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DW Amharic - Looting and killings in Amhara Region

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

DW Amharic - Looting and killings in Amhara Region

July 3, 2024

Looting and robbery has angered the public in major cities across Amhara Region, say residents. Residents said the lootings were carried out by thieves both at daytime and nighttime at gun point using silent and non-silent weapons, which has left residents nowhere to go.

The Amhara Region Police Commission has announced it has begun work to prevent the looting and robbery. The commission has called on the public to self-organize in order to prevent the looting.

Fano militants on their media platforms have previously reported taking law enforcement measures against looting in areas under their control which caused discontent among the public

We spoke to residents of Bahir Dar, Gonder, Debre Markos, Ginda Wiha towns who said they had become angered by rampant theft which was occurring both during the day and at night, and residents have gone as far as taking off their wedding rings to prevent theft.

One resident of Gonder city told DW, robbery and threats have drastically increased to an alarming level and that even people were being abducted by the looters, describing the severity of the situation.

“...the situation in Gonder has gotten out of control, it is not just property that is stolen, they are breaking into homes threatening people and taking them away let alone mobile phones and silver, they are threatening people with knives and with handguns, the people are being stolen from while already in a precarious situation.”

Young people returning from work in cafeterias and tea houses to make their daily wages are being stolen from, they are being threatened with guns, there is no one to hold the looters accountable, says a resident of Bahir Dar city.

“ the thieves operate with handguns and knives targeting people with hand bags, people returning from work in cafes who have their necklaces taken away, even in the day their property is taken right from their hands, and when this happens in public there is noone that would say anything to him.”

Another resident of Bahir Dar city mentioned the robberies took place during the day as well and that the issue had gone beyond stealing mobile phones and cash to wedding rings, and the source told DW to prevent this they were forced to take off their wedding ring.

The source said, “my spouse and I spoke about it and decided to take off our wedding rings before leaving the house, it has gone beyond mobile phones to this, overall these acts demonstrate the lack of law and order, I am not the only one taking such measures, it was my friends who told me to take off my wedding ring.”

A source from Debre Markos city said the public has been angered by the robbery, people are losing sleep from the stress.

“It is not just at night even during the day we have been facing a serious problem, the public is restless, doors are being broken into, overall the public is under stress, we are not living freely, two weeks ago at around 7 pm on our area someone pulled a handgun on us, and took all of our property and left.”

Another source from Bahir Dar city said her friend was recently robbed and the robbers flashed their handguns and knives to threaten their target and they used a bajaj specifically for robbery.

“They take handbags and run away, they park bajaj’s nearby to snatch things and run away, they steal jewelry, they display their knives, if you follow them they fire bullets at you, this has happened in our neighborhood, they use a bajaj without a plate number to commit the robberies.”

We asked the Amhara Region Police Commission media head Commander Mesafint Eshete about the matter who said their institution is working to mitigate the problem and called for the public to play their part by self-organizing.

He told DW, “...during times of unrest and when the security system is strained it is possible that various problems will be encountered, at various times the commission receives reports, work is currently underway to mitigate this problem, the security response is measured by the situation in the area, the defense and investigation responses is underway in the usual manners, but if it is asked whether this is enough it can be said that many aspects can be improved, there are robbers are take advantage of the current situation in various areas, the first priority should be for locals in various communities to get to work which will have significant results, there are orders for assembly of structures under the commission and the addition of additional security personnel, therefore the response is underway but it is not enough but we will work diligently.”

Residents say looting and robberies have increased in many areas across Amhara Region as looters have taken advantage of the weakened security system.

Alemnew Mekonnen

Mantegaftot Sileshi

Yohannes Gebreegziabher


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