As Ethiopians are expressing frustration and anger over Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s handling of what many Ethiopians say is an orchestrated campaign that claimed several dozens of lives, Ethiopian Human Rights Commission tells government that those who are directly or indirectly involved in the inhuman and shocking killings of citizens should be held accountable.
Ethiopian Human Rights Commission Commissioner, Daniel Bekele, had an interview with DW Amharic service, which was published on Monday, regarding the recent violence in the Oromo region of Ethiopia.
He confirmed that the number of deaths is between 70 and 80. 10 of them were killed by a bullet during a clash with security forces that were deployed in the region to restore order. The remaining were killed shockingly by a group of mobs either in the streets clubbed to death, or stoned to death. Others were burned alive. They were killed either in the street, in their residence or churches. Worship places (churches and mosques) were deliberately targeted.
The number of people wounded, this is also confirmed by government sources, is well over 200 of which some could face a long term disability while the condition of others is said to be life-threatening.
Properties worth millions of Ethiopian birr, either belonging to individuals or public, are destroyed.
The commission has issued a statement on Wednesday calling for legal action against those who were involved directly or indirectly. “Those who are directly or indirectly involved in the violence must be held responsible legally,” said the statement.
As much as the ongoing reform measure has achieved tangible results within a short period, it is also experiencing complicated challenges, it was said.
It also pointed out that apart from the loss of lives, destruction of property and affecting normal life, it has challenged the rule of law and has endangered basic human rights; it was worrisome.
“The existing situation in Ethiopia is one that is believed to be conducive for expressing any demands or complaints in a legal and peaceful means. Although there were people who were interested in making their voices heard peacefully on the issue that caused the controversy, it is undeniable that there were also those who invited and committed violence directly or indirectly,” said the statement.
The commission commended the government statement in which it expressed that it will decisively ensure the rule of law and being those who are responsible before the law. But it also called for the Ethiopian government to implement it and embark on a systematic investigation.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International said on Wednesday that the violence in Oromo regional state last week, the intensity and manner of it is worrisome. It is the organization’s East African researcher, Fisseha Tekle, who told DW Amharic news. He said that there were signs of it from experiences before and that the government should have understood the early warning and attempt to prevent them, he said. The researchers also said that the magnitude of destruction that happened demonstrates the weakening in the capacity of the defense force.
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