Oromo Liberation Front Spokesperson Killed in Meki

Mr. Bete Urgesa, a spokesperson for the opposition Oromo Liberation Front Party (OLF), was tragically killed in Meki city, located 150 kilometers away from Addis Ababa, last night.

According to his party’s statement, he was taken from the hotel where he was staying and later found dead on the road.

The OLF party unequivocally declared Mr. Bete Urgesa’s death as an extrajudicial killing, asserting that it was a deliberate attempt to suppress the Oromo question and leave them leaderless.

This incident adds to the distressing pattern of violence targeting prominent figures within the Oromo community, such as the renowned Oromo musician Hachalu Hundesa, whose murder two years ago remains unresolved.

Mr. Bete Urgesa’s activism had led to his arrest on multiple occasions, most recently on charges of “inciting violence and rioting,” from which he was released on bail.

The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has urged for an immediate, independent, and thorough investigation into his murder, emphasizing the need for both regional and federal authorities to take action.

Jawar Mohammed, a senior leader of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), expressed profound shock and condemnation, questioning the brutality that led to Mr. Bete Urgesa’s demise.

“Despite his strong political stance, Mr. Bete Urgesa was known for his compassionate nature, as evidenced by his refusal to harbor ill feelings towards others, even amidst personal persecution”, he added.

The circumstances surrounding Mr. Bete Urgesa’s death underscore the broader challenges facing the Oromo community, particularly in the Oromia region, which is home to millions of citizens.

Instances of kidnapping for ransom have become increasingly common, reflecting a broader failure of the government to address human rights violations in the region.

International pressure, including calls from the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, and various human rights organizations, has urged the Ethiopian government to engage in negotiations with militant groups.

However, previous attempts at peace talks, such as those held in Tanzania between the Oromia regional government and militants, have thus far been unsuccessful in reaching a resolution.

The killings of Mr. Bete Urgessa have not been addressed in any press releases by either the Oromia or federal government.

Since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed assumed power in 2018, Ethiopia has been engulfed in conflict and war.

One of the most devastating conflicts erupted in northern Ethiopia between Tigray forces and the federal government. This war was brought to a close by a peace agreement signed in South Africa, Pretoria, mediated by the African Union in November 2022.

As a result of this war, Ethiopia suffered the loss of over 1 million citizens and incurred $20 billion in infrastructural damage.

Since April 2023, another harrowing conflict has been unfolding in the second largest region, the Amhara region. The area has been under a six-month state of emergency since August 2023, a status that has been extended for an additional four months.

By ethionegari@gmail.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *