Some state of emergency restrictions lifted, parliament to decide on extension

Siraj Fegessa, Ethiopian Defense Minister
Siraj Fegessa, Ethiopian Defense Minister

The six month timeline for the current state of emergency is scheduled to expire next month but Defense Minister Siraj Fegessa says that may be extended if the Parliament determines an extension is vital to national security.

“We have asked many people across the country and they told us that they are happy with the state of emergency because they feel it has reduced violence and stopped the loss of life and damage to property,” he said.

“Although we have done a great job of restoring peace and security over the past five months in many parts of the country, in few places there are still some people who intend to commit violence,” he continued.

“Next month the command post advisory committee will present a report on the achievements, challenges and threats of the state of emergency and then parliament will decide to lift it or extend it,” he added.

According to Siraj starting from March 15, 2017 arbitrary arrests without court orders and conducting searches without court papers have been lifted.

Bans and restrictions imposed on radio, television and theater, dawn-to-dusk prohibitions on unauthorized movements around infrastructure facilities and factories have also been dropped.

However, he emphasized that any communication that incites violence, unpermitted demonstrations, work and transport strikes, activism at public and religious gatherings, attacking any private or government properties will not be tolerated and the command post will take any legal action if these things occur in any part of the country.

The Ethiopian government declared a six-month nationwide state of emergency on 9 October 2016 following months of anti-government protests.

He also said that the government is still working to return the 43 children kidnapped by South Sudanese gunmen who also killed 28 people in Gambella region recently.

“We are doing our best to secure the place, but because of lack of infrastructure along the border kidnapping and killings have occurred for many years, now we are building bridges and  paving roads to stop criminal activity in the area, while working to rescue the kidnapped children,” he added.