OLF, OFC Accuse Government of Detaining over 5000 Members, Shutting Down Offices

By Staff Reporter

OFC-OLFFebruary 27, 2020 (Ezega.com) -- The Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) have accused the Oromia security forces of detaining over 5,000 of their members and shutting down offices in Oromia region ahead of the 6th Ethiopian national elections to be held in late August.

The allegation comes as the Oromia regional government blames the rebel Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) also known as “Shene” and another Oromo armed group called “Aba Torbe” or a “killing squad” are causing terrors against supporters of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

Lemi Begna, spokesperson of OLF told VOA Amharic service that more than 5000 members and supporters OLF are jailed from different zones and districts of the Oromia region, largely from special zones surrounding Addis Ababa, west Shoa, Harargae, Bale and Arsi zone of the Oromia region.

Lemi said central committee members of the OLF were detained too and the activities of the front are gravely halted as its members cannot move from one place to another.

The spokesperson said members of OLF denied access to some cities and towns and their political activities in those paces are totally suspended.

OFC executive committee member Turme Gemte said 68 members and supporters of OFC were arrested in a week's time. OFC claims its zonal offices were shut down. OFC said it has reported to the National Election Board of Ethiopia about the arrest and closure offices.

“We face similar security challenges the same as we suffered during the previous administration. Our office in west Wellega zone was broken and the office materials were robbed and it is turned into a military camp,  the executive  member claimed

Spokesperson of the Oromia regional government Getachew Balcha has rubbished the allegations and “there is no government body which is legally entitled to detain or shut down offices of the competing parties.”

“Neither OLF nor the OFC reported their cases to the regional government. Had they been reported, their problems could have been solved,” Getachew added.

Soliana Shimeles, Public Relations Head of NEBE said the board has already communicated to the regional government on allegations of the political parties and is waiting for a response.

The same political parties have also accused the ruling Prosperity Party of conducting election campaigns in and outside of the Oromo region of Ethiopia in violations of election timetable set by the NEBE.

Many Ethiopians consider the complaints by these Oromo organizations against the government as hollow and self-centered.

It must be noted that, in the past, almost all of the Oromia political organizations have been severely criticized by many Ethiopians for turning a blind eye to the lawlessness going on in parts of the state. For example, none of them came out to condemn the recent abductions of Dembi Dollo University students by Oromo terrorists.

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