The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission is concerned by the detention of 19 women along with their young children in Bulen Woreda of Metekel zone, Benishangul Gumuz Region. The women are wives of suspects wanted in connection with the ongoing security related interventions by the Command Post still in charge in Metekel Zone and relevant local authorities. The Commission has also learned of the arrest of seven men suspected of granting and/or releasing on bail suspects whom, authorities have told the Commission, later absconded on their bail.

The Commission also understands that significant measures are ongoing to reinforce the local and regional security, in particular, following the killing by armed groups of five militia members and injury of an additional two in Dobi, Bulen Woreda, on the morning of 31 August 2021. However, the arrest of the wives of the suspects, which amounts to “arrest by proxy”, is unlawful. EHRC will continue to engage with relevant authorities to monitor the situation and urges for the immediate release of the detainees.