Ethiopian Troops Accused of Executing Protesters


Ethiopian forces on Monday have been accused of carrying out over 100 extra-judicial killings following a protest which has begun last year in the Oromia region.

The Human Rights Council (HRC) of Ethiopia has accused the government forces for committing criminal acts between November 2015 until last month, when the protest ended.

Rappler reported that most of the people were shot in the head and back. The move claimed 102 lives; aged between 12 years to 68. Around 56 others were either shot or beaten; there were 22 other people who were tortured.

“Many of the killings occurred at night, after protests, while people were walking in the streets,” said Kumlachew Dagne, HRC’s vice chairman.

However, HRC said it is hard to have an exact count of people who died during the protest. But, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW), around 140 were estimated to be killed in connection wit the protest.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn apologised last week in parliament and said that “anti-peace” elements were behind the protest. During the protest, in January, the government also said that “Oromo protesters had links with terrorist organizations,” according to a report by BBC.

The protest started in November last year following government’s decision to expand the capital, Addis Ababa. However, in January, the plan was dropped by the government. The Oromo People’s Democratic Organisation (OPDO) and Addis Ababa authorities held discussions and decided to drop it.

Recently, authorities detained two journalists and a translator for 24 hours while they were covering the anti-government protest in Oromia. Bloomberg journalists William Davison and Lacey Fortin, along with a translator, were detained for no reason at all.

“It was a shock to be held overnight in a prison cell and not be given any explanation of what we were being held for,” said Davison.

Moreover, deputy chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), Bekele Gerba, was also detained following the protest on 23 December.

“He was first taken to the notorious Maekalawi prison, where torture and other ill-treatment are routine,” said HRW.

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