At a recent press conference Attorney General Getachew Ambaye said that there has been some sporadic violence during the latest unrest saying that security forces exchanged gunfire with illegal protesters. However, he did not mention where and when it occurred. He added that some of the protests were also accompanied by armed groups that made them difficult to be controlled by the security forces.
The Attorney General said difficult instability in some parts of the country forced the government to declare the state of emergency. The unrest also hindered cargo transportation to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and oil imports from Sudan, the minister added.
“It was difficult to normalize the situation with the tabled law so for this reason the government imposed the state of emergency,” he explained.
He said that the unrest is being led by forces based in Asmara and Cairo. The government stated that external forces, such as Egypt are involved in the disturbances inside the country.
During the press conference on Thursday October 20 Getachew attempted to provide clarification about the state of emergency directive issued a week ago.
He said that the government will never disarm legally armed individuals. “The directive did not mention anything about disarmament rather it prohibits carrying arms in some stated public areas and red zones explained in the directives,” he added.
He also clarified that regular and scheduled meetings and conferences and other social events were not made illegal during the state of emergency period. However, meetings and other gatherings aiming to destabilize the peace are prohibited as per the directive.
In a related development on Thursday the state of emergency issued by Council of Ministers on October 8 was ratified by the parliament. It also approved the appointment of members of an Inquiry Board that will oversee the emergency measures.
The Inquiry Board has seven members and will be chaired by Tadesse Hordofa, who is also chairman of the Higher Education Standing Committee, and Genet Tadesse, vice chairwomen.
Two weeks ago the government imposed the first state of emergency in the last quarter of a century for six months with the goal of controlling the unrest