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News: Joint Task Force says taking “decisive measures” against “extremist forces” in Amhara region in wake of official’s killing

The late Girma Yeshitila. Photo: Amhara region Prosperity Party.

Addis Abeba – The Ethiopian Joint Security and Intelligence Task Force announced late this evening that it has started “taking decisive measures” against “extremist forces” that it accused of “trying to take control of regional state power by destroying the constitutional system in the Amhara regional state.”

The Task Force, which consists of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF), the Federal Police Commission, and Information Network Security Agency (INSA), said in a statement released through state media that forces “pretending to fight for the Amhara people” have formed “a clandestine cell by coordinating both internally and externally” outside of the country, and are “devouring” the dedicated children of the region.

The Task Force’s statement came in the wake of the shooting to death yesterday of Girma Yeshitla, the head of Amhara Region’s Prosperity Party office, by what it described as “extremist forces.” In addition to leading the region’s Prosperity Party, Girma was also doubling as vice president of the region and a member of the party’s executive committee.

“These extremist forces have proved their heinous act yesterday” the statement said, adding that “…the brutal killing of Girma Yeshitla has exposed” their real face to the public.” It described Girma as “the son of the region.”

In a statement he released shortly after the news of the killing, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said the perpetrators were those who espoused “ultimate extremism” to try to persuade everyone who disagrees with them “with a gun” and have committed this “shameful and horrible act.”

The killing has received widespread condemnations, including from several regional state governments and the national lawmakers. The Amhara regional state government itself said that “to prevent the anarchy and terrorist acts that these extremist forces are carrying out in the region, the regional state government will take actions to control and enforce the law,” and vowed “justice will be ensured by bringing all the forces and collaborators involved in the attack to the law”, the region further said.

The Task Force also blamed the unnamed groups that “they continued their illegal activities in organized and coordinated cells by pushing away or pretending to accept mediation processes being conducted in each area” in the regional state.

It did not clearly state the details of the said “decisive measures” being taken, but said “the work of informing the people about the steps being taken…will continue.”

The Task Force revealed that “there are many members of the group who have been arrested for their illegal activities” and their cases are being investigated.

“As the government is responsible for ensuring the rule of law in the country as well as the region”, the Task Force is “taking decisive measures against these illegal groups, entities and individuals who financially and ideologically support the group.” AS

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