February 1, 2006

Oromo: Amnesty International Concerned About Detainees

Amnesty International has expressed its concern about the conditions of 11 university students from Oromia region held incommunicado

Amnesty International expressed its serious concern on Monday about the conditions of 11 university students from Oromia region who were being held incommunicado.

In a press release dated January 30, 2006, Amnesty feared those being held incommunicado were at the risk of facing torture or ill-treatment, and called for investigations into 'several killings' at Ambo Palace prison and Senkele police training centre near Ambo.

According to the report all those detained are incommunicado at a number of different locations, and are at risk of torture or ill-treatment. Furthermore, Amnesty international has revealed the names of those held incommunicado in its press release as below: Ethiopia Shumi Dandana (m) ] Dawit Urga (m) ] Ahmed Musa (m) ] Adam Uma (m) ] students from the Oromia Region Sada Ibrahim (f) ] Ulufa Bilo (m) ] Adem Jildo (m) ] Gemechu Bona (m) ] Musa Buta (m) ] Berhanu Gemechu (m) ] Matewos Teferra (m) ] Addis Ababa University students And thousands of other Oromo students The 11 students named above are among several thousand school and college students from the Oromo ethnic group who have been detained in a series of anti-government demonstrations in different parts of the Oromia Region, in the capital, Addis Ababa, and in other towns.
All those named above are detained incommunicado at a number of different locations, and are at risk of torture or ill-treatment. The arrests have taken place during a wave of student demonstrations which began on 9 November 2005.

The demonstrations are still taking place in some areas. Most of those taking part were secondary school students, some of them children under 18 years old, but teachers, farmers, businesspeople and others have also been detained in connection with the demonstrations.

Most demonstrations reportedly began peacefully but some police and demonstrators were injured, property was damaged and explosions were reported in some places. The demonstrations are said to have taken place after a call by the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) for demonstrations against the government. Demonstrators called, among other political demands, for the release of Oromo political prisoners, including officials of the Mecha Tulema Association, a long-established Oromo welfare association (see UA 180/04, AFR 25/006/2004, 21 May 2004, and follow-ups).

Several demonstrators were reportedly shot dead and others wounded by the security forces. Many protesters were beaten by police. Those detained have reportedly been accused of links with the OLF, although none of them has yet been charged.

Some detainees have been released, but others are being held in locations where torture has frequently been reported, such as Ambo Palace prison and Senkele police training centre, near the town of Ambo. The whereabouts of many of the detainees, some taken to remote rural prisons, are not known. In an incident which may have been related to the demonstrations, two Oromo detainees arrested in 2004, Alemayehu Garba (an Addis Ababa University student who is disabled and one of the subjects of UA 180/04) and Morkota Edosa, were reportedly shot dead by police or prison officers in Kaliti prison in Addis Ababa on 9 December.

 

Source: African New Dimension