Ethiopia state minister Taye arrested on terrorism charges

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Ethiopia’s state minister of peace, Taye Dendea, who was dismissed yesterday from his post has now been detained over allegations of conspiring with rebel groups to overthrow the government, as reported by Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation (EBC) on Tuesday.

Actions taken against Mr. Taye, a prominent member of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s party, comes in the wake of a series of critical social media posts he made in the past week, expressing dissatisfaction with the government’s failure to maintain peace in the country.

According to a report by Reuters, Sintayew Alemayew, Taye’s wife, disclosed that her husband was apprehended by a combination of uniformed and plainclothes police on Monday night. She also revealed that authorities have issued an ultimatum, giving her three days to vacate her residence or face eviction.

Arrest of Minister Taye Dendea and a search of his home was announced on Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation

Taye blamed the government for the breakdown of the second round of peace talks between Ethiopia and the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA). Authorities said, ‘The week-long talks which took placed in Tanzania last month were largely unsuccessful due to unrealistic demands put forth by OLA rebel leaders.’

According to a statement broadcast on EBC, police had been surveilling Mr. Taye’s activities for months. After a judge issued a warrant, a search of the suspect’s home revealed several military communications devises, dozens of electronics, weapons, ammunition, cash, and paraphernalia representing the OLA. Authorities claim these were all part of an organized plot. The government also accused Mr. Taye of orchestrating kidnappings alongside OLA rebels.

According to Reuters news report, despite requests for comment, a spokesperson for the OLA did not respond. Taye himself was unavailable for comment, and his family had not yet enlisted the services of a lawyer, as indicated by his wife.

Although Abiy’s government released numerous political prisoners since assuming power in 2018, it has faced criticism for suppressing dissent by apprehending individuals who oppose its military engagements in various regions, according to the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission.

The government contends that its measures are lawful and essential to address threats to national security.

Requests for comment on the arrest directed at a spokesperson for the Ethiopian government went unanswered.

Upon his dismissal, Mr. Taye rebuked Prime Minister Abiy in a Facebook post, referring to him as a “barbarian” playing with “human blood.” Taye viewed his removal as retribution for his outspoken stance against the Abiy administration. Taye has been a rare internal critic within the ruling party, particularly regarding human rights abuses against civilians in Oromia. He was previously imprisoned for his association with the Oromo Liberation Front, a predecessor of the OLA, a group which was designated a terror entity by parliament in 2021. The group is responsible for numerous atrocities and and the displacement of tens of thousands in Ethiopia’s most populous region.

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