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Tigray Region president Debretsion Gebremichael raises concern about arrest of corruption suspects

Tigray Region president Debretsion Gebremichael raises concern about the arrest of corruption suspects. More details from Reuters:

The accusation marked growing tensions between elements in the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) - a movement that has dominated Ethiopia for decades - and new reformist prime minister Abiy Ahmed who has upended politics with a string of radical reforms.

At least 79 security officers, officials, businessmen and women, many of them Tigrayan, have been arrested since last week - under what the government said was a clamp-down on corruption and mistreatment of prisoners.

Amnesty International and other rights groups have welcomed the arrests. But TPLF chair Debretsion Gebremichael said on Monday the arrests ordered under “the pretext of corruption and human rights are being used to attack Tigrayans”.

The prime minister’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Debretsion’s remarks.

The TPLF’s Debretsion did not spell out who he thought was behind the arrests, that were announced by the government’s attorney general. “There is a foreign involvement in the process. Thus, it is unacceptable,” he said, without giving further details.

Debretsion picked out last week’s arrest of Kinfe Dagnew, a Tigrayan major general in the army and former chief executive of the METEC military-led conglomerate.

“While Kinfe was arrested peacefully, they tied him with handcuffs. This is a political attack,” Debretsion told a news conference.

“While they should have gone after an individual, they went after an ethnic group and a party,” he said in comments aired by Dimtsi Woyane TV.

Kinfe and others appeared in court but have not been charged or entered any pleas. There have been no statements from them or lawyers representing them.