Oromo Liberation Front chairman released from House arrest

Ethiopian government security authorities reportedly said the House arrest of Oromo Liberation Front leader was for security reasons involving his safety

Oromo Liberation Front _ Ethiopia

July 31, 2020

Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) chairman Dawud Ibsa said that he is allowed to leave his residence and carry out his routine as of Friday.

“People in Federal Police uniforms whose name I do not know, …, came to me [on Thursday] and told me that I could start working as of tomorrow [Friday] while exercising caution for my safety…,” he told a VOA reporter in Ethiopia.

He was in his Gullele office on Friday where there was a meeting by some members of the leadership while he was on house arrest earlier this week. 

The Chairman said, earlier this week, that he does not have any knowledge about who called it or for what purpose it was called. There have been rumors that some members of the leadership intended to replace him.

He said that the legal and audit committee of the Oromo Liberation organization (OLF) has announced that it is looking into the issue.

Critics within his organization link him to a killing squad, Aba Torbe, which is said to be responsible for the killings of some authorities in the region including Burayu police chief, Solomon Tadesse who was gunned down as he was having lunch with his friends in February of this year.

Dawud Ibsa’s critics within the organization also accuse him of intransigence to not employ peaceful and armed struggle at the same time.

Preliminary investigation by Federal government law enforcement authorities established that OLF-Shane is behind the killing of popular singer Hachalu Hundessa, who was known for his political songs in Oromo language. Two suspects who are said to have shot and killed him confessed that OLF gave them the mission.

At least 240 people have been killed and hundreds more wounded in the Oromo region of Ethiopia following the assassination of the singer. The politically motivated killing in some places of the region targeted ethnic non-Oromos (mostly ethnic Amharas) and in some places targeted the followers of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. 

Also, well over 40 hotels (including three-star hotels) were burned in several cities in the region including Shashemene, Batu, and Arsi Negelle, among others. Over 1000 residential houses (listed on the basis of ethnicity and religion) were burned. Hundreds of thousands of people were internally displaced and reduced to homelessness.

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