Ethiopia: Federal Security Forces Rearrest Tigray Opposition Party Senior Leader

Addis Abeba — Federal Security forces in Addis Abeba rearrested Kibrom Berhe, head of foreign affairs relations of the National Congress of Great Tigray (Baytona Party), an opposition political party from Tigray regional state.

This is the second arrest for Kibrom, who has been vocally critical of the civil war in Tigray. He was one of thousands of Tigrayans who were rounded up and detained starting July 2021, in what Amnesty International said was “arbitrary arrests targeting Tigrayans.” Kibrom was released without charges after months of detention in Afar state, and has since authored a book focusing on the civil war in Tigray.

Yosef Hailesselassie, head of Baytona’s Inspection Commission, said that Kibrom was rearrested by security forces on the evening of 10 July. Yesef further said that security forces in plain-clothes first detained Kibrom’s wife between 7 and 8 PM local time Sunday and began asking her for her husband; When Kibrom went, “he was placed under arrest.” His wife has since been released, according to Yosef.

Baytona is an opposition party seeking for a Confederation arrangement with/within Ethiopia between independent states. Its political ideology advocates that the concept of a united Ethiopia is impossible with Ethiopia’s irreconcilable historical and structural constructs.

During the September 09 election for local council in Tigray state, Baytona received 20, 839 of the total votes cast, becoming second after the TPLF.

Kibrom is the second senior Tigray based opposition party leader to be under police custody.

Dori Asgedom, Chairman of Assimba Democratic Party (ADP), another opposition party based in Tigray state, is in police custody in the capital Addis Abeba since 13 January 2021. Assimba is a party that represents the minority Irob community who live in the mountainous area of northeastern Tigray, still under the Eritrean forces occupation.