Wednesday, May 22, 2024
HomeEthiopian NewsEthiopia,Oromo region: police confirm death toll from attack reached 166

Ethiopia,Oromo region: police confirm death toll from attack reached 166

Authorities say Oromo Liberation Front (OLF -Shane) is behind the ruthless attacks in Shashemene that targeted Ethiopians from other ethnic groups.

Ethiopia _ Oromo region _ attack
Photo /File. source: Teshome Borago Twitter handle : @MTBorago. The photo is from ethnic violence in Benishangul region of Ethiopia.

July 5, 2020

A planned attack (authorities describe it that way) unleashed in the Oromo region of Ethiopia, under the guise of protest after Ethiopian Singer Hachalu Hundessa was assassinated in Addis Ababa on June 29, has claimed at least 166 lives.

Deputy Police Commissioner of Oromia Region, Girma Gelan, confirmed that 145 peaceful civilians and 11 members of the region’s special police force had been killed.

Earlier the Federal Police Commission has announced that 10 people were killed in the capital Addis Ababa (two are said to be members of the police force). One of the police was shot dead by Jawar Mohammed’s bodyguard following a scuffle over the burial place of Hachalu Hundessa. 

At least 167 other people have sustained wounds. Dozens of cases are said to be life-threatening.  Oromo regional state police also claimed that 1084 suspects are in custody.

In late October 2019, at least 86 civilians (mostly non-ethnic Oromos) were massacred in the region after Co-founder and owner of Oromia Media Network (OMN), Jawar Mohammed, wrote a statement on social media claiming that his life is under threat.

He is implicated in the assassination of Hachalu Hundessa. Chief of Staff of the Ethiopian Defense Force, Gen. Adem Mohammed, remarked during a meeting with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed that the killing of Hachalu was orchestrated in a way to pose a threat on Ethiopia’s existence.

Destruction of Properties

Yohannes Wolde is one of the main investors in Shashemene. His investment is in the education sector and owns Lucy Academy which is said to have had 5000 students and 350 employees. “The school is completely burned with all the documents, service shuttle burned,” he told ESAT.

The attackers had a list of people to be attacked and their properties to be destroyed. After burning his school, including the admin building, they went for his resident which they destroyed completely too. He had to leave behind his home along with his family members and take refuge somewhere else in the town.

Ethiopian long-distance legend Haile Gebreselassie had a humble beginning in rural Arsi, part of the Oromo region of Ethiopia, and made his fortune with sheer excellence in his running career.

He has extensive investment in the Hotel and Tourism investment. Two of his hotels in Shashemene and Ziway were attacked. His hotel in Shashemene is destroyed too. Appearing on Ethiopian state media, ETV, Haile admitted that it is a loss, but he also said that it is a loss for people in the town as 98 percent of the staff was from the area.

Several other businesses are destroyed.  According to sources from Shashemene, over 80 percent of businesses (belonging to ethnic Guraghe and ethnic Amhara, among others) are destroyed too.

Attackers were armed with machete, sticks, and hand grenade too, and the city administration has confirmed that they targeted based on ethnic and religious identity.  Other sources indicate that Rastafarian communities in Shashemene were also attacked by gangs mobilized by extremists ethnic Oromo nationalists. 

Shashemene town security division head, Nadew Ambo, told Ethiopia Satellite Television (ESAT) on Sunday that Oromo Liberation Front (OLF-Shane) is behind the attack.  This is a city where an innocent man was crucified upside down as hundreds and thousands of crowds watched some two years ago.

Ziway, Arsi Negele, Assasa, among other towns, too have seen destruction of private properties belonging to non-ethnic Oromo communities.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed had a meeting with his security authorities. After hearing reports on preliminary findings, he said that the assassination of Hachalu Hundessa was a strategy to trigger a civil war in Ethiopia which they have been preparing for a long time.

Authorities in the Oromo region of Ethiopia say a relative calm is restored in the region on Sunday.

Why Security forces in Oromo region failed to reverse the attack?

Why people who have nothing to do with Hachalu’s killing are targeted and massacred in the Oromo region of Ethiopia is the question that many Ethiopians want to get an answer for. Not that they don’t know the answers but it is a way of telling the government that it has failed to innocent protect citizens from what they call ethnic cleansing Amhara (extremist Oromo nationalist user the noun ‘neftegna’ rather)

The Oromo regional state had hundreds of thousands of special police forces. Yet, the region failed to avoid the massacre on non-ethnic Oromo communities living in the region – Amahara, Guraghe, and Wolaita, among others. Sometimes ethnic Oromos who do not subscribe to extremist Oromo nationalist ideology are targeted. Government Officials are among them. In the Wollega region, several government officials have been assassinated in the past two years.

