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Ethiopia declares country wide state of emergency

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Ethiopia declares country wide state of emergency

Move comes after Tigrayan fighters said they had captured two strategic towns in Amhara region and considered marching on Addis Ababa.


The six-month state of emergency allows, among other things, for roadblocks to be established, transport services to be disrupted, curfews to be imposed and for the military to take over in certain areas
Ethiopia’s cabinet has declared a nationwide state of emergency effective immediately and authorities in Addis Ababa told citizens to prepare to defend the capital, as fighters from the northern region of Tigray threatened to march towards the city.
“The state of emergency is aimed to protect civilians from atrocities being committed by the terrorist TPLF group in several parts of the country,” state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting reported on Tuesday, referring to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, which has been fighting the federal government for a year.



The six-month state of emergency allows, among other things, for roadblocks to be established, transport services to be disrupted, curfews to be imposed and for the military to take over in certain areas. Anyone suspected of having links with “terrorist” groups could also be detained without a court warrant, while any citizen who has reached the age of military service could be called to fight.

“Our country is facing a grave danger to its existence, sovereignty and unity. And we can’t dispel this danger through the usual law enforcement systems and procedures,” Justice Minister Gedion Timothewos told a state media briefing.

He said anyone violating the emergency would face three to 10 years in prison, for offences such as providing financial, material or moral support to “terrorist groups”.

The move came after the Tigrayan fighters said they had captured the strategic towns of Dessie and Kombolcha in the neighbouring Amhara region in recent days, and also indicated they might advance further south, on Addis Ababa.

The government said soldiers were still battling for control for the two key towns, some 400km (250 miles) from the capital.

Much of northern Ethiopia is under a communications blackout and access for journalists is restricted, making battlefield claims difficult to verify independently.

Earlier on Tuesday, authorities in Addis Ababa told residents to register their weapons in the next two days and prepare to defend the city.

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