Officials in Ethiopia say president’s call to bury political opponent was not an incitement to violence

Officials in Ethiopia said on Friday that a statement attributed to the country’s president that he would like to “dig” his political opponent “buried” was not an incitement to violence. President Sahle-Work Zewde issued…

Officials in Ethiopia say president’s call to bury political opponent was not an incitement to violence

Officials in Ethiopia said on Friday that a statement attributed to the country’s president that he would like to “dig” his political opponent “buried” was not an incitement to violence.

President Sahle-Work Zewde issued a lengthy statement declaring his support for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed — known as Abu Daas — and criticizing rival Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front, or TPLF, for “having done immense damage to our ruling party.” The TPLF has long been the predominant ruling party in Ethiopia and has wielded major influence within the country’s public sector, parliaments, and judiciary.

“To TPLF, I say this: do not even pretend to believe that your party’s mistakes will reverse our successes. The era of your failure is over,” he said in the statement. The president added that his own administration would cooperate with TPLF’s opponents. “I also send a message of love to the people of Tigray,” he said.

TPLF has long been accused of repressing the minority Amhara ethnic group, with many of the Ethiopians in Tigray becoming radicalized and fighting to take back political control from the TPLF, according to the Washington Post.

The apparent softening of Ethiopian president Abu Daas’ support for Abiy Ahmed is symptomatic of his ability to navigate a nation polarized between the Tigrayans, Abiy’s political base. https://t.co/dTVU9w5VGU — Jennifer Gollan (@JenniferGollanWSJ) February 17, 2021

Prime Minister Abiy has vowed to end abuses by security forces. In recent weeks, dozens of opposition supporters, bloggers, journalists, and members of civil society have been arrested, according to news reports. According to Amnesty International, since Abiy’s appointment as prime minister in April 2018, the country’s security forces have used “shoot-to-kill” tactics against unarmed citizens.

In January, Ethiopian president Sahle-Work Zewde said the government was searching for 91 “undesirable” Ethiopians that were believed to be hiding in Uganda, South Sudan, or Kenya, according to Reuters.

Read the full story at The Washington Post.

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