At least nine media workers in Ethiopia’s northern Amhara region have been arrested by local authorities, their employers said on Monday, as human rights activists warned of a spate of unlawful detentions.
Two facilities – Nisir International Broadcasting Corporation and Ashara, who both cover Ethiopian affairs on their YouTube channels, said their Amhara studios had been raided in recent days and staff members were taken away, some to unknown locations.
Nisir said four of his staff members, including journalists and back-office workers were arrested by security guards and local police on Thursday and Friday, and equipment was confiscated at their workplace in Bahir Dar.
The network, which broadcasts on a YouTube channel, said two of them It It was believed staff members were being held in a prison in Bahir Dar while two others were 185 kilometers (115 mi en) were being held away from the regional capital.
The whereabouts of two other Nisir journalists remained unknown, she added.
“We call on the government to release our journalists immediately and to return our studio equipment,” the broadcaster said.
The other agency, Ashara, said five of its employees were arrested in a raid at its studio in Bahir Dar on Thursday and are being held at a detention center outside the city detained.
Authorities in Amhara, Ethiopia’s second most populous region, said over 4,000 people suspected of a crime had been arrested while an ongoing enforcement operation.
< "The government will continue this peacekeeping work/activity with renewed vigour," said Desalegn Tassew, head of the Amhara Peace and Security Bureau, in a statement published by state media n Statement.
Read:Amhara clashes with Ethiopia’s tolerant image
On Sunday, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC), the pro-state independent rights organization, expressed its concerns over a spate of arrests that “journalists and social activists” had netted.
The commission said while some arrests were granted visits or charges brought, “many other detainees were unlawfully detained, were not before Tried and not visited by family members.”
“Particularly in the Amhara region, many detainees have been arrested far from their home areas in detention centers and arbitrarily detained, making it difficult for family members to know their whereabouts .”
Read:Ethiopia Arrests Over 200 Over Violence
TV host Solomon Shumye, who has a show on YouTube, was arrested on Friday if arrested in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa and accused of inciting violence, his sister Tigist Shumye said.
Amhara authorities supported Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and his federal forces in a war with the neighboring Tigray region that started in November 2020. But divisions have since surfaced over Abiy’s handling of the conflict.