9 November 2006

Ethiopia: Inquiry Commission Says Police Mentality Contributed to Chaos

Addis Ababa — The Inquiry Commission which was tasked to look in to the violence after the May national election on Wednesday recommended a special skill development programs for the country's security forces, as the luck of it contributed to the undesired disturbance and destruction which otherwise could have been averted.

"The government was not ready for the violence that occurred following the May national election in the country. More over, the security forces lacked the necessary training in controlling riots," said Dr.Gemechu Megerssa member of the commission at a press conference it called for the second time before and after presenting the report to the Parliament.

"The mentality of the police needs to be changed, and then we will be able to minimize those kinds of casualties in the future. That is what the government has to think about seriously," Gemetchu said, The commission, which presented its report to the House last week, also identified wrongdoings on the part of the government while trying to control the violence in and around Addis Ababa.

"We are not saying the government was totally clean. The government has a lot to be accountable for. We have clearly put this issue in the report," Megerssa said.

It is to be recalled that the commission confirmed the death of 193 civilians and six police officers due to the violence in June and beginning of November 2005.

"They (the police) could have brought other ways of dispersing the riots," Gemechu said.

Gemetchu added that democratic institutions needed to be built in Ethiopia in order for its human rights record to improve but cautioned that is a slow process and that police reform was a step that could be taken immediately.

"Building of institutions is required, but that is going to take time," he said.

"We need to do today what needs to be done today. Without democratic institutions, human rights will be hard to respect." Mekonnen Disassa, Acting chairman of the Commission also noted that the commission undertook its investigation accurately and as mandated.

The Commission mandate will expire today, Thursday, November 9, 2006.

Copyright © 2006 The Daily Monitor. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.