Ethiopia releases 1,500 prisoners in eastern Somali region

Police officers on patrol in Addis Ababa. Ethiopia has released more than 6,000 prisoners since January, including some high-profile journalists and opposition leaders. (Reuters)
Updated 22 February 2018
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Ethiopia releases 1,500 prisoners in eastern Somali region

NAIROBI: Ethiopia has released more than 1,500 prisoners in its eastern Somali region, government officials said on social media, days after the government declared a state of emergency to try to tamp down unrest in Africa’s second most populous nation.
“On Wednesday, over 1,500 prisoners were released following a pardon by President Abdi Mohammed Omer,” the Somali Region’s communications bureau said on Facebook late on Wednesday, referring to the regional president.
“The inmates had been jailed on charges that include anti-peace activities,” it added, without giving details.
Ethiopia has already released more than 6,000 prisoners since January, including some high-profile journalists and opposition leaders. They were charged with a variety of offenses, including terrorism.
Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said the releases were designed to increase “political space” in Ethiopia following anti-government protests that began in 2015.
Hundreds of people were killed during two years of protests that convulsed the country’s two most populous provinces, whose ethnic Oromo and Amharic communities complain they are under-represented in the country’s corridors of power.
Friday’s declaration of a six-month-long state of emergency followed Hailemariam’s surprise resignation on Thursday. He remains in office, overseeing the region’s biggest economy, until a new prime minister is appointed.
The government previously imposed a state of emergency in October 2016, which was lifted in August 2017. During that time, curfews were in place, movement was restricted and about 29,000 people were detained. It’s unclear how many remain in prison.


Report: US to send caskets to North Korea to return war remains

Updated 23 June 2018
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Report: US to send caskets to North Korea to return war remains

  • South Korean media say the US military plans to send 215 caskets to North Korea through a border village
  • North Korea agreed to send home US war remains during a June 12 meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump

SEOUL, South Korea: South Korean media say the US military plans to send 215 caskets to North Korea through a border village so that the North could begin the process of returning the remains of US soldiers who have been missing since the 1950-53 Korean War.
Officials from the United States Forces Korea and South Korea’s Defense Ministry on Saturday did not immediately return calls for comment.
South Korea’s Yonhap news agency cited an unnamed source as saying that about 30 US military vehicles carrying the caskets were expected to cross into the North on Saturday afternoon.
North Korea agreed to send home US war remains during a June 12 meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump.