Ethiopia Detains Reuters Journalist Covering Tigray Conflict

Ethiopian authorities arrested a Reuters cameraman on Christmas eve and will detain him for at least two weeks, his employer said.

Kumerra Gemechu was arraigned in court but is yet to be charged, Reuters Editor-in-Chief Stephen J. Adler said in a statement.

“Kumerra’s work demonstrates his professionalism and impartiality, and we are aware of no basis for his detention,” Adler said. “Journalists must be allowed to report the news in the public interest without fear of harassment or harm, wherever they are.”

Kumerra was covering a conflict between federal troops and forces aligned to the dissident Tigray People’s Liberation Front in the north of the country. His arrest follows government pressure on other journalists working for international news outlets, including Reuters photographer Tiksa Negeri, who was beaten by federal police officers on Dec. 16, the news agency said.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government said it routed the TPLF, which dominated the government for nearly three decades, from Tigray after it attacked a federal army base. There have been heavy casualties during the conflict that began on Nov. 4 and tens of thousands have fled their homes.

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