News: Gurage Zone officials favoring statehood arrested, sources say

Gurage zone officials who got arrested Picture: social media

Addis Abeba: Zonal and bureau officials have been arrested in connection to the movement for Gurage statehood,  according to an anonymous government source. 

The arrested officials are as follows: Zonal Finance Bureau official Minewer Hayatu, Governmental Communications Affairs official, Mebrate Woldemariam, Abebe Amerga, Zonal Enterprise and Industry Development Bureau official,  and Ajemel, Vice-Dean of Welkite Polytechnic College.  

Addis Standard inquired with the Gurage Zonal Government Communications Bureau and a confidential employee at the office stated that ‘ since the issue is under the jurisdiction of the command post, we can not offer any information. ‘ Similarly, Addis Standard reached out to another source in Welkete town, who wanted to remain anonymous, this source indicated that individuals had indeed been arrested, but stated their identities remain unknown. Additionally, Alemayehu Gebremeskel, Prosperity Party Gurage Zone Rural Sector Official, Mesfin Teka, Security Bureau Official, Shemsu Aman, Gurage Zonal Health Bureau, and Tamerat Wudema, Gurage Zonal Construction, and Infrastructure Bureau official, along with other youth have been arrested, it was said. 

Commander Teje [middle name not clarified before the call was disconnected] told Addis Standard, ‘’ I’m not aware of the said arrests, when clear information emerges, we shall notify [you] in the future,’’ 

The U.S.-based, International Gurage Association, has urged that arrests and abuses currently happening in connection with the Gurage question come to a halt. The association in a recent presser accused the ‘Prosperity Party and the governmental structure it commands’ as being behind attempts to thwart the recognized demand to become a Gurage regional state, a decision passed by the people’s representatives. 

The presser added that‘’ the Prosperity Party and the governmental structure it commands, whose ideas have [failed within the zone] has resorted to utilizing local security and command post apparatus to indiscriminately expose the masses to arrest. ‘’

By the same token, the press release lambasted SNNPR officials saying, ‘’ Gurage zonal officials and active youth, who sided with the people and pushed for a response to the Gurage question must be addressed,  are being arrested by SNNPR officials,’’. 

The association in its presser stressed, ‘’ there is no benefit to stifling and arresting the people. The vigor for the people’s movement might gain momentum instead of slowing down’’, furthermore it called upon the  ‘Prosperity Party and the governmental structure it commands’ to cease the arrests it is conducting, to release the incarcerated individuals, and immediately arrange for a referendum on Gurage statehood.

Furthermore, it emphasized upon PM Abiy Ahmed, his party, and government to offer a legal retort to the Gurage lawful question and cease the ongoing arrests and intimidation being perpetrated against the Gurage people. It called upon the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and Ombudsman institutions to follow up on these violations of democratic and human rights and present recommendations to the federal government

Addis Standard had previously reported that in an emergency meeting held by the SNNPR command post on 18 August 2022, all governmental and non-governmental meetings and discussions were prohibited for an indefinite period.

In this meeting, the command post forbade actions such as any rallies or related movements, closures of business shops without reason as well as imposing a transportation ban on three-wheeled Bajaj vehicles after 8 PM and any motorcycle movement after 7 PM. 

The command post also added that any government employee or official must be present in the office during workday hours, and measures would be taken against anyone who contradicts this. AS

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