Ethiopia: Despite Improvement, Security in Eastern Ethiopia Neighboring States Remain a Challenge

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Despite encouraging improvements, peace and security in eastern Ethiopia neighboring states remained challenged by a host of factors. This was disclosed at a conference by the security council of eastern Ethiopian regional state which opened yesterday in Harar city of Harari regional state, one of the states in eastern Ethiopia.

According to a report presented at the conference by Colonel Mengesha Fentaw, operations chief of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) eastern command division, indicated that due to coordinated efforts of all security apparatus in the area, encouraging results have been registered in the fight against violence, break down of rule of law, contraband as well as humans and arms trafficking in the regions. These are factors largely believed to have contributed to the severe violence in eastern Ethiopia, which have caused the death of hundreds and displacements of more than 1.2 million civilians particularly between 2016 and 2018.

But in the last two months, coordinated efforts by regional and federal security apparatus resulted in the seizure of several types of 674 illegal firearms and more than 28, 000 ammunition; the return of more than 12, 000 households of internally displaced persons; as well as return to their homes of 2, 894 people who were on their ways to be smuggled via the eastern front borders, the colonel's report said, encouraging results were also registered in preventing contraband and money laundering.

However, robbery, particularly in urban areas, non-state structures, land grabbing, illegal housing, religious fundamentalism and contraband remain a challenge in the neighboring regional states. Eastern Ethiopia neighboring states are Oromia, Somali, Afar, and Harari regional states as well as Dire Dawa chartered city administration.

More works are being done to put preemptive measures in place in order to prevent contraband and money laundering in particular, Colonel Mengesha said, adding additional emphasis should be given to the lower level state structures in these regional states.

Speaking at the opening of the conference, Ordin Bedri, president of Harari regional state, said his region was still besieged by lack of rule of law, illegal land grabbing and housing, which should be tackled vigorously.

Yesterday's conference by eastern Ethiopian neighboring states security council is the fourth such conference in the last one year and was attended by members of the federal army, including the eastern command division, members of the federal police, regional security officials, senior leadership of the four regional states, Dire Dawa chartered city, and religious leaders among others. AS

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