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Ethiopia peace minister arrests for being critical of PM Abiy held for suspected coup plot

December 12, 2023


Ethiopia’s state minister of peace has been fired and arrested on accusations he conspired with rebel groups to overthrow the government, state media reported on Tuesday.

The move against Taye Dendea, a senior member of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s party, follows a series of social media posts he has made in the past week criticising the government for failing to maintain peace in the country.

Sintayew Alemayew, Taye’s wife, said her husband was arrested by dozens of uniformed and plainclothed police on Monday night, and said authorities gave her three days to leave her house or face eviction.

Last week Taye blamed the government for the failure of a second round of peace talks between Ethiopia and the rebel group Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), which took place in Tanzania last month.

A statement sent by the security apparatus to state media said surveillance revealed Taye was in touch with rebel groups, including the OLA, with the aim to topple the current administration.

A spokesperson for the OLA did not respond to requests for comment. Taye was not available for comment and the family had not yet engaged a lawyer, his wife said.

Despite releasing thousands of political prisoners since coming to power in 2018, Abiy’s government has since cracked down on dissent by arresting critics of wars it has waged against rebellions in several regions, human rights groups say.

The government says its actions have been legal and necessary to respond to threats to national security.

A spokesperson for the Ethiopian government did not respond to requests for comment on the arrest.

After he was sacked, Taye lashed out at Abiy calling the prime minister “a barbarian” who plays with “human blood”.

“I understand that you removed me from power because I stand for the for peace so that the killing of the brothers would stop,” he said in a Facebook post on Monday.

A member of the Oromo people, Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, Taye has been a rare critic inside the ruling party of abuses the country’s human rights body says were committed by government forces against civilians in Oromiya.

The OLA is an outlawed splinter group of the Oromo Liberation Front, a formerly banned opposition party that returned from exile after Abiy – himself an Oromo – took office in 2018.

The conflict in Oromiya in recent years has killed hundreds of people and displaced tens of thousands in Ethiopia’s most populous region.

Writing by Giulia Paravicini, editing by Aaron Ross and Nick Macfie

ወደ ስልጣን እንዲመጣ የረዱት የአብይ አህመድ የቅርብ ወዳጆቹ ናቸው። ዛሬ ተገለዋል፥ ተገፍተዋል፥ ወይም ታስረዋል! ይቀጥላልም እያለ ነው። Who’s next?


  1. Here goes the neighborhood!!! African governments never seem to have the stomach even for the mildest criticism let alone for a scathing one like this. But in the past all had failed to silence/eradicate criticism. In all fairness, sometimes both sides don’t know how to play/handle the game. Sooner or later some one is gonna get tired of arresting and what to follow? Your guess is good as mine. Not a good sign.

    • This clearly shows again that Abiy is a typical vindictive, brute, petulant child, superficially
      self confident and narcissist ethiopian leader like his
      predecessors of Col. Mengistu, Melez et al. He can’t stand for any criticism constructive or not, perceived slight or imagined. He had no mercy for anyone be friends or foes and indebted him to something or helped him someway in the past. He. Would with treat and avenge with same manner and ferocity.

  2. Can I ask something? How could a man like Taye Dendea who has been arrested many times for supporting terrorist groups (if terrorist means people or groups of people who oppose the government or the way the government is handling things), who is well known to criticize the government or the leadership while he is still holding a position, an experienced man who knows how the government handle things (like arresting oppositions and raiding their homes to come up with “WE GOT SOMETHING AT HIS HOME WHICH ARE LINKS TO TERRORIST GROUPS AND FIRE ARMS TO OVERTHROW THE GOVERNEMENT AND DESTROY THE CONSTITUTION bla bla bla bla…” will keep such things (documents/plans to overthrow the government, firearms, different other people’s IDS or passports and a terrorist flag (if it is what they say it is)) at his home while he recently have been criticizing the leadership openly? COULD SOMEBODY TELL ME? By the way, what is happening to his family right now is a warning for the others who could be the next TAYE DENDEA! well Taye has “GIVEN HIS EYE TEETH!” it is an idiom.

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