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Ethiopia lifts travel restrictions on diplomats

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Festival goers flee during a deadly stampede in Bishoftu on October 2, 2016. Several people died in the stampeded after police fired teargas at protestors. An  unprecedented wave of protests has prompted the government to declare a six-month state of emergency. PHOTO | AFP

Ethiopian festival goers flee during a deadly stampede in Bishoftu on October 2, 2016 that saw several people die after police fired teargas at protestors. The country has lifted a ban restrciting diplomats from leaving Addis Ababa. PHOTO | FILE 

By AFP

Posted  Tuesday, November 8   2016 at  16:46

Ethiopia on Tuesday lifted a ban on foreign diplomats leaving the capital Addis Ababa, imposed as part of a countrywide state of emergency following unprecedented anti-government protests.

A statement published on the state-controlled Fana Broadcasting Corporate website said the government "has lifted the directive which restricts diplomats from travelling beyond a 40 kilometres (25 mile) radius out of Addis Ababa without notification".

Defence minister Siraj Fegessa reportedly told a press conference that the move followed "the relative peace and security" in the country since a state of emergency was declared on October 9 after nearly a year of sometimes violent anti-government protests.

Other restrictions, including a dusk-to-dawn curfew in some places, and restrictions on access to the media and the internet remain in place.

Human rights groups say hundreds of mostly Oromo and Amhara protesters have been killed by Ethiopian security forces in the last year as the government sought to end protests representing the biggest challenge to its authority since coming to power 25-years ago.