Members of OLF Shene Charged with Terrorism; 12 Farmers Reportedly Killed by Government in Southern

By Staff Reporter  

OLF-SheneJanuary 27, 2020 ( -- The federal high court of Ethiopia heard terrorism charges against six members of rebel groups Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) otherwise called “Shene” and Yadeessa Negassa also known as the “Killer Group."

Shene, led by Kumsa Diriba, nicknamed Jalmero, has been fighting the government from its stronghold in the Oromia region of western Ethiopia even though it entered the country to pursue peaceful political struggle in mid-2018.

Yadeessa Negassa, otherwise known as the “killer Group,” is another ethnic Oromo rebel force accused of creating violence and killing government officials in western Shoa zone of the same regional state.

According to the charges read at Lideta first instance of the federal high court which is in charge of ruling cases of terrorism and constitution, members of the rebel groups, namely Yazew Kebebew, Fraol Endalut, Gelana Wagari, Fita Chala, Epherem Geleta, and Tadelu Yonas were charged on crimes of terrorism.

The suspects are accused of committing terrorist acts in western Ethiopia under the guidance of Jalmero and Bacha Tolla, who is a senior official of the rebel group Shene, after they took training in Kenya. The suspects also have been charged with carrying bombs and facilitating for the killing of government officials.

The suspects also are accused of transferring money, pistols and military uniforms to the members of the Shene group based in Western Ethiopia. The suspects were arrested in Addis Ababa at place called Ayertena while plotting terror acts including killing of government officials.

The defendants have been giving information about the activity of the federal defense forces in Holeta and Ambo towns and facilitating situations for members of “Shene”and the “Killer Group” to murder key government officials by supplying different kinds of guns and including snipers.

This is the first time that someone is charged with terrorism in Ethiopian courts since Prime Minister Abi Ahmed came to power in April  2018.

Meanwhile, 12 innocent farmers were reportedly killed by members of the Ethiopian defense forces in Burji special district, Beneya locality in the South Nations Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPR) of Ethiopia

According to Gamo Media Network (GMN), the farmers were killed on the wrong premises that they were members of the “Shene” even though they did not have links to the group let alone being members.

The mass killing was committed two months ago after the farmers were made to lay chests down in rows and shot dead by machineguns, eyewitnesses told the GMN on condition of anonymity.

GMN said members of the government security forces have been threatening the residents there with similar measures in case of exposing the mass killing.

If the story is true, it is unknown why the government is conducting such extrajudicial killings contrary to the Geneva Convention and other international laws.

Once considered a godsend, the government of PM Abiy Ahmed is coming under increasing suspicion by many Ethiopians who are unsure of its directions. The hotbed of most troubles is Oromia, Ethiopia's most populous region, which is also the home state of the Prime Minister. There are persistent accusations of uneven handling of different states, despite his teachings of 'Medemer' or unity. For example, last year, he was accused of silence when millions of people from Southern Ethiopia were displaced from their homes due to attacks from Oromia. Currently, his government is in hot waters for not doing enough to free 17 university students from Amhara state who were abducted in Oromia by OLF Shene. There are also persistent complaints by many that the government is hiding or protecting crimes or criminals originating from Oromia, instead of enforcing the rule of law vigorously. Religious institutions, such as the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and the Islamic Council, have voiced grave concerns about the absence of rule of law and for not doing enough to protect churches and mosques from burning in multiple places.

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