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BBC Amharic - Eskinder Nega says a decision to negotiate with the government has not been reached




Disclaimer: This is an English translation of an Amharic article taken from BBC News Amharic and is intended solely for information purposes.


BBC Amharic - Eskinder Nega says a decision to negotiate with the government has not been reached


June 14, 2024


Former journalist and political figure Eskinder Nega who is considered among the leadership figures of the Fano armed group says a decision to negotiate with the government has not yet been reached.


In an interview on BBC Focus on Africa Eskinder Nega said “a decision has not yet been reached” to resolve the conflict in Amhara Region through negotiations with the government.


There are a large number of Fano groups fighting against the government. Each group operates independently” said Eskinder, who said efforts are underway to create centralization across the various Fano groups operating in the region.


At this time we are in talks to create unity. After this process is completed it will become possible to reach a decision regarding negotiation with the government.”


After Eskinder Nega said, “in principle, negotiation is something that has acceptance” he raised previous efforts in Africa in which belligerents sat down for negotiations after significant deaths and property destruction.


For us war is the last option. It was the government that started this war by killing and displacing a significant number of people” he said, accusing the government.


It has been only a few years since Eskinder Nega left the political party he was leading and took up arms to fight the government.


Eskinder chose to pick up arms rather than engage in peaceful political struggle saying “hundreds of thousands of Amhara people have been killed for their identity and millions have been forcibly displaced from their homes.”


Eskinder said the federal government is working alongside militants it says it is fighting, “it has become necessary for us to stop the killing and displacement against the Amhara people perpetrated by an alliance between these armed groups and government forces” which he explained to BBC was the reason he chose armed struggle.


At this time, “80 to 90% of Amhara land is under the control of Fano forces” said Eskinder who also said government forces have focused efforts on controlling and administering the main cities in the region.


Eskinder raised that there are grave human rights violations in Amhara Region, and said Fano forces are prepared to facilitate delivery of humanitarian assistance in areas under their control.


He said during the Northern Ethiopia War after conflict spread to Amhara Region there were widespread human rights violations by government forces and various armed groups in the area.


A few months ago, international human rights organization Human Rights Watch called for UN-led independent investigations into human rights violations in Amhara Region.


Eskinder Nega said he too accepted the call from human rights defenders and said he supported calls for independent investigations.


If there is a desire to stop war in Amhara Region, the government must stop killing us for our identity. Hundreds of thousands of Amhara people have been killed for their identity. The genocidal campaign against the people must end. We need structural change. The constitution must be amended” he told BBC.


Former President of Balderas for True Democracy Ato Eskinder Nega left leadership and membership of the party after which he joined Fano and entered armed resistance.


Ato Eskinder has actively participated in Ethiopian politics for more than two decades, and it is known that he established his political party to continue his involvement through from the time of his media involvement.


Starting from last year when fighting intensified between government forces and Fano militants in Amhara Region, a state of emergency was put into place for ten months.


In the unrest which has passed one year it has been reported that Fano forces under various leaders have operated in various parts of the region, and Eskinder says he is the leader of one such group.


Though the Federal Government and Amhara Region administration have repeatedly expressed their desire to resolve the conflict which has continued for more than a year through dialogue, there have not been any clear actions towards this from either side.


Following the declaration of a state of emergency during the month of Hamle last year (August 2023) the Amhara Region was placed under four command posts and it has been almost a year since the national defense force was fully mobilized into the region.


Reports indicate at this time, fighting has continued between government forces and Fano militants in various areas of Amhara Region.



 

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