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Tenties in court as Ethiopia says security chiefs commissioned an attack on PM »Manila Bulletin News

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ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Tenth Ethiopian security officials arrived in court on Monday after the Attorney General charged security officers with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed forcing a grenade attack.

FILE PHOTO: The Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed, speaks at a media conference at the Elysee Palace, Paris, France, on October 29, 2018. Michel Euler / Pool via REUTERS / File Photo / MANILA BULLETIN

FILE PHOTO: The Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed, speaks at a media conference at the Elysee Palace, Paris, France, on October 29, 2018. Michel Euler / Pool via REUTERS / File Photo / MANILA BULLETIN

It seems that the arrests were recognized as the crucial moment for Abiy, who has launched a turbulence in a series of economic, political and diplomatic reforms since he assumed power in April.

Attorney General Berhanu Tsegaye said evidence showed, "senior security officer of the National Security Agency" announced members of the Abiy's Oromo ethnic group to attack him in a rally in June.

The allegations are jolting in an ethnically different country that has seen recent ethnic clashes and because Abiy is the first Oromo leader in the ruling coalition.

Berhanu said at a press conference that 36 arrest warrants were issued to 36 security guards who were accused of abusing prisoners and more than 30 military officials, who said that the investigation revealed maladministration.

Reuters was not immediately able to contact the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) or an industrial conglomerate named General Prosecutor Metals and Engineering Corporation (METEC).

Within a few hours, 36 officials from security forces, including NISS, federal and Addis Ababa police forces, and 26 METEC officials arrived at the federal Supreme Court in the capital.

The court session lasted until noon. 9.00, rarity in Ethiopia, and the judge rejected the arrest of the suspects and gave the police 14 days after the investigation. No fees were charged.

Among the judges was the Deputy General Director of METEC Tena Kurunde and the witnesses of Yareed Zerihun, the wife of the former NISS Deputy Governor. Yarez was moved from this role to run the federal police in April, but resigned three months later.

The Ethiopian security services have been in power for decades, like METEC, which is a major player in economic and national military activities.

Aid reforms have challenged security services and improved policies and hierarchies that have been in place since its reigning EPRDF coalition in 1991.

He is committed to opening investors to the public sector and recognizing police violence, which he equated with national terrorism. He has also made peace with neighboring Eritrea and has announced an apology for the forbidden Oromo and other groups.

Abuse cases
Nearly two years after Aby left the scenario, two people were killed in a rally in June in Addis Ababa. In September, authorities arrested five people arguing that they were former members of the expelled Oromo Liberation Front, whom Abiy had forgiven.

"Our evidence suggests that the top management of the National Security Agency ordered Oromos to carry out the attack, as this would mean that Oromo killed Oromo," the Secretary-General said at a press conference. "It will also give the impression that Oromo residents do not approve it."

Berhan said that several suspects had left Ethiopia or had been hiding and had discovered serious security breaches during the last five months.

"There are people who are blind after being kept in the dark for a long time. Others are left infertile because of poor genital organs, some of which are damaged members. Women are subject to rape and males for sodomization," Berhanu told reporters .

He said that the investigation also revealed issues related to METEC procurement procedures.

"For six years, METEC has conducted international purchases with a total value of $ 2 billion without contests," Berhan said, without indicating the involvement of multinational companies.

He said the investigation had examined the METEC contract for the Grand Renaissance Dam, the main offer of Ethiopia to become Africa's largest energy exporter.

The August government canceled the contract, indicating the delay in completing the project.

Until recently, ethnic minorities in Tigrinya dominated the Ethiopian government. Ethiopia has experienced economic growth of nearly 10 percent over the past ten years, while law enforcement groups have said the government has been struggling with disagreements.

Abiy became the first Oromo leader of EPRDF, after protesting against the government helped his predecessor step down.

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