May 08, 2015

Oromo: HRLHA Reports Arrest of 50 Students

The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) correspondents have issued a report informing about the Government-sponsored arrest of over 50 students in the city of Ambo. More than 20 students were also severely beaten and are now being treated at the Ambo General Hospital. Tension has increased in the country in the context of the upcoming 24 May elections. According to HLRHA, these arrests are aimed at getting rid of supporters and members of opposition political parties. 

Below is a statement published by the Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa:


Harassments and intimidations through arbitrary arrests, kidnappings and disappearances have continued unabated in Ambo and the surrounding areas against Oromo youths and intellectuals since the crackdowns of last year April, 2014, when more than 79 Oromos, mostly youths, were killed by members of the federal security force.

According to HRLHA correspondents in Ambo, the major targets of this most recent government-sponsored violence were Ambo University and high school Oromo students in Ambo town. In this incident which started on April 20, 2015 more than 50 university and high school students were arrested; more than 20 were severely beaten by the security force and taken to Ambo General Hospital for treatment.

Although it has been difficult to identify everyone by their names, HRLHA correspondents have confirmed that the following were among the arrestees:

1. Magarsa Mashsha Ayyana, Male, Student /Ambo University, health professional

2. Urgessa Danana, Male, Student, Rift Valley College

3. Birehanu Diriba, Male, Teacher, Rift Valley College

4. Getachew Gadaa Dereje, Male, Student, Jimma University

5. Tarku Debisa, Male

6. Abdata Olansa, Male

7. Marara Tujuba, Male

8. Homa Hundasa

9. Argamsisa Lenjisa, Male, Student, Ambo University 4th year

10. Obsa Abdissa, Male, Student, Liban Mecha School 9th grade

11. Homa Hundassa, Male

12. Kumsa Bayisa, Male, Student, Liban Mecha School 9th grade

13. Tadesse Sime, Male, Student, Liban Mecha School 9th grade

14. Daran Demisse, Male, Businessman Kebele 02, Ambo

15. Amsalu Midhaqsa, Male

16. Solomon Abebe, Male, Student, 10th grade

17. Gamachu Siyum, Male

18. Sisay Lamessa, Male

19. Misgana Chemeda, Male

20. Geleta Chaluma, Male

21. Chimidessa Mutasa, Male

Those who were badly beaten and hospitalized in Ambo general Hospital:

1. Gabisee Simee Student, 7th grade

2. Motuma Kumala

3. Bdhassa Gurmu

4. Rajiif Qajela, Student, 9th grade

5. Fayera Bekele, Male,Student, 9th grade

According to HRLHA reporters, the arrests were made to clear out supporters and members of the other political organizations running for the fifth election to be held May 24, 2015. The EPRDF, led by the late Meles Zenawi, claimed victory in the elections of 1995, 2000, 2005 and 2010. The TPLF/EPRDF government of Ethiopia has started a campaign of intimidation against its opponents. Extra-judicial arrests and imprisonments particularly in the regional state of Oromia, the most populous region in the country, began at the end of October 2014.

The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) expresses its deep concern over the safety and well-being of these Oromo nationals who have been arrested without any court warrant and are being held at police stations and unknown detention centers. The Ethiopian government has a well-documented record of gross and flagrant violations of human rights, including the torturing of its own citizens who were suspected of supporting, sympathizing with and/or being members of the opposition political organizations. There have been credible reports of physical and psychological abuses committed against individuals in Ethiopian official prisons and other secret detention centers.

HRLHA calls upon governments of the West, all local, regional and international human rights agencies to join hands and demand the immediate halt to such extra-judicial actions against one’s own citizens, and the unconditional release of the detainees.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to the Ethiopian Government and its officials as swiftly as possible, in English, Ahmaric, or your own language. The following are suggested:

Indicate your concern about citizens being tortured in different detention centers including the infamous Ma'ikelawi Central Investigation Office; and calling for their immediate and unconditional release; Urge the Ethiopian authorities to ensure that detainees will be treated in accordance with the regional and international standards on the treatment of prisoners, and that their whereabouts be disclosed, and Make sure the coming May 24, 2015 election is fair and free