Christian Tadele, a spokesperson for the National Movement of Amhara (NAMA), said that 56 party members and sympathisers had been arrested in the capital, Addis Ababa, on Wednesday, and that “dozens” more had been arrested in the ethnically-based Oromia region, which borders Amhara. The Amhara ethnic group comprises around a quarter of Ethiopia’s population.
“The campaign of arrests against NaMa members and sympathisers isn’t just directed against a party, but is also an identity-based attack,” Tadele said.
Neither police nor the prime minister’s office immediately responded to requests for comment on the purported arrests.
Ethiopia has been on edge since twin attacks at the weekend killed the army chief of staff and four other senior officials, including the president of the Amhara region.
The violence, which the government says was orchestrated by a rogue general and his state militia in Amhara, exposed how ethnic tensions are threatening the reform agenda of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.