Oromo regional state official killed in Wollega, gunmen “unidentified”

Oromo _ gunmen
The Tolla Geda, ODP via BBC Amharic

November 21, 2019

Tolla Geda, top Oromo regional state official in the road construction department of the region, is reportedly killed on Wednesday on his way to Qelem Wollega.

He was shot in Laloasabi locality of the region inside the car he was travelling in. The gunmen are “unidentified.”

BBC Amharic service reported on Thursday cited West Wollega Zone administration head, Elias Umata, to report that Tolla Geda was killed around 11:00 a.m. local time in the morning on Wednesday this week.

Gunmen opened fire on the car he was travelling in from left and right direction targeting passengers inside.  The victim was Communication head of the regions Road Construction authority.

Deputy Head of Qelem Wollega zone administration and security officials, among others, were inside the car where Tolla Geda was killed. No one else in the car was killed or injured.

As well, the report by BBC Amharic published on Thursday said that the bullet that killed Tolla was fired from the front side of the car, and he died at the scene.

Security personnel in the car attempted, according to the report, to pursue those who perpetrated the attack intending to capture them but it was without success.  The source did not spell out how far they followed them or why they were unable to capture them. At this writing the identities of the gunmen is unknown.

On the other hand, the region’s security claims that they are investigating the matter to establish the identities of those who launched the deadly attack.

There have been recurring shootings in the region targeting government officials. 

In June 2019, Mayor of Dembi Dollo town was shot near his office as he was entering a car.  The shooting sometimes target individuals in the private sector and foreigners as well. In March 2019, five people were killed by gunmen in Nedjo of which two of them were foreigners.

There are speculations that the military wing of the radical ethnic Oromo nationalist organization, Oromo Liberation Front, is behind the attacks in the region.

The region has been under a Command Post, body drawn from civil and military figures, tasked to restore security in the region. 

Enforcing the rule of law and providing security to citizens has been a major challenge in the region to the extent that at one point in time government structure was not functioning.

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