Three police officers in Ethiopia’s troubled Amhara region have been killed in the past two days by unknown assailants, local authorities have announced.
“The police chief of Dejen woreda (district), Zewudu Tadele, and the head of the Crime Prevention Service, Worku Shimeles, were killed in Kurar district at around 2:00 pm on July 3 by an unidentified armed group,” the district’s communications department said in a post on Facebook on Tuesday.
“A driver on a mission with them was injured,” the text said. Kurar district is located around 200 km from Addis Ababa.
In addition, the police chief of the town of Shewa Robit, “Abdu Hussein, was killed by unknown assailants”, the mayor’s office said on Facebook on Tuesday evening, without further details.
A night-time curfew has been decreed in the locality as of Wednesday 6:00 pm “for an indefinite period”, add the authorities of Shewa Robit, located some 200 km by road northeast of Addis Ababa.
“All movement of people and vehicles is prohibited”, it added.
No one has yet claimed responsibility for the murders.
The Amhara region in northern Ethiopia has been in turmoil since an attempt in mid-April by the Ethiopian federal authorities to dismantle its “special forces”, paramilitary units created outside any legal framework by many regional states over the past fifteen years.
Amhara nationalists claim that the federal government wants to disarm only the Amhara “special forces” in order to weaken the region, which is involved in territorial disputes with the neighboring regions of Tigray and Oromia.
On April 27, the regional leader of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s Prosperity Party, and one of the party’s top officials, was murdered along with four members of his entourage when his convoy was attacked in the Shewa-Nord area, where Shewa Robi is located.
Dejen and Shewa Robi are located in the south of the Amhara region, in areas close to the border with Oromia, the focus of territorial disputes between the Oromo and Amhara peoples, the two main ethnolinguistic communities in Ethiopia, which has around 80 of them.
Oromia is also home to the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), an armed group opposed to the federal government.