News: Gov’t forces accused of executing four in Ambo, two in Guji, Oromia region on suspicion of supporting OLA

Victims of the killings in Ambo, and Guji (Photo: Social Media)

By Getahun Legesse @Birmaduu2

Addis Abeba – Residents in Ambo district in West Shoa zone of the Oromia regional state said government forces shot dead four people of one family, and injured two others accusing them of supporting and feeding “Shane” a name gov’t officials use to refer to the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA).

The killing took place on 19 June in the residence of the dead in Ganji Gorore village after soldiers wearing Ethiopian army uniform broke into the house at dawn, an eye witness told Addis Standard.

The witness who asked to be anonymous for safety reasons listed; Hirpha Idosa (father), Kisa Hirpha and Desu Hirpha (sons), and Likasa Lelisa (family member) to be the names of those killed. Kabeta Idosa and Dejene Geda are said to be those who were shot but survived injuries.

15 other local villagers including family members of the deceased have been taken to custody according to the witness.

Another resident of the Ganji Gorore village who spoke to Addis Standard and asked for his identities to be concealed said, the soldiers also killed two oxen and six cows and destroyed properties belonging to the grieving family. He added that killing left the entire villagers in shock.

One day earlier, on 18 June, two high school students were allegedly executed by government forces in Dawa town of Malka Soda district of West Guji zone in Southern Oromia, witnesses told Addis Standard.

The two students Sugessa Boko (nineth grader) and Quxala Boru (eighth grader) were both shot in the head in front of many people leaving from churches around noon on Sunday, a day after they were arrested accused of supporting the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) according to an anonymous eyewitness.

Two other witnesses told Addis Standard that the two students were killed by members of the Ethiopian army after they were transported to a place called ‘Dildila Dawa’ from a prison where they spent the night being tortured.

According to the witnesses the zone has been heavily militarized following mass demonstrations since early March after the regional council publicized a decision to incorporate Negelle town and three districts from Guji into a newly established “East Borana zone’ on 27 February 2023.

The protests continued for several months resulting in killings and mass arrests as the discussion between government and community representatives to resolve the issue peacefully reached a stalemate.

Both the Ambo, and Guji killings were corroborated by US based advocacy group, Oromo Legacy Leadership and Advocacy Association (OLLA) who in a report titled “Between a rock and a hard place”, released in May highlighted severe rights violations of civilians amidst armed conflict in the Oromia region particularly in the two Guji zones over the past five years.

The report shares a partial list of victims of extrajudicial executions, including seven prisoners including Galma Utura, Dhadacha Mi’essa, and Abdulahi Golu, who were all removed from the prison in Raro, Goro Dola district on 28 September 2019 as confirmed by Amnesty International.

Over the course of the war in Oromia that is going on for five years, Addis Standard reported several incidents of executions by government forces on the basis of accusations of supporting the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA).

On Monday, 20 June, militants suspected to be members of the OLA gunned down the administrator of the Saden Sodo district in South West Shoa zone, making it the second high profile local official who was killed in less than two weeks in central Oromia. On 08 June, deputy administrator of the Ada Barga district of West Shoa zone Abdissa Keneni was killed by armed men near his house in Bekate town.

Addis Standard’s attempts to get comments from local officials and military leaders in West Shoa and West Guji zones on the latest alleged executions were unsuccessful. AS

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