Four press activists arrested in Tigray, including AFP translator

Ethiopia: Four press activists arrested in Tigray, including AFP translator

Four press employees, including a translator working with Agrasen France-Presse, have been arrested since Saturday in the Tigray region (north), where the Ethiopian army has been carrying out military operations since early November, we learned from their relatives and employers .

Two Ethiopian translators, Fitsam Barhein and Alula Aklu, were detained on Saturday after working for three days with reporters from the AFP and Financial Times, who sought permission from the Ethiopian Media Authority (EBA) and the Ministry of Ethiopian Peacekeepers Was authorized. Situation in Tigray.

His family was told by the FPP that Fitsum Barhein was arrested by soldiers throughout the night from Friday to Saturday.

His accomplice was arrested the next day while he was having lunch with relatives.

On Saturday, a third person, journalist Temrat Yemen, was arrested in Mekele.

Late on Monday evening, the BBC also announced that one of its journalists, Girme Gabru, was also arrested by the military in Meckley.

“According to witnesses, (he) was arrested at a cafe in the city along with four others and” taken to a military camp in Mekele, “she said on her website.

“The BBC is trying to establish the reason for their detention, but has expressed their concern to the Ethiopian authorities,” the BBC said.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said in a statement on Monday that the arrest “leaves no doubt that there will be fear and self-worship.”

“Ethiopian officials should immediately release these journalists and press personnel and provide a guarantee that the press can cover the conflict in Tigray without intimidating it,” he said.

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Fitsum Barhein and Alula Aklu are being held at a military school near Mekele University, according to their families.

The latter could not see him and no official explanation of his arrest was made.

On Monday by AFP, the head of the interim administration established by Addis Ababa in Tigray, Mulu Nega said “they are under scrutiny. There is already evidence of what we know”, without further details.

The AFP and Financial Times are among a group of seven international media outlets that have recently been allowed to visit Tigray. Located in the far north of Ethiopia, the region has been very difficult to reach for many months, both for journalists and aid workers.

“We do not know of any specific allegations against Fitsum Barhein, and his mere association with the media cannot be the reason for his arrest. We therefore call for his release as soon as possible”, Phil Chetwand, Director he said. AFP.

The Financial Times, for its part, hinted to take all possible measures to obtain the “release of the two translators”, “specifying daily to continue the effort” to understand the reasons for his arrest.

Prime Minister of Ethiopia and the Nobel Peace Prize 2019 Abi Ahmed ordered a massive military campaign against officials dissatisfied with the People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in Tigray in early November 2020 after accusing them of attacking the Federal Army bases Given.

Mr Abi declared victory with the capture of the regional capital Mekele at the end of November, but officials fleeing the area have vowed to continue fighting and have been reported ever since.

Last week, EBA Deputy Director General Wondoven Anduelam called on the international media to accurately report the facts or face the consequences.

“The media is authorized to travel to Tigre during this first rotation, he must act with professionalism” or there will be “corrective measures”, he warned.

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