Ethiopia: Qeerroo attacked VOA reporter while covering stories in Adama

  • Attacked VOA reporter was apparently mistaken for OBN reporter, Qeerroo behind the attack seemingly
  • Adama (Nazareth) city administration, in central Ethiopia, confirmed nine people killed since latest protest broke out
VOA reporter _ Muktar Jemal

October 25, 2019

One of Voice of America Amharic service correspondent in Ethiopia is attacked in Adama (Nazareth) which is about 100 kilometers southeast of Addis Ababa.

Mukhtar Jemal left his home in Adama around 8 a.m local to cover a story about a killing in the city and headed to the area where the death was reported.

As he saw people carrying the body, he approached someone who happened to be an eyewitness and began interviewing him as to what happened.

Related : Security crisis unabated as radical qeerroo unleash terror in Oromo region of Ethiopia

It was during this time that a mob attacked him, he told VOA Amharic.  He estimated the number of people in the mob between 50 and 100 and passed out briefly. 

He said he was attacked in the head, back, and legs. Although currently admitted to Adama general hospital, his condition is stable. Physicians have determined that he has no internal bleeding.

The attackers used rocks and clubs, among other things, to attack him.  After the journalist was down on the ground, he had to wait until he gets his consciousness back to call his uncle who took him to the hospital.

From what he said, the mob, and they call themselves as qeerroo – mostly radicalized ethnic Oromo nationalists, that attacked him mistook him for Oromia Broadcasting Network (OBN) reporter, a media network owned by Oromo regional government.

He also claimed that the attackers looted his belongings including a voice recording device.

Members of the defense forces was only in about 200 meters range when he was attacked but they did not stop it, he said.

The latest string of security crisis in Adama that happened two days ago was triggered by, as is the case with several other towns in Oromo region of Ethiopia, Jawar Mohammed’s Facebook statement in which he claimed that security personnel have surrounded his resident in the capital Addis Ababa which the federal police commission dismissed as “wrong” information although the region’s president, Shimeles Abdissa, seem to have subscribed to Jawar’s narrative.

Reports from international media outlets say that the death toll from the violence over the past three days has now reached 67.

Radwa Hussain, who is the communication head of Adama city, has confirmed to VOA Amharic that in Adama city alone nine people are killed in the past couple of days.

There was a reported clash between the supporters of Nobel peace prize winner prime minister Abiy Ahmed and supporters of Jawar Ahmed, a media entrepreneur who owns Gulelepost and OMN TV station.

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