, an investigation and verification work is being done, Getu said.

The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) stated last week that security forces have “overreacted” and needlessly beaten people, used tear gas, plastic and lethal bullets, and other excessive measures including elders and children resulting in at least one death, several bodily injuries, and distress on people gathered around Menelik Square.

The Addis Abeba Diocese of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOTC) also disclosed that many faithful were injured and the spiritual ceremony was discontinued due to tear gas thrown at the church following a measure taken by government forces to disperse the crowd.

According to Getu, the alleged offenders were surging into the church to hide; careful measures were taken inside the church.

In a statement issued on 02 March, the federal government Communication Service said of the measures taken that the security forces already had information about the existence of elements that want to prevent such national events from happening. AS

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