Ethiopian Death Toll Exceeds 67; PM Abiy Ahmed Still Silent

By Staff Reporter

Qeerroo-EThiopiaOctober 26, 2019 ( -- At least 67 people were killed, and several others wounded in the outbreak of violence which hit several towns and cities in Oromia state of Ethiopia. As of this report, the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed still hasn’t addressed the nation to quell the violence, angering many people, including those writing on social media.

54 of them were stoned to death, including five police officers, and 13 others were killed by gun bullets, Reuters quoted Oromia Police Commissioner Kefyalew Tefera as saying.

New York Times reported that 13 of the victims were shot dead by security forces and 54 of the victims died amid clashes.

Regional authorities and hospital sources confirmed to that more than half of the victims were killed by attacks from the protesting groups made of Ethnic Oromo youth also known as Qeerroo.

Dr. Desalegn Fikadu, a Surgeon in Adama Hospital, said 16 deaths have been reported by the hospital and the victims include those who passed away before arriving at the hospital.

According to Dr. Desalegn, more than 100 people who suffered light and heavy injuries were also admitted to the hospital.

The injured were attacked by stones, sticks and sharp weapons, and include victims who lost their eyes and suffered bone fractures. As to the Surgeon, the death toll could rise considering the existence of patients in critical condition.  

The attacking force also managed to enter into the hospital and attacked a person who was crying near to his dead brother, Dr. Desalegn was quoted as saying to local media.

Meanwhile, a VOA journalist Muktar Jemal was attacked and suffered heavy injuries from the Qeerro while interviewing people in an Adama Warehouse. He said they left him injured after they discovered his ID of VOA.   

The Mayor of the Adama city Assegid Getachew said 68 individuals who were allegedly involved in the killing and wounding of people have so far been arrested.

The suspects would be accused of turning the ‘demonstration’ into violent religious and ethnic clashes and attempting to cause damage on churches and mosques, the Mayor told the Oromo Broadcasting Network (OBN).

In an interview with OBN, Oromia Police Commissioner Kefeyalew Tefera said nothing about the death toll and the perpetrators. He rather advised the public to uncover those forces who are trying to change the demonstration into religious and ethnic disputes.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has said nothing so far even though the violence continued and turned into religious conflicts in Dodola and Deder towns where Orthodox Christians who were sheltered in Kidanemehet church are still calling for help as the Qeerroo are advancing to attack. The Christians further disclosed the absence of defense forces in the areas where members of regional police were unwilling to rescue them as the Qeerroo set fire to crops in the field.

Following the silence of the government authorities, particularly that of the Prime Minister, people are campaigning that “being silent is tantamount to collaborating with the crimes,” via social media. This is not the first time the Prime Minister created uproar for remaining silent. PM Abiy was severely criticized during the extended violence that took place in southern Ethiopia earlier this year, which led to thousands of deaths and the displacement of millions.

Many Ethiopians have doubts whether there a part of the Oromo Democratic Party (ODP) is also behind the ongoing violence, working in collaboration with Jawar Mohammed, who is comfortably issuing statements from his residence in Addis Ababa, seemingly above the law and with impunity.

The central government, which is believed to be dominated by the ODP, according to many, did not send the national army to the Oromia region until two days ago, once again displaying a general reluctance to enter the region, unlike other regions of Ethiopia. Such uneven treatment is becoming of great concern to many observers who believe the pattern does not bode well for the unity of the country, which has welcomed PM Abiy's principle of MEDEMER.

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