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Merera Gudina and his colleagues detained in Western Ethiopia

Merera Gudia, Bekele Gerba and two other Oromo Federalist congress leaderships reportedly detained by Federal police in Wollega

Merera Gudina - Ethiopia
Merera Gudina struggling with tears at Ambo stadium

February 24, 2018

A report published today by Addis Standard, one of the locally based media outlets in Ethiopia, says recently released leaders of Oromo Federalist Congress, Merera Gudina, and Bekele Gerba, are detained by Federal police in Wellega, Western parts of Ethiopia.

The source cited Secretary of OFC’s youth league, Addisu Bulala, to report that the situation created a standoff in Gute town, near Nekemt, where the chairman and secretary of Oromo Federalist Congress are detained.

    “After addressing our supporters in other small cities on our way to Nekemt, when we reached Gute, few kilometers outside of Nekemt, we were stopped by federal security forces. We have been held for the last four hours and no one is explaining to us what would happen next,” Addisu, who spoke to Addis Standard by phone, is cited as saying.

Apparently, the regional police did not cause any problems. The leaders expressed concern that their supporters who have been eagerly waiting for their arrival could confront the federal police which may lead, in their view, to undesirable consequences.

Since their release, Oromo Federalist Congress leaders have been touring different towns in Oromo region of Ethiopia to greet and thank their supporters for the resilient struggle that led to their abrupt release.

Apart from Merera Gudia and Bekele Gerba, Dejene Taffa and Gurmesa Ayano, also recently released political leaders, are detained according to Addis Standard.

At this writing, it is not known if federal security let the detained politicians go and conduct their rally in the city of Nekemt.

On February 15, Prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn abruptly announced in his seven minutes televised speech that he is resigning from his chairmanship of the ruling coalition and from his responsibility in the government. The following day, Ethiopia declared a state of emergency which was announced first as an open-ended. The next day, the government announced six months of initial timeframe with a possibility of four months of extension.

The state of emergency prohibited any forms of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, among other things. It was declared effective the day it was announced although the Ethiopian parliament, which is in recession, was supposed to approve it before becomes effective. There have been reports that Oromo regional state opposed the declaration of the state of emergency.

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