Five police officers have been arrested in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa for “misusing” the powers given to the security forces under a state of emergency declared to contain the threat posed by rebel forces, the city’s police spokesman said
The officers were in negotiations with “brokers” trying to secure the release of detainees in exchange for money, Commander Fasika Fanta said.
The four “brokers” have also been arrested, he added.
It’s not clear whether they’ve appeared in court or what their response is to the accusations.
Weapons and Materials
The commander said hundreds of illegal kalashnikov rifles and guns, police uniforms, money, Sim cards, fake IDs, and satellite phones had been seized in the past few days alone.
Ethiopia declared a state of emergency earlier this month after Tigrayan fighters from the north threatened to march on the capital.
Under the six-month emergency, the authorities have sweeping powers to arrest people, detain suspects without trial, and conduct house searches without warrants.
Human rights groups and the UN have expressed concerns about mass detentions.
Police have been accused of arresting people based on their ethnicity, an allegation they deny.
They have not said how many people have been detained, and did not give details.
The UN says at least 1,000 people, mostly ethnic Tigrayans, have been arrested so far.
Others put the number higher.
The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission said on Thursday that more than 700 have been arrested in just one part of the capital.
Ethiopian Police detained for ‘misusing’ Powers