Police accuse EHRCO of instigating University students to riot
The Reporter 04/25/01
(by a Staff Reporter)
The Federal Police Crime Prevention Department accused the Ethiopian Human Right Council (EHRCO) and some political parties Sunday of instigating students to riot and being involved in the riots.
Police said it had traced the involvement of EHRCO in illegal activities back to a gathering of University students in National Lottery Hall called by the Council on April 8. The statement added that the police had suspicion regarding the fact that EHRCO had delegated some students to instigate other students to disturb the city.
The police statement mentioned the names of two executive committee members of the Council and a University lecturer who had attended the meeting called by EHRCO, namely: Prof. Andargachew Tesfaye, Chairman of EHRCO and lecturer at Addis Ababa University, Prof. Mesfin Wolde Mariam, Executive Committee member of EHRCO and Dr. Birhanu Nega, a lecturer in Addis Ababa University.
In a press conference EHRCO gave on 21 April, it refuted the government allegations as "baseless," and a "mere fabrication." In a press relase it gave under the title "An Appalling and Dangerous Violation of the Rights of Students", EHRCO said the accusation would "neither resolve the students' problems nor redress the wanton destruction already caused." The Council added that it had carried out its duty, i.e., to teach students about their academic rights.
The statement of police accused EHRCO of not condemning the illegal actions of rioters. However, the Council's press release said the Council "condemns all illegal actions that occurred in connection with the demands raised by students of the Addis Ababa University."
In connection with this, the police announced that it had arrested some members of political parties. The statement also mentioned the names of members of the All-Amhara People's Organization (AAPO) and the Ethiopian Democratic Party (EDP) who were arrested and killed in the riot.
Meanwhile, EDP announced recently that Ato Lidetu Ayalew, General-Secretary of the party, had been arrested by the police. So far the police had not commented on the alleged imprisonment of Ato Lidetu Ayalew. According to the Federal Police, 31 civilians died and 253 others sustained injuries in the riot.