Over 40 police, defense, security officials arrested

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In what has become a major operation, a special task force has begun arresting higher officials of the National Defense Force, former security and intelligence directors and police officers since the middle of last week. The task force which is being led by the Attorney General’s Office has reportedly placed over 40 people in custody.
Those being incarcerated are suspected of human rights violations, according to sources in the Defense Force. One of those is the former director of Attorney General’s Office, who previously prosecuted people under anti-terrorism law.
The suspects from the intelligence office include Dr. Hashim Kassim and Yared Zerihun. Hashim was serving in the Legal Affairs Directorate of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS).
Yared Zerihun who resigned from his appointment as the director general of the federal police commission was among those detained. Yared was among the few who were appointed by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed during the cabinet reshuffle on April 19.
Before serving as police commissioner in April, Yared was a deputy director in the NISS.
Leaders of the Addis Ababa Police Force are also on the wanted list, sources revealed.
Reta Tesfaye who was leading the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the rank of Deputy Commissioner was also said to be among those who are suspected. He was replaced by Tekola Ayfokiru, during the first reshuffling measures of Abiy Ahmed.
The ongoing investigation which consists of many cases is said to involve major corruption, violation of human rights and terrorism.
Berhanu Tsegaye, Attorney General of FDRE declined to comment about the matter.
In a related development Ayisha Mohammed (Eng.) Minister of Defense told Capital that the change in the National Defense Forces is due to the change in the criteria and the diversification, but not because of the arrests. The diversification was said to be made based on gender and education.
For claims of violations of human rights over the high post commanders in the NDF Ayisha stated that her knowledge is limited to the current efforts of the force for improvement or its values.
“We will conduct various intervention to raise the understanding of the military on the humanitarian core values” she added.