The arrests have been within the state of emergency government decreed to contain violence.
The State of Emergency Inquiry Board says Ethiopian authorities have arrested and detained about 11,607 people since October 9, 2016 in a measure put in place to curb widespread violence that had gripped the country, Al Jazeera reported.
Taddesse Hordofa, chairperson of the board said the people are detained to in six prisons and there are 347 women among the detainees. In a television statement of Saturday, November 12, 2016, Taddesse Hordofa said, "Some 11,607 individuals have so far been detained in six prisons, of which 347 are female, in connection with the state of emergency declared in the country," Al Jaeera quoted. He said offences for the arrests ranged from serious crimes such as "attacking security forces using firearms" or "killing civilians and members of security forces" to the much more mundane "denying provision of public services" and "disrupting movement of vehicles".
The figure indicates a huge increase on the 2,500 arrests Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemarian Desalegn declared at the end of October. On October 31, Defence Minister Siraj Fegessa announced that 2,000 people who had participated in protests had been released. However, Saturday's announcement had no details on how many of the arrested remain in prison.
Human Rights groups say more than 500 people have been killed in unrest since last year, triggered initially by anger over a development scheme for the capital, Addis Ababa, which demonstrators said would force farmers off their land in the surrounding Oromo region. Reports say the protests evolved into broader demonstrations over politics and human rights and led to attacks on businesses, many of them foreign-owned, prompting the government to declare a six-month nationwide state of emergency.
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