Increasing Tensions in Ethiopia: Police also put on high alert

Addis Ababa Patrolled by Heavily-armed troops
Thousands of heavily armed troops on pick up trucks mounted with machine guns patrolled all major roads and intersections in Addis today. The police was also put on high alert throughout the day. The dawn to dusk patrol was particularly different in the sense that highly agitated soldiers with looks of nervousness on their faces were looking passerby in the eye as if looking for specific individuals. Such levels of troop presence were not seen after the disturbances following the botched elections of May 2005 were put down with a heavy-handed security crackdown.
The immediate cause for the heavy troop presence in the capital is not known. However, observers of the situation point that it has something to do with increasing tension within the armed forces following the defection of Brigadier General Kemal Galchu.
Tension has been rising lately in Ethiopia, especially in Oromia. In a mood reminiscent of the last days of the imperial and military regimes, there is a general and visible sense of uneasiness and anxiousness among the population, most notably among the youth.
Clashes between security forces and students at three universities in the regional state led to the dismissal, arrest, wounding and killing of scores of students. Opposition groups have accused the ruling party for deliberately sowing discord between students from different ethnic groups. There were also unconfirmed reports of rancor between the local Oromia police and federal security forces.
Schools are not officially open until after October. However, the disturbances in the various universities during the summer season, where the number of students attending school is relatively small and where students tend to be older elementary school teachers attending continuing education, is a harbinger of what is most likely to come when the regular school season starts in earnest later in October.
According to analysts observing the situation for a long time, this coming year could be a turning point in the rocky relationship between a highly unpopular regime and a population anxious for change. As Ryszard Kapuscinski wrote in “The Emperor, Downfall of an Autocrat”, Addis is a city of rumors, rumors which usually turn out to be true. Rumors are flying throughout the city that the tension within the army is almost out of control. In a manner indicative of serious trouble for the regime, the loyalty of the bureaucracy to the regime is declining as evidenced by the increasing number of incidents where a number of those closest to government funds have been missing with large amounts of money. There are also unconfirmed reports of mounting contradiction within the top echelon of OPDO, one of the satellite organs of the EPRDF regime.
In addition, EthioTribune has just received a report that over fifty cars and trucks traveling from Addama to Addis have stopped at Kalitti and prevented from interring Addis and forced to go back to Adama.

posted by Ethiounited Moderator at8:24 PM


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