BBN Special Ethiopian News January 27, 2018
The Amhara people have long been at odds with the incumbent regime in Addis Ababa, but a brutal crackdown on Amhara protesters in 2016 served to permanently widen the divide between the region’s inhabitants and their rulers.
For decades, the allocation of the Wolkait Tegede region — believed by many Amharas to be an ancestral land belonging to their kin —to the neighbouring Tigray regional State has been a contentious sticking point. In 2016, a committee of concerned citizens attempted to engage central authorities in dialogue to end the stalemate, but members of the “Wolkait Committee” were repeatedly rebuffed and eventually rounded up and imprisoned.
The group’s leader, Colonel Demeke Zewdu, took to the media to express his frustrations. “The (Amhara) people have been opposing this in different forms,” he told Voice of America in August 2016. “Under the Tigray Region administration, the (Wolkait) people didn’t gain any benefits. Land has been taken away from them and they don’t have socio-economic advantages. The society feels like it is regarded as second-class citizens.”
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