AfricaBalderas for Genuine DemocracyEthiopiaSecutity

News: Fano militia not informal, negotiations without public knowledge unhelpful: Balderas Party

Leaders of Fano militia in Amhara Captain Masresha Sete, center, and Zemene Kassie, immediate right, seen at a public event in late January. Photo: Screengrab
  • The opposition party Balderas For Genuine Democracy said the fate of armed militias should be decided in post-war national policy. Until such time, the party called an end of harassment against the Fano
  • It has also outlined seven points that should be considered with regard to the alleged negotiation between federal government and Tigrayan authorities.

Addis AbebaIn a statement released on February 04, Balderas For Genuine Democracy, the opposition party founded by the recently released Eskinder Nega, said that Fano, a group of armed militia in Amhara state, is not informal forces but a force playing a role to save the country “from invasion and displacement in times of crisis, while engaging in professional activities in times of peace.” Balderas also outlined seven points on alleged negotiation between federal government and Tigrayan authorities.

“Fano is a temporarily assembled force mobilized in the jungle to defend its environs and its country from attack; it is not a permanent, informal organization. This is evident from the history of fascist Italy invading Ethiopia,” the party said.

In mid-January a widely circulated document allegedly prepared by the federal government revealed details of post-war security challenges facing different regional states including Amhara region. The document discusses the challenges of privatization of arms among civilians and irregular armed groups especially the Fano. Authorities in Amhara region have since distanced the region from the document. However, at a meeting by Ethiopian Security Council held on January 28, Temesgen Tiruneh, Director General of the National Intelligence and Security Service(NISS), said that the Council has discussed the current situation in Ethiopia, and assessed the existence of illegal arms trafficking and informal forces. Although the DG hasn’t directly named Fano, his comments have generated backlash from those who support the Fano structure.

The modern-day Fano, has demonstrated its readiness to sacrifice itself for the sovereignty of the country, the statement from Balderas said. But in-spite of this fact, Fano is is “being harassed,” it said, adding that this pressure and harassment has pleased forces of TPLF, OLA / Shene and other anti-Ethiopian groups and forces, and lifted their morale.

“The fate of armed militias who are outside the federal government must be decided by a post-war national policy. Until such time we strongly demand the unilateral harassment against Fano to end,” Balderas said, adding “In the meantime, the Ethiopian people do not want anyone to touch their children who are standing by to safeguard the survival of the nation.”

Furthermore, Balderas Party said that various media outlets are reporting that “talks were underway between the government and the TPLF in a neighboring country. We offer the following seven tips to make the negotiation free of doubt,” it said and outlined seven points.

Accordingly, the party said the negotiations should be open to the public and the proceedings should be conducted in a context in which they can be monitored; to ensure that the Afar and Amhara regional governments to have a significant role to play in the negotiations; facilitate the provision of adequate information to legitimate political parties through the Joint Forum of Political Parties; to enable local elders to monitor the process; for Diaspora Ethiopians to monitor the process through their associations; for the international community to monitor the process; and to ensure adequate access to information for the media.

The Party cautioned the government to take immediate corrective measures to reverse its attempts that sideline the Ethiopian people “as the end of such moves are neither in the best interests of the government nor the country.” AS

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