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Ethiopia: Jawar Mohammed statement triggers violence, at least six killed in Oromo region

Hours after Jawar Mohammed claimed on a facebook page that armed group are deployed in the area of his residence, his followers swing to violence halting business activities and mobility in some towns in Oromo region of Ethiopia. It is not yet verified if armed groups were deployed to his residence

Jawar Mohammed _ Oromo region _ Ethiopia
Situation after the protest in some towns in Oromo region of Ethiopia. Photo credit BBC Amharic

October 23, 2019

Several towns in Oromo region of Ethiopia are reportedly experiencing security crisis as youth groups who call themselves “Qeerroo” are taking to the streets following owner of Oromia Media Network and radical ethnic Oromo nationalist, Jawar Mohammed, shared an update on his Facebook page  on Tuesday night saying that government is removing security personnel from his residence. 

Ambo, Adama, Shashemele, and Awoday in Harar are some of the towns where protest broke out, according to a report by BBC Amharic service. 

At least six people are reportedly killed. BBC Amharic cited Ambo hospital director Debebe Fetene to report that three people were killed, and they were reportedly shot. Residents of the city claim that three other people were wounded. 

It happened after a confrontation between police and protestors. Police fired tear gas to disperse it but were apparently overpowered by protestors who were throwing rocks at police. 

In Adama (Nazret), there was a clash between groups who condemn the radicalized ethnic Oromo nationalist youth groups who call themselves “qeerroo” and youth groups who are said to be supporters of Jawar Mohammed. 

Ethiopian Defense Force and Oromo regional state police force were deployed in Adama to control the clash. 

Regarding casualties in Adama, the city’s communication office head,Rawuda Hussien, said that a security guard in the city’s flour factory shot and killed two people. The communication officer did not explain why he did so. But she has said that “angry mob ” burned 15 vehicles parked on the premises of the flour factory. 

As well, widespread looting and anarchy are reported in the city. 

In Aweday town, East Harar, a young man is killed, said the city’s mayor Jafar Muhammed. He said he was killed by a bullet shot from members of the defense force. According to the mayor, cited by BBC Amharic, the young man whose name was not disclosed was killed in Hamaressa, a place between Harar and Today. 

Situations are a bit different in Shashemene. No casualty has been reported so far. The city is located along the Addis Ababa- Hawassa road and it is confirmed that the road between these two Ethiopian cities is closed by Qeerroo. Ethiopian Federal Police has confirmed about the road closure. 

Also, Ethiopian Federal Police has disclosed on Wednesday entrances to Addis Ababa,  roads in Jomo and in some towns in Oromo region of Ethiopia are closed. 

What caused road closures and protests? 

The Federal Police said in a statement shared on social media on Wednesday that the closures are related to a message that Jawar Mohammed conveyed to his followers and supporters. 

The gist of the message was “I am going to be arrested; I am facing imminent attack,” said the federal police in a statement written in Amharic. However, no measure is taken on the part of the police or government, and he is in good condition. 

borkena reported on Tuesday that Jawar Mohammed, who was based in Minnesota until recently disclosed that he is renouncing his US citizenship, claimed in a Facebook post that government removed his “security details,” as he calls it, in the middle of the night without informing him and he interpreted that as a move to endanger him. He added that armed groups are deployed in the area of his residence and said that his “guards have the right to defend himself.” 

Jawar Mohammed _ Oromo region _ Ethiopia
Jawar Mohammed and his security guards . Photo : social media

The Federal police are seizing the moment to explain why the government has to assign security personnel for an individual. Based on the statement from the department, the government decided to provide security protection for leaders of political leaders and activists who returned to Ethiopia following the election of Abiy Ahmed, by the ruling coalition, as prime minister of Ethiopia – which the government refers to as “change.” 

Now, the situation in the country is showing significant improvement and that those politicians and activists who returned to Ethiopia could move freely like any other Ethiopian, said the statement from the Federal Police. 

Ethiopians have been critical of preferential treatment, and police statement seem to answer the question of many Ethiopians.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported on Wednesday that about 400 youth groups gathered in the residence of Jawar Mohammed, and they were chanting anti-Abiy Ahmed slogans. 

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  1. Here we go again!!! Déjà vu the very old story of the youth felled by what comes out of barrels of deadly guns and used as cannon fodder by those with personal agenda. Those of you who are dancing in the streets at the outbreak of this terrible news, all I can say is shame on you. You have been spewing your despicable poison and hate filled diatribe from comfy homes here among us. After witnessing all that have been going on and simmering for many years now, this horrible and shameful news did not surprise me a bit. It has saddened me to the core. Those young men with the world awaiting them are gone, dead. No one else is responsible except those of you who get high in spitting denigrating terms at others just because they are not one of yours, others gripped with personal ambition and those who gave the order to shoot. I am holding you all equally responsible for the untimely demise of these young men who should have been the next owner of that gem of the colored. You may seem to feel that you are more civilized if you are seen handing out pejorative terms to others you hate. Shame on you!!! What is going on over there is not funny!!! Mothers are wailing for their sons and daughters who did not make it home tonight. They have joined those mothers who have been wailing for their dead children who were gunned down in cold blood in 2005 and the years between 2016 and 2018. You make me sick to my stomach.

    But how on this good earth one is provided with security details when many other former dissidents were not? Am I being told that Obbo Jawar was allowed to have his armed entourage when the OLF was asked to completely disarm itself before it was returning from the dumpsites in Asmara and some hafaas in Al-Qahirah? My understanding is that OLF as an organization had complied which I had commended its leaders for that albeit that punk who is wreaking havoc in the western part of the country. Why was Jawar given such ‘protection’ when other former dissidents like Obbo Eskinder, Bekele bin Gerba and many others were not? How? I am totally lost on this logic. If I have such a huge following, allegedly more than 45 million of me, why do I need government provided security guards? This was very discriminatory from the outset.

    Now mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and other loved ones of the dead are grief stricken so unbearable with no one to console them. The agitators and those who ordered the soldiers to pull the triggers are back to their daily evening routine of chowing down of their butcher cut fillet mignon at the dinner table and it shows. Just look at them. Their waist is tearing up their belts and their ever bulging gut is busting their pant at its seams. They are profit seeking merchants without state issued permits at the expense of that farmer who has been haunted by nightmares daily on how he can feed his family. There are merchants of Allah created sacred human blood.

    Now we have this now; another bloody mayhem. This one is different. All of you bigots, you have an excellent and generous sponsor and his name el-Sisi. For now, the balcony is closed in Asmara. Congratulations, bigots!!!

  2. Why the so called police elements surrounded jawar’s house during night? There was sth which was plotted against him. But thanks to God there evil wish was failed. So who triggers the violence?

  3. Why the so called police elements surrounded jawar’s house during night? There was sth which was plotted against him. But thanks to God their evil wish was failed. So who triggers the violence?

  4. Manniw le Ityopia yemikomew? Dr Aby hedo wech ager, ityopian lireda yemichil agerat ewnet leityopia komo yaweral kewech ager gar? aymeslim!


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