Ethiopian Police Deny Claims of Plot to Harm Leading Activist

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(Bloomberg) -- Police in Ethiopia refuted allegations by the executive director of the Oromia Media Network of a plan to endanger his life by withdrawing his state-provided security.

There is instead a gradual withdrawal of security personnel assigned to activists and politicians, according to the Ethiopian Federal Police Commission’s chief, Endeshaw Tasew.

Jawar Mohammed, an influential Oromo activist previously based in the U.S., returned to Ethiopia in 2018 following reforms initiated by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Since taking office in April 2018, Abiy has released thousands of prisoners and began talks with opposition groups after a quarter century of tight control by the ruling party. The state also dropped charges against Jawar and other critics.

“I am now informed that talk of removing my security so that my adversaries can ‘teach me lesson’ was discussed privately in some circles,” Jawar posted on Facebook. The move exposes him to civilian attackers, he said. Supporters blocked roads and disrupted business in his neighborhood to demand his security.

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