Oromo regional State Communication Affairs Bureau head, Getachew Balcha, said they were unable to avert the destruction in Shashemene as it happened at “nighttime.” 

In an interview with Abbay Media on Sunday, he said the loss of life and destruction of property would have been worse had it not been for the work of the special forces in the region. “11 special forces are killed in action,” he said in what seems to be an effort to demonstrate that police have done what it could to control the situation. Yet, he said that they will evaluate their performance to see if there was a gap in police response and in the way security emergency was handled improperly.

Editor’s note : Image above is from ethnic violence in Benishangul region of Ethiopia about a year ago. The post is updated on July 6, 2020, 22:44 Hours Toronto Time to clarify the image.

Join the conversation. Like borkena on Facebook and get Ethiopian News updates regularly. As well, you may get Ethiopia News by following us on twitter @zborken



  1. This website Borkena needs to get the facts
    right, Oromos are the victims. Mostly Gurage and Amara are the attackers.

    If OLF Shane is mobilizing Gurage and Amara against Oromo I stand corrected, I highly doubt it, given the track records of OLF Shane since it’s inception.

  2. These Amara business owners in Oromia such as Haile Gebreselassie need to be investigated for insurance frauds , highly suspicious Haile Gebreselassie burnt his own covid-19 affected empty no income generating hotels inorder to collect fire insurance settlement compensations.

  3. There is no excuse whatsoever for killing innocent citizens. From what I heard today from people who live in the thick of it is that while many of the victims were those considered by these demons to be not like them but there are also victims who were just like them but they were trying to protect their friends and neighbors. It is an act of sheer cruelty that I am gonna live with crushing shame the rest of this sunset part of my life. I have predicted such wholesale targeting of innocent would happen the first time I hear those who claim to be in ‘liberation front’ business using the epithet ‘N’ word back in late 1960’s and early 1970’s. I opposed the use of the word because it carried the undertone of broad brushing an entire ethnicity. I argued against it because it could lead to innocent citizens being harmed. That is because from my knowledge of history then I came to a conclusion that where a derogatory term is slapped on a group of people it would inevitably end up targeting such innocent people as a whole. History was and still full of such ugly incidents. The French didn’t just suddenly go out massacring the Huguenots but that was preceded by epithets used to demonize them. The Nazis didn’t just one day spontaneously decided to massacre more 6 million Jews and more 350,000 Serbs but such demonic act was preceded by years of use of derogatory and demonizing terms against those victims. Sunnis have done the same against the Shiites and the Shiites have committed similar egregious acts on Sunnis. The Catholics against the Protestants and vice versa. Using derogatory terms to describe a group of people never had good history but have led to massacres and genocide. That is why I frown upon whenever I hear or see terms I feel are broad brushing a group of people. I was against the use of the ‘N’ word decades ago and still am. I was against the use of ‘Woyane, TPLF and Oromo Extremists’ and still am. All these I abhor for reasons I mentioned above. For me any Amhara is not the ‘N’ word. For me every Tigrayan is not the decision maker in the TPLF or ‘Woyane’ group. For me there is no ‘Oromo Extremist’ but individuals who are as such claim to be one. Is any one of you trying to tell me that every Amhara who used to live in the present Oromia region was the ‘N’ word? Are you trying to tell me that every Oromo was involved in the 1992-93 Bedeno massacre? Are you? Are you telling me that these 166 innocent victims were murdered by every Oromo where it took place? Who protected more than 2 million non Oromos in the Oromia region? Come, come dear countryman/woman!!! I don’t know dear my dear compatriots. I really don’t know. This makes me feel utterly helpless.

  4. I don’t think it is fair for the insurance to pay for the loss of property but those who caused this to happen. OLF and it’s operatives including Jawar Mohammed Bekele Gerba are the ones who push for ethnic cleansing and destruction of businesses in that region using these Oromo children.

    • Yohannis

      It is a standard practice, insurance pays. That’s why insurance is so important to have , sadly it is not a common knowledge in Ethiopia.

      CNBC › 2020/06/03 › insurers
      Insurers say riot damage is covered under most insurance policies for businesses

  5. Problems can open up opportunities to think out of the box also…

    As I was thinking about the horrible outcomes of recent thuggery (destruction of lives and property that will certainly deter investments in the affected areas that would have benefited the region and residents), I thought perhaps the federal and regional governments should rethink ways to deal with similar potential problems in the future.

