Addis Abeba: Amhara State Government Communication Bureau Head, Gizatchew Muluneh, told the Ethiopian Press Agency that the government “will organize” and “not disarm” Fano members who have paid scarifies for the survival of the country and people’s freedom.
Gizatchew Muluneh said that in the history of the Amhara people, the Fano protect the Amhara “from the enemy and humiliations” as well as pay scarifies for the Amhara people to benefit fron development and political areas. Therefore, the government “will further organize” the Fano and “will not disarm them.”
The Fano are armed group of thousands of young men and women in Amhara regional state who are not a part of the regular structure in both the federal and state security apparatus but have been on the side of the federal and regional forces in the ongoing armed conflict with Tigrayan forces.
Gizachew said that the Fano have made great strides in thwarting the military attack by Tigrayan forces in Amhara regional state and have paid the price with their lives. The government recognizes and rewards those individuals, and has no reason to disarm them, he said further explaining that the government’s intention was not to disarm the Fano, but to help those who sustained hurt while fighting for their country in a manner accorded to other security forces.
His statement came in the wake of a widely circulated document allegedly prepared by the federal government detailing post-war security challenges facing different regional states including Amhara region. The document discusses the challenges of privatization of arms among civilians and irregular armed groups especially the Fano. Authorities in Amhara region have since distanced the region from the document.
Gizachew further said that in addition to repelling enemy forces, Fano is an armed group that, in the event of a disaster in the region, will coordinate with other government security forces in the same manner as any other security forces to mitigate disasters. In times of peace, those who are farmers will farm, these who come from business backgrounds will return to do normal business, he said, adding at times of peace, most of the Fano members are at work. In the event that there are Fano members without jobs, the government will create ways in which they will be made to engage in works. “Fano respects law and order and pays sacrifices for the benefit of the people of Amhara,” according to Gizachew.
The regional government would enforce the rule of law in accordance with the laws in the region. If there are unruly forces involved in looting and other acts of violence, they will be held to account, Gizachew said and assured that Fano is not a force beyond the control of the government and will be judged under the government like any other community. Anyone who deviates from this should not be called by the name of Fano, the state media quoted Gizachew as saying.
However, he indicated that the regional government, starting from its political leadership, has interested to organized in an orderly manner the use of force and what to do in the event of something happening involving arms. To this end he emphasized that the attempt was not related to disarmament but a process that looks into the orderly administration of arms in the region. He criticized the use of social media to disseminate untraceable confusion to divide the people, sow hate among each other, and create uncertainties to weakening the people of Amhara. He also said that the public should only take information from the right sources without paying attention to these forces.