Recent Mob Attacks Were Not Ethnic or Religious Based: Oromia Official

By Staff Reporter

Getachew-BalchaAugust 6, 2020 ( -- Oromia Region Communications Bureau Head Getachew Balcha dismissed reports that the recent mob attacks in Oromia towns and Addis Ababa were “ethnic and religious centered”.

The official’s remark came as survivors testified that their family members were brutally attacked to death and in some instances beheaded just because of their ethnicity and religious background.

The assertion by Getachew Balcha is also contrary to what has been happening in Oromia (and surrounding areas) over the last few years when many non-Oromo citizens became victims of mob violence with little help from local security officials.

The recent killing predominantly targeted Christians and non-Oromo ethnic people. According to the survivors, no single Muslim was killed or wounded but the attackers, in some places, selectively attacked ethnic Oromo Christians.

Hundreds of ethnic Oromo Christians are sheltered in churches where they are still calling for help. They accused members of the violent groups of killing their kin and torching or uprooting their crops on the fields.

“The unrest would have not been put under control had it occurred due to religious and ethnic conflicts,” he said.

Getachew accused the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) and the rebel faction of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) also called “Shene” of instigating the unrest in an attempt to take power or dismantle Ethiopia. 

It is now customary to use the TPLF as a scapegoat when something wrong takes place in the regions or at the federal level.

“What religion do members of the violent groups profess and which ethnic group do they represent? They did not favor any religion or ethnic group,” he claimed.

Getachew said out of those 167 people who were killed during the recent mob attack, 100 of them were ethnic Oromo. “Hence, which ethnic group killed these Oromo people?”

In a briefing on Wednesday, Getachew rubbished reports that the recent attacks had ethnic and religious nature as opposed to reports of almost all media outlets and the police.

According to the communications head, members of violent groups are drawn from all religions and ethnic groups.

Media reports revealed that buildings, hotels, and other business establishments belonging to non-Oromo ethnic people were burned down to the ground in Oromia towns including in  Shashemene, Ziway, Adami Tulu, and east Hararge.

“The media outlets should not report in general rather clearly mention which religion or ethnic group members were involved in the conflict,” the communication head said

The Tigray state council has amended the region’s constitution and election law in an emergency meeting on Thursday.

Accordingly, the majority vote rule is replaced by what is called a “mixed and parallel electoral system.”

The council has also increased the number of seats from the previous 152 to 190 by amending article 48 of the region's constitution.

Based on the amendment, 80 percent of the council’s seats will be held by members of the winning party while the rest will be shared out among other parties based on proportional representation.

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