Addis Ababa adds four months to existing state of emergency.
The Ethiopian government has extended the nation’s current state of emergency by four months, amid reports of continuing violence and anti-government activity in remote areas of the country.
The measure is an extension of the six-month state of emergency which was declared last October following violent demonstrations by two of Ethiopia’s largest ethnic groups, the Oromo and Amhara, whose members began protesting against sustained marginalisation in late 2015.
Ethiopia’s defence minister Siraj Fegessa said that the emergency controls had resulted in a general return to stability however certain undefined areas remain “less calm”.
The initial state of emergency was imposed after protests which were centred mainly in the Oromiya region around Addis Ababa, and led to the deaths of around 500 people.
The government has lifted several of the original restrictions however, including spot-check searches by security forces, a dawn-to-dusk curfew, and a ban on diplomats from travelling within 40 km of Addis Ababa without advance permission.
The remaining restrictions include a ban on making contact with five opposition groups which the government has branded “terrorist movements”, and the preparation or dissemination of material that “could incite chaos.”
During the six-month state of emergency the government detained more than 25,000 people – on suspicion of participating in protests – several thousand of which have since been released.