Ethiopia vows no military takeover amid latest emergency

Ethiopia's prime minister resigned on Thursday amid widespread public protests

The Council of ministers is set to declare a state of emergency for three months as of this morning, a source close to the government told Addis Standard.

The government previously imposed a state of emergency in October 2016, which was lifted in August 2017.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn's surprise resignation came after sustained anti-government protests in the East African country.

State-affiliated Fana Broadcast Corporate also reported Siraj dismissing "as false rumours of military takeover of the government".

The announcement said the state of emergency was deemed necessary to quell unrest in various parts of the country and to prevent destruction of public property. It is the second state of emergency in two years and comes a day after the prime minister resigned.

He said security forces had been instructed to take "measures" against those who disrupted order and that a new special court had been set up to try them.

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In an effort to ease tensions, the government this week released more than 700 prisoners arrested during the protests and a previous state of emergency. "The state of emergency is effective as of today".

Ethiopia's cabinet on Friday cited deaths, ethnic attacks and mass displacement as reasons for the latest state of emergency. A stampede at a religious event southeast of the capital, Addis Ababa, that month claimed the lives of several dozen people.

Rights groups alleged that people were beaten and subjected to arbitrary detentions.

In recent months, internal political wrangling between four coalition partners of EPRDF, Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF), Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM), South Ethiopia People's Democratic Movement and Oromo Peoples Democratic Organization (OPDO) has cast fears over the stability of the nation of about 100 million people. The government maintained those arrested were by mistake and people were released after what it described as "training".

The United States has responded to the latest unrest by warning its embassy personnel to suspend all travel outside of the capital. "It brings temporary silence but not normalcy".

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