The head of Ethiopia’s violence-stricken region of Amhara, which the federal government has placed under a state of emergency, has stepped down, according to an official statement reported Friday.
Amhara’s parliament has ratified the resignation tendered by the regional president, Dr. Yilkal Kefale, and named Arega Kebede as his successor, according to a statement relayed by the official Amhara Media Corporation.
The resignation, which occurred on Wednesday, followed discussions within the Regional Council, also referred to as the legislature, regarding the prevailing security situation in the region, statement said.
“After the discussion a consensus agreement was reached (on the need) for consistent reform,” it said.
Tensions escalated in the northern region this year following the conclusion of a devastating conflict in the neighboring Tigray region, which also involved fighters from Amhara.
In April, the federal government declared its intention to disband regional forces throughout the country.
The decision prompted protests from Amhara nationalists who contended that it would undermine the strength of their region.
In early July, clashes broke out between the national army and local combatants, leading to the declaration of a six-month state of emergency by the authorities in Addis Ababa on August 4th.
Comprising over 80 distinct ethno-linguistic communities, Ethiopia has faced ongoing challenges in effectively managing the diversity within its borders.
Functioning as a federal republic, Ethiopia is organized into nine regional states aligned with ethnic and linguistic divisions, along with two administrative councils encompassing Addis Ababa.
The Regional Council, primarily influenced by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s Prosperity Party, had designated Yilkal in October 2021. His replacement is relatively unfamiliar within the political landscape.