Four members of a media group arrested in Ethiopia

Authorities in the northern Amhara region of Ethiopia have arrested four employees of a US-based online news outlet. It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post.

Five other journalists from an Amhara media company were arrested on Thursday.

“We have four confirmed employees who are in prison and two strangers. Of the four, one is a full-time publisher, another is in the process of being hired as an editor. I am also a full-time reporter and head of human resources and finance, “Nisir International Broadcasting said in a statement to Reuters on Sunday.

Nisir said three of the employees were arrested on Thursday and two of them are being held in the regional capital, Bahir Dar. The third employee and a fourth one who was arrested on Friday are in the town of Gayint, about 160 km from Bahir Dar, Nisir said.

Gizachew Muluneh, spokesman for the Amhara regional administration, and government spokesman Legesse Tulu did not comment on the allegations.

Nisir calls itself an impartial and independent online news agency that focuses on Ethiopian news, with a special focus on the Amhara region. She gave no reason for the arrests.

Amhara is the second most populous region in Ethiopia and a key constituency for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. But recently, some Amhara leaders, who had previously backed his government, have publicly criticized his handling of the war with neighboring Tigray.

Amhara forces and Fano militia backed Abiy’s federal troops against rebel forces in northern Tigray when fighting broke out in the region in 2020.

Critics say Abiy, who won the Nobel Peace Prize after taking over as a reformer in 2018, is cracking down on dissent around Ethiopia. He defends himself and says he guarantees stability and public order in the multiethnic nation.

In another case, Solomon Shumiye, a talk show presenter based in Addis Ababa, was arrested on Friday. Solomon criticized the Tigray government and war.

The arrests are in addition to those of a prominent general criticizing Abiy and Amhara activists in the past week.

The state-appointed Ethiopian human rights commission said in a statement on Sunday that “recent arrests do not respect basic human rights principles and are inappropriate.”

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