NEWS: OLF CLAIMS CIVILIAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS BY ERITREAN SOLDIERS IN OROMIA, BENISHANGUL GUMUZ REGIONS; NO COMMENTS FROM OFFICIALS IN BOTH REGIONS
ADDIS STANDARD STAFF
Addis Abeba, May 31, 2021- The Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) released a statement yesterday alleging the involvement of Eritrean troops in various parts of the Oromia and Benishangul – Gumuz regional states. In the statement, the party recalled the participation of Eritrean Soldiers in the Tigray region, “The atrocities, that were proved in Tigray operations and evidenced by the international community investigations, are observed in similar fashion in Oromia.”
The OLF spoke of a secret agreement made between Ethiopian ruling group and the Eritrean regime to deploy Eritrea forces to Oromia and Benishangul- Gumuz regions. The statement said it has ‘tangible evidence’ that many battalions of Eritrean soldiers were deployed to Horro Guduru, Kellem Wollega, West Wollega, Guji, and Borana Zones of Oromia region as well as the Metekel zone in Benishangul Gumuz region. According to the statement, the Eritrean troops committed beating, killing, looting properties, raping women and children and arbitrarily detaining civilians.
The statement from the OLF detailed the brutalizing of civilians based on information the party said it received from local residents. The Eritrean Soldiers are stationed in the military base known as the 4th Camp in Horro Guduru Zone, Abay Chomen, specific location of Finchaa Sugar Factory, according to the statement. A couple, Namoomsaa Hatahuu and his wife Yashii Dassalee who were beaten and taken to detention for further torture alongside their one-year-old baby were mentioned in the statement. It was also indicated that the Eritrean soldiers were said to indiscriminately beat and arrest people because of the language barrier. “Eritrean soldiers do not understand the languages spoken in the country, they indiscriminately beat and arrest people without proper communication.” the statement read.
The OLF pressed the AU and UN bodies to push for the withdrawal of Eritrean forces from Oromia and called on the international community to pay due attention to the suffering of civilians in the region.
Addis Standard reached out to the Commander of Oromia Special Forces, Commissioner Dechasa Bitima who referred to the department of communication at his office which was unresponsive. Similarly, our repeated attempts to contact the head of Oromia Region Communication Bureau, the commander of Oromia Police Commission, the commander of the Metekel Zone Command Post as well as the Commander of Metekel Zonal Police Commission were all to no avail.
There has been no official response to the allegation from both Oromia and Benishangul Gumuz regional governments until the publication of this news.AS