Regional security forces in Ethiopia’s south region have arrested at least 41 people in a latest crackdown against a statehood request of the people in the Gurage zone.
Peace and Security head of the South Nations Nationalities and People’s Region (SNNPR) Alemayehu Bawdi confirmed the arrest, accusing the suspects of involving and mobilizing the youth for violence.
In a recent emergency meeting, the Gurage zone council unanimously voted for the establishment of the Gurage regional state despite resistance from federal and regional governments.
The Ethiopian government, however, seems to have suppressed statehood demands of people in the Gurage zone.
“There have been multiple security challenges in various districts of the zone in connection to request for statehood of the zone but have been put under control,” Alemayehu said.
According to the security head, More than 70 people have so far been arrested in the latest statehood request by the people of the zone.
SNNPR is home for 56 nations, nationalities and is the only region in Ethiopia that is not strictly organized.
The zone, since last week, has been put in a “Command Post” arrangement – a form of practice in Ethiopia whereby security forces (including Defense in most cases) administer a given area.
Alemayehu further said that the security situation in the Gurage can not be handled with regular law enforcement due to worsening security situation in connection with the demand for statehood.
There has been a stay-at-home protest and strike in the region as people in the Gurage zone pursue demands for ethnic-based statehood.
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