By Staff Reporter
ADDIS ABABA – (BORKENA) – Taking hostages and killings of innocent citizens including government officials have gone from bad to worse in some parts of Oromia Regional State, sources said. The case of two Woreda administrators who were kidnaped and gunned down by armed men in ten days of this month indicates the prevalence of high security threat in the region, the Amharic Weekly Addis Admas reported.
The news source indicates that over one hundred innocent citizens including drivers and passengers have been taken hostage by the armed men in various parts of the region during this current month, June 2023.
The armed men have also opened fire and killed innocent residents in some parts of the region. Addis Admas quoted its sources as saying that the armed men take hostage of innocent people and government officials and ask ransom of birr 200,000 to 10 million. If the hostages are not able to settle the required ransom, they will be killed, with their bodies littered out, according to the news source.
Chief Administrator of Soden Sodo Woreda, West Shewa Zone of Oromia Region, Bekele Kacha was taken hostage and murdered hours after his return home from Adama Town where he attended a meeting held for senior leadership members. Though the armed men had asked for a ten million birr ransom, the hostage taking drama was concluded by killing the official whose dead body was left lying around a place named Tollo on last Tuesday.
Similarly, Addis Admas reported that deputy administrator of Ada Berga Woreda of West Shewa Zone, Abdissa Keneni, was taken hostage from home in Kate Town and gunned down later. Residents of various areas told Addis Admas that the security threat in the region has been deteriorating from time to time. Drivers and commuters have become victims of the kidnapping and killings, which were regularly carried out by the armed bodies, according to the news source.
The hostage taking and killings are rampant in Welenchiti, Asgori, East Wollega Zone, Kiremu Town, and various areas of West Wollega Zone in particular. At a special place known by the name Alidoro, located in Kuyu Woreda of North Shewa Zone, drivers and passengers were repeatedly taken hostage by the armed men. Similarly unidentified number of drivers and passengers were taken hostage last week, Addis Admas said.
The sources said that the armed men would take their hostages to the desert area (lowlands of Nile basin) and strike dealings, regarding the ransom, with the relatives of the hostages. Upon the settlement of the required ransom, they will release the hostages; or else those who fail to pay the ransom will have their head pierced by a bullet, according to information released by sources.
Areas situated within a few kilometres of Addis Ababa, like Alidoro which is sandwiched between Gerbaguracha and Fitche and Welenchiti Town in West Shewa Zone, are the safe places in which the hostage takers are in action. It is in these places where several innocent people are taken hostage, according to sources.
The hostage takers have their focus mainly on heavy duty truck drivers, the sources said, adding that individuals who are thought to have money will be taken hostage for two or three times.
The Ethiopian Human Right Commission (EHRC) said on its part that it received evidence regarding the hostage taking and killings being perpetrated against innocent people in different areas of the region; but could not do further investigation by travelling to the areas due to the security problem.
EHRC called on the government and other concerned bodies to put an end to the hostage taking and killings carried out against innocent citizens.
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