- Ethiopian Church followers persecuted in Bale Robe, South Ethiopia , as radial ethnic oromo youth, qeerroo, now increasingly seen as a terror group by most Ethiopians . At least six killed horrifyingly. Hand grenade thrown at Church.
- Death toll from two days of violence said to be more than 50
- Jawar Mohammed orders calm as Oromo political organizations “mediate” for peace
- Ethiopians launching social media campaign to put pressure government to hold Jawar Mohammed legally responsible for ethnic cleansing in Oromo region of Ethiopia
October 24, 2019
Killings of civilians in Oromo regional state continued for a second day. The attacks and violence is taking ethnic form in some places and a religious one in other areas of the region.
Credible sources said that in Dodola, West Arsi Zone of the region, Four people are confirmed dead and more than 48 wounded after youth groups known as Qeerroo, who also came from outside of the town as eyewitnesses said, launched a massive attack against non-ethnic Oromo. One of the victims, Zinabe, was reportedly sick and in bed when these groups forcefully entered his home and clubbed him to death.
A resident of the town who identified himself as Habtamu, and who is currently taking refugee in Kidane Mehret church, told VOA Amharic service correspondent, Meleskachew Amha, on Thursday “as they [Qeerroo] came to torch the church with fire, people barred them and they turned back and torched other houses.”
From what he said a number of residential homes were torched. A hand grenade was also thrown; three were wounded and one died after the incident.
The problem in Dodola started on Wednesday, October 23, the first morning after Jawar Mohammed, radical ethnic Oromo nationalist, wrote a Facebook message claiming that his residence is under siege – a claim that is not independently verified. Federal Police Chief has issued a statement that there was an incident of the entrance to his residence from any armed government body.
Oromo regional state acting president, Shimeles Abdissa, one the other hand appeared on TV, noticeably trembling, and spoke in Oromigna. State media, EBC, has reported on his key messages, and he reportedly said that “what has happened to Jawar war wrong and the government will investigate it and take measures.” Jawar’s claim of planned assassination is widely seen among Ethiopians as a plot to trigger a new round of crisis in Ethiopia. Apart from closing roads and attacking civilians, often from other language groups, his followers have burned Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s book, Medemer, which was launched last weekend.
Bale Robe was another town in the region where there was a security crisis. The problem in the town took rather a form of religious violence, or there was at least an effort to make it appear so, according to credible sources. Hotels and cafeterias owned by non-ethnic Oromo and Christians became targets of attack. Large hotels for the town like Zerfe Girmay hotel, Balageru hotel and Meskel hotel, among others were attacked and severely damaged.
Residents told DW Amharic that there was an attempt to torch a church on fire and the businesses that were attacked belong to followers of Orthodox Christians.
Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church news source, Hara Tewahdo, confirmed that six followers of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church were killed horrifyingly in Tsadiku Gebrekristos church in the same town and that a hand grenade was thrown on faithful of the Ethiopian church.
Roads linking the town to other regions were closed; business centers and government services were shut. Again, behind it were youth groups who claim to be Qeerro, a group that is now increasingly being identified as a terrorist group with Jawar’s leadership. Police and Defense Force were visible in the town but did not take measures to stop the carnage by Qeerroo.
In Ambo town, four people were killed on Thursday based on an eyewitness account who spoke to DW Amharic.
In Bishoftu, just 44 kilometers southwest of Addis Ababa, a clash between those who support Jawar and those who support the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Prime Minister broke out earlier on Thursday. Citizen reporters described the clash between those “who close roads and those who open up roads. Intense gunshot was also reported for the most part of Thursday morning. Federal anti-riot police and the defense force entered the city to restore calm.
In Sululta, only 30 kilometers north of Addis Ababa, there were similar road closures. In this town, groups believed to be qeerroo, burned tires. Businesses were closed since Wednesday.
In Adama (Nazret), one the the biggest cities in Ethiopia just about 100 kilometers south east of Addis Ababa more than 22 businesses have bee reduced to ashes after the qeerroo torched them with fire. A day before that at least two people were killed.
In Jimma, about 353 kilometers southwest of the capital Addis, there is reported tension but the extent of the damage is unknown so far. What is known is that transportation in the city has been halted, businesses are closed and the Federal Police and the defense forces are deployed in the city.
After all these, Jawar Mohammed emerged as a pacifier on Thursday calling his supporters to end road closure and restore calm. Ethnic Oromo political parties also got together with Jawar Mohammed for consultations on “for mediation.” Who are the parties that they intend to mediate is unclear.
Jawar’s statement that triggered the crisis came after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed warned Media owners not to fan violence and conflict. Some analysts tend to see the latest move by Jawar as a show of power to Ethiopia’s Nobel Peace Prize winner prime minister.
Amid extensive persecution, Ethiopian Orthodox Church has called on three days of prayer and fasting for peace in the country.
Meanwhile, Ethiopian activists are mobilizing online to bring crimes of ethnic cleansing going on in the Oromo region of Ethiopia to the attention of the world. They also intend to put pressure on the Ethiopian government to hold Jawar Mohammed legally responsible for the killings of more than 53 since Jawar Ahmed’s statement on social media on the late night of October 22.
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