The Daily Monitor (Addis Ababa)

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.

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