Ethiopia arrests 4,000 in Amhara region crackdown, local state media report

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ADDIS ABABA, May 23 (Reuters) - Ethiopian authorities have arrested more than 4,000 people in the northern Amhara region, local state media said on Monday, as part of a wider crackdown against militia fighters, critics and the press.

Gizachew Muluneh, spokesperson for the Amhara regional administration and federal government spokesperson Legesse Tulu did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the wave of arrests.

More than 200 of the suspects are accused of killings, Amhara state security official Desalegne Tasew told the Amhara Media Corporation, accusing them of conducting "illegal activities" in the name of the Fano paramilitary group. It was not clear why the rest were being detained.

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A general view shows a street in Dessie town, Amhara Region, Ethiopia, October 9, 2021. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

Tasew did not provide any evidence to back up the accusations of killings. Reuters could not independently verify the claims.

Amhara is the second-most populous region in Ethiopia, and a key constituency for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

Amhara forces and the Fano militia backed Abiy's federal troops against rebellious forces in northern Tigray when fighting erupted there in 2020, but relations between some top Amhara officials and central government have since soured.

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Reporting by Nairobi Newsroom Editing by James Macharia Chege

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