Ethiopia arrests ex-head of army firm as crackdown targets security services

Ethiopia arrests ex-head of army firm as crackdown targets security services

Tuesday, November 13, 2018 11:56 pm

Kinfe Dagnew: Arrested by Ethiopian authorities

Ethiopia on Tuesday arrested the former head of a military-run industrial conglomerate, a day after authorities announced investigations targeting senior members of the security forces, state media reported.

“Kinfe Dagnew, a Brigadier General in Ethiopia’s army and former chief executive of METEC, was taken into custody close to the border with Sudan and Eritrea,’’ state-run broadcaster EBC said.

A day earlier the attorney general announced the arrests of other METEC executives in a corruption investigation and the detention of security officials accused of abusing prisoners – moves that were welcomed by rights groups and a prominent opposition politician.

Amnesty International said the arrests announced on Monday “are an important first step towards ensuring full accountability for the abuses that have dogged the country for several decades’’.

One Western envoy, who asked not to be named, described the crackdown as a “full frontal assault on the establishment”.

Kinfe’s arrest was the most high-profile since Prime Minister Ably Aimed came to power in April promising to rein in the security services and tackle what he called economic mismanagement, corruption and rights abuses.

He has pushed through reforms that have upended decades-old policies and hierarchies in east Africa’s economic powerhouse – including moves to let private investors get stakes in the huge conglomerates run by the army and other state bodies.

There was no immediate statement from the attorney general on Kinfe’s arrest.

The Prime Minister’s office referred Reuters to the attorney general. (Reuters/NAN)

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