ADDIS ABABA, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- Ethiopia's northwestern Amhara regional state on Tuesday granted amnesty for 1,981 prisoners ahead of the upcoming Ethiopian New Year, which starts on September 11.
Gedu Andargachew, President of Ethiopia's Amhara regional state, said that the prisoners "were freed because they showed remorse and met the requirements for clemency."
Andargachew, who urged the pardoned individuals to be peaceful and productive while joining the community, further called on them to do their parts in creating peaceful community.
Ethiopia has a unique calendar deriving from the Ethiopian Orthodox Church traditions whereby the country counts its annual year seven to eight years, based on leap year, behind the internationally acclaimed Gregorian calendar. Accordingly, the Ethiopian New Year that falls on September 11, 2017 will be 2010.
The east African country had declared 10-day long nationwide celebrations, which started from September 1, 2017, to usher in the upcoming Ethiopian New Year.
The 10-day long nationwide celebrations include Love Day, Mothers' and Children's Day, Elders' Day, Peace Day, Reading Day, Green Development Day, Respect Day, National Feelings Day, Unity Day and Ethiopia Day.
Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome, in his New Year message to the public, said the various events will be used to highlight the east African nation's significant gains in the socio-economic and political sectors over the past decade.
He, however, indicated that poverty, unemployment and El Nino-induced drought, some of the challenges that the nation faced in the past years, will continue to challenge the country in the upcoming year.