    One new way could be to set up ethnically diverse special forces outside the local police units. Members could be staffed with well paid and well fed strong men unknown to the residents. They would be well armed like war times, and hidden from the population. There could be a federally managed command structure.

    The units would operate as back up to the standard military and police forces, and would be called upon only when the local police forces need them and/or if the national army is too thinly spread, to deal with out of control mobs. The standard instruction would be stand ready to eliminate any mob bent on destruction of lives and property; no mercy. Hit the ‘hit button’ and they would follow the command.

  6. Dufera and Solomon Haile,

    I guess you are condoning the killing and also distorting the facts. The majority of the people roaming around were Oromos not Amharas or other ethnic group.

    Shame on you. You are supporting the killing of unarmed and innocent people. Hope you have conscious in your hate filled head.

    When the people of Ethiopia rise, all agitators and hate mongorers will pay a price in this world and in the next one.

    You are mistaking patience with weakness. You might have came from Madagascar, but you have not right to claim any part of Ethiopia if you don’t want to live in peace. You will eventually loose and suffer the consequences.

    Your narrative of oppression is hollow when the Oromos control everything. You want the fanatics to takeover by force to unleash more killing and suffering in Ethiopia. The time to plot and to kill more innocent people is over.


  7. Letter to Amnesty International

    Amnesty International had consistently been critical of the Ethiopian governments for one reason or another. Most of your writeup complaints had fueled (and are fueling) ethnic conflicts, instead of promoting harmony and freedom. And yet you are silent about the current murders and destruction fueled by the same hate groups that supported through your complaint laden articles. I consider Amnesty International as agents of hate and instability, rather than medium for democracy, stability, and economic development in the poor countries of the world which you perhaps consider as your easy victims.

    And while I am at it, how about your silence about racism and oppression in rich countries, conflicts (armed and rhetorical) among countries? Why are you targeting poor countries instead of also applying your rhetoric on the rich countries?

  8. I heard that the government there is going to work with the US administration to bring those who have been spewing around poison just to start massacre and genocide of civilians to court here in the USA. I hope that will include those owners of websites that have let such demonic individuals roam around unchecked on their forums. The lawyers among us seem to be slacking off all these years by not using their expertise to go after these ghouls. I have been crying out loud on this issue for years now. Many of these websites are only worried about increasing traffic. They have been preoccupied with getting more clicks for their websites by letting incendiary rants posted for days sometimes for weeks. That makes them merchants of death not providers of platforms for sensible dialogues. Even after all this bloodletting back there these editors did not even blink. You still find postings advocating the massacre of the ‘N’ people, the elimination of Oromos, the wiping away of Tigrayans, Gurages and so on. I am sure these editors have US citizenship. Well, now the US government has the due diligence to restrain its citizens from plotting and preaching genocide of citizens of a friendly nation like Ethiopia. The Abiy administration will have a winning case if it takes these miscreants to court here in the USA. The lawyers among us can continue on having their z’s when innocent citizens are being butchered over there.

  9. Over one hundred Oromo singers have pledged to include at least one song dedicated to honoring Hachalu’s legacy within every and each album of songs they release, for the rest of their lives.

  10. Gurage are tired of Qerro destroying their business and terrorizing them everyday.
    Gedeo are tired >>>
    Sidama are tired >>>
    Amhara are tired >>>
    Somali are tired >>>

  11. A concerned friend had sent me this Facebook page of a bigot who may be a US citizen by now. If so the US government has the obligation to restrain and hold its citizen who declares massacre on citizens of a friendly country accountable. This morbidly obese demon should be called out by every peace/harmony mongering humanity including the very capable editors of this esteemed website. This has nothing, zilch, to do with freedom of expression. This was a declaration of ‘jihad'(there could be something similar term in other religions also) to wipe out every living and breathing human being that is not considered an Oromo by these brutes. This Jinn bint Jinn is calling for the killing of every Amhara brother and sister. We now know what happened following calls for a jihad similar to this one: Hundreds were massacred in cold blood. I just could not believe my eyes!!! Where are the lawyers among us? Some of you may argue that she was not calling for killing of people but just burning down of their houses. All I can say to you is: Nice try! I guess those non-Oromos build houses not to live in them. Is that what are trying to tell me? I may be remiss sometimes but I am not that blank. Take it somewhere else. Here is the link and judge it yourself.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here