Jan 25, 2010

Oromo: Mass Arrests of Oromos in Many Parts of Oromia

Active ImageAs the Ethiopian national election is approaching, another wave of mass arrests is intensifying in various parts of Oromia region. The scale of the mass arrests is an all-out action all over the region.
Below is an article published by Gadaa.com:

As the Ethiopian national election is approaching, another wave of mass arrests is intensifying in various parts of Oromia region. According to OHRRO’s correspondents, right from Oromia, the scale of the mass arrests is an all-out action all over the region. But, first, precisely because of the widely spread nature of the mass arrests and, secondly, because of the extremely tight control and monopoly of information by the regime, OHRRO’s sources of information could not come up even with a reasonably partial lists of the arrested.

It is generally reported that the arrest campaign is largely concentrated in eastern and central part of Oromia.

In Hararge alone, it is estimated that more than 500 people have been arrested in only two consecutive dates 14th and 15th January. The arrested are from all walks of life, with no discrimination of age, gender or occupation. About 350 of the arrested are from Haroomaaya locality while the rest are reported to be from Kombolcha, Dadar, Karroo, Dhangaggoo and Qarsaa villages of the Hararge region. Among those from Haroomayaa, two senior university students of Computer Science were mentioned in their first names as Gaadisaa and Beekamaa, both of whom were reportedly abducted by the regime’s security forces from the university campus under extremely confidential circumstances. It is also reported that a 7th grade pupil named Caalaa was shot dead by the local security forces in the town known as Qarsaa. Two more students named Toofiq Aliyyii and Abdujabbaar Aliyyii, most likely brothers, were also shot and severely wounded. Their whereabouts is not yet known, because they have been taken away by the TPLF authorities in order to keep the incident secret from the public under the pretext of medical treatment. It is reported that these shooting cases have caused uproar and a serious social unrest in the community as this has been testified by an escalating confrontation between government forces and the community at large.

This being the situation in Hararge, two other students from the Awaasaa University, with names Jaataniin and Dhaabaa (a female and male, respectively), were also secretly abducted and reportedly sent to the notorious central prison of the federal government known as Ma’ikelawi.

As already mentioned, the mass arrest campaign is not limited to the Hararge region. Many Oromos in eastern Shoa were also victims of the campaign. Here, most of the victims were reported to be school teachers and pupils.

Accordingly, the following are few names OHRRO received so far as arrested, from the locality known as Dugdaa in eastern Shoa alone, as a part of the mass-abduction campaign in Oromia:

1. Daraaraa Baqqalaa – a school teacher
2. Maaramaa Mulugeetaa – a school teacher
3. Dhugaa Miidhagsoo – a school teacher
4. Gabbisaa Doorii – finance officer
5. A person only with first name Isheetu and two other students, whose name have not yet been disclosed, were all abducted together.
6. Magarsaa Bultoo from Dukam town at Aqqaqi district – abducted while he was on teaching duty in the local school
7. A person with only first name Tamirat – a teacher at Odaa Nabee secretly abducted
8. Gamachuu Baqqalaa – a student at Bishooftu (Debrezeit) high school abducted from home early in the morning before he was awake by the regime’s police force.
9. Bulbulaa Takkaa – a student also from Bishooftu (Debrezeit) abducted under similar circumstances

These are the few names disclosed so far among hundreds of Oromos herded into prison. As it has always been, their circumstance is extremely precarious. No one can tell about their final fate. It is highly probable that they will be liable to physical torture, long imprisonment or even death without due jurisdiction. As most of the arrested are likely family heads and communally important individuals, the further humanitarian consequence of their arrest would be immense, both in terms of quantitative and qualitative dimensions. Therefore, this indiscriminate action of the TPLF/EPRDF regime is tantamount to declaring a war against the Oromo people at large.

Given such overall flagrant human rights abuses, the Oromo Human Right and Relief Organization (OHRRO) is gravely concerned about the devastating humanitarian consequences and its socio-political aftermath. It appeals, therefore, to all freedom and peace loving governments and non-governmental organizations to react and put the necessary pressure on the TPLF/EPRDF regime before things go out of every one’s control.