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News: Unidentified armed group in Amhara region loot weapons, break inmates out of prison

Nefas Mewcha town
Photo: Nefas Mewcha city communication affairs

By Getahun Tsegaye @GetahunTsegay12

Addis Abeba – An unidentified armed group looted firearms and broke prisoners free out of a district correctional center in the town of Nefas Mewcha in Gayint woreda of the South Gondar zone, reports said. The armed group opened fire on the woreda’s police station and militia office at 1 AM local time on February 7, 2022. 

The Amhara regional prisons commission and the regional police commission issued a joint statement saying “An organized group operating in the guise of Fano (Amhara youth vigilante)  looted the correctional center and broke prisoners free.” Wube Wonde, the deputy commissioner of the prisons commission, said that the prisons commission along with the regional police commission deployed security forces to investigate the issue and take legal action against the perpetrators.

The regional police commissioner Tekola Ayfokru on his part said “The crime was committed by armed groups who impersonate Fano.” According to the commissioner, in collaboration with the security forces and political leaders of the zone, an operation and criminal investigation team are deployed to rearrest escaped prisoners and hold perpetrators to account. He added that some of the looted weapons were recovered. 

The comissioner noted that the residents of the zone and the security forces are working together to put the culprits under arrest. He added, “The ‘real fano’ that actually feels the pain of the public is trying to capture the criminals.”  

He underlined that the rumors about the destruction of private and government institutions were baseless. He finally called on the people to be vigilant and to work with all security forces to ensure peace and prevent similar incidents in the region. 

In a meeting the security council held in January, Temesgen Tiruneh, Director General of the National Intelligence and Security Service(NISS) said that necessary measures will be taken on informal forces based on studies conducted. Although the former Amhara region president didn’t directly refer to Fano, his comments generated backlash from the proponents of the Fano structure. 

Last week Balderas For Genuine Democracy, the opposition party founded by the recently released Eskinder Nega, argued that Fano, is not an informal force and that it is “being harassed” despite demonstrating its readiness to sacrifice itself for the sovereignty of the country referring to the fact that Fano was on the side of the federal and regional forces in the armed conflict with Tigrayan forces. AS

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