Addis Abeba – Following the ongoing schism within the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOTC) and the ensuing unrest, two media professionals, journalist and political analyst Tewodros Asfaw, and Deacon Yosef Ketema, a journalist for EOTC Afaan Oromoo broadcast service, have been detained by security forces this week.
Tewodros Asfaw, who is also the founder of a YouTube channel called Ethio Selam was taken from his home by security forces on Tuesday 14 February, around 2:00 PM local time, his brother Biniam Asfaw said in an interview on the channel.
He was picked up from his residence in Addis Abeba by two armed security forces together with four others in civilian clothes, according to his brother’s account, adding that they did not present any court order for his arrest.
Tewodros is currently known to be detained at the federal police criminal investigation office in the area commonly known as Mexico, in the capital. His wife Enat Tamirat told the news channel that the police have accused him of terrorism related offenses and inciting violence, and that he is expected to appear before court later today or tomorrow morning.
Tewodros is known for his sharp criticism against the government in his commentaries on political and social issues. In the last appearance on his YouTube channel five days ago, he spoke about the call made by EOTC for nationwide demonstration under the title “The Peaceful demonstration that determines the existence of the Synod”.
Similarly, a journalist at the EOTC Broadcasting Service Agency (EOTC TV), deacon Yosef Ketema was detained on Monday, 13 February, by security forces, the church has announced.
According to the information posted on the social media page of EOTC TV, deacon Yosef was “abducted by government security forces who said they wanted him for questioning” around 4:00 PM local time on Monday around Mekenisa area while he was on a work trip. It added that deacon Yosef have recently conducted frequent interviews with religious figures on current affairs of the church.
After the nationwide protest rally which was announced by the EOTC for 12 February was called off following discussions with PM Abiy Ahmed, several followers and members of the church have been detains. The church’s legal team told BBC Amharic that more than 200 people are currently detained.
Social media and messaging platforms Facebook, Messenger, TikTok and Telegram which were restricted as a result of growing tension over the weekend has not yet been restored. AS