By Staff Reporter
July 27, 2020 (Ezega.com) -- Ethiopian police said opposition leader Bekele Gerba led obstructing the road at Burayu town as mourners took the dead body of popular singer Hachalu Hundessa to Ambo town.
In a court hearing on Monday, the Federal Police Commission Crime Investigation team charged Bekele Gerba for making calls and ordering violent youth groups in the town to block the road and deny mourners passage to Ambo town.
The team said it has gathered adequate evidence that Bekele who is chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) led and physically attended the violence.
Bekele along with his associate Jawar Mohammed is charged for causing the recent ethnic and religious-based attacks that left more than 200 people dead and hundreds of others wounded in dozens of Oromia towns and Addis Ababa.
According to the charges, Bekele and his partners had snatched and returned the dead body of Hachalu to the office of Oromia Prosperity Party in an attempt to create havoc in the capital and topple the government by force.
According to the charges, a member of Oromia police was killed and three others injured as an armed force led by Bekele Gerba and Jawar Mohammed tried to lay down the dead body inside the office.
The government indicated there are 22 people who witnessed against Bekele Gerba. Police also accused Bekele of disseminating hatred between ethnic groups using different media outlets.
Following the call for the violence, 200 million birr worth of properties were destroyed in five sub-cities of Addis Ababa and a total of 160 million birr worth of property damages belonging to Addis Ababa Roads Authority and Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority.
The charges said four people were killed and another four wounded as the suspect and his followers snatched the dead body of Hachalu at Burayu town.
Police said an additional seven million birr worth of property was damaged in violence that occurred following the obstructions perpetrated by Bekele Gerba at Burayu town.
Police added that it is assessing other damages caused at various places following his order to instigate violence through phone calls.
Bekele dismissed the allegations. “I accompanied the body of Hachalu to attend the funeral ceremony. I did not take part in any violence,” he added.
A few years ago, Bekele Gerba was considered a fighter for human rights not just for the Oromo people but also for all Ethiopians. Since then, however, he is seen as one of the leading ethnic partisans who has championed extremist regional views to the exclusion of all other Ethiopians. Many observers accuse him of peddling such extremist views to gain personal power.
Bekele Gerba, along with many other leading Oromo politicians, rarely voice concerns when Ethiopians from other ethnicities are attacked, abducted, killed, or displaced.
Police requested 14 days on the case of Bekele Gerba but Lideta First Instance Court granted an additional eight days to further investigate the case of the suspect.
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