Country Listing

Ethiopia Table of Contents


Public Order and Internal Security

As a result of insurgencies affecting a large part of the country in the 1970s and after, questions of internal security and public order became inseparable from the general problem of national security. Revisions made to the penal code in 1976 helped blur the distinction between political opposition to the government (defined as criminal activity) and categories of crime against persons and property. Army security services and counterinsurgency units assumed many functions formerly assigned to the national police's paramilitary and constabulary units, and local law enforcement was delegated largely to the civilian paramilitary People's Protection Brigades, drawn from peasant association and kebele defense squads. Although criminal investigation remained an important part of the mission of the national police, units of its heavily armed Mobile Emergency Police Force were employed in pursuing insurgents and rooting out political dissidents. The gradual isolation of the Mengistu regime during the 1980s meant that these and other measures designed to suppress internal dissent remained in force until the military government collapsed.

Data as of 1991