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Two Local Officials Dead in Western Oromia Region

By Staff Reporter

Oromia-Communications-BureauNovember 28, 2019 (Ezega.com) -- The Deputy Head of Oromia Region Communication Affairs Bureau, Deresa Terefe, said two regional officials were killed by unknown gunmen in Gojo, in Western Oromia, on Tuesday evening.  The officials killed were Regene Kebebe, the Deputy Governor of Jelegu district, and Tesfaye Gebreme, the political party head of the Gojo town.

The killing of the two officials was not the first time to target the government officials in the region. It is recalled that a West Shoa Zone official was shot dead in the same way just one week earlier. Earlier this week, unidentified gunmen reportedly killed Commander Chala Degaga, Nekemet town chief criminal detective.

Reports also indicate that several assassination attempts were made in the past on government officials in the western Oromia region.  In addition to the killings of government officials, peaceful citizens, foreigners and peoples in various occupations were also targeted by unidentified gunmen.

The deputy head of Oromia Region Communication Affairs Office, Deresa Terefe, said the newly formed Gadisa Hogensen Oromo is working with the government to stop the killings of senior government authorities as well as the communities residing in the region.

Gadisa Hogensen Oromo, a coalition of parties from the Oromia Region was established two months back after consensus was reached among Oromo political parties to resolve the issues of Oromo as well as to facilitate the regional affairs.

Deresa Terefe said it is the government's wish the struggle of the Oromo people can be resolved only in a peaceful manner. “It is difficult to pinpoint accountability for the targeted killings of officials in the western Oromia region, and it is against the procedure to hold anyone accountable without sufficient evidence; inaccuracy would only worsen the situation,” said Deresa.

“To end this kind of attack, our position as a government is that they can be prevented by confiscating illegal weapons and also holding discussions with concerned parties rather than becoming a reason for destruction,” he further noted.

However, there is a growing concern among the Ethiopian public that despite repeated assurances from the government and such civic bodies, law and order is still lacking inside the Oromia region. Since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed assumed power, the region has seen various degrees of lawlessness, including killings, abductions and bank robberies. Many blame the central government for turning a blind eye to the problem for fear of alienating Oromo activists.

While there is no group responsible for the attacks on the western part of the country, it is assumed that the action may be politically motivated because the killings mainly target government officials.

According to reports, some officials and locals have previously speculated that a rebel group operating outside the command of the OLF (Oromia Liberation Font) might be carrying out the attacks.

Following the attacks, a command post, including members of the National Defense Forces, was set up to maintain the stability of the region. However, there is still no statement yet on the perpetrators or actions taken after the attacks on the senior government officials.

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