US based MTA Board of Directors Condemn treatment of Mr. Dirribi D. Bokku, President of MTA

Statement by the US based MTA Board of Directors INC. on the inhuman beating and leaving unconscious a nearly 70-year-old Mr. Dirribi Demissie Bokku, the President of the Macha Tulama Association (MTA).

August 9, 2020

MTAThe US based MTA Board of Directors Inc., strongly condemn the inhuman attack on Mr. Dirribi and his family by the Ethiopian security forces. Our reliable sources revealed that Mr. Dirribi’s house was surrounded by heavily armed men numbering more than 100 security forces on the evening of August 7, 2020, around 8:00 p.m. local time. Mr. Dirribi called the local police after he saw that his residence was surrounded by heavily armed forces. Local police informed Mr. Dirribi that the forces surrounding his house belonged to the Federal Security Forces and were beyond their jurisdiction to intervene and advised him to negotiate with them. After surrounding his house for some time, the security forces threatened to open the door by throwing a bomb. As Mr. Dirribi tried to open the door, the security forces broke into his premises. He was severely beaten and left unconscious at the door and they walked over to the house and attacked his whole family (his wife, two daughters and his wife’s brother). The sources of our information also indicate that the security forces did not have a court order and did not even explain why they were there at that time of the night. Instead they started by beating Obbo Dirribi and his family members, who were seriously hurt with visible injuries. Amazingly the security forces left Mr. Dirribi unconscious without providing any medical care for him and his family members. Our sources also indicate that Mr. Dirribi and his family members need serious medical attention. However, they could not leave their house for fear for their lives as the security situation around their house has seriously deteriorated.

For those who may not know, MTA is a civic Oromo self-help association established in Finfinnee/Addis in1963. It was established for advocating for socio-economic and cultural development for Oromo people. In its 57-year history, the MTA could function only for 15 years under successive Ethiopian regimes. The organization was repeatedly and illegally banned, and its license revoked several times by the successive Ethiopian governments, the most recent one was in 2004, when the leaders of the MTA were arrested, including MTA President, Mr. Dirribi and the organization was banned until 2018. Startingin 2004 Mr.Dirribiwasimprisonedformorethan4years.Even after his release, the organization remained banned. It was only after 2018 process of change in the political environment in Ethiopia, that the MTA was able to obtain its registration and reopened its office in Finfinnee/Addis Ababa.

Members of the US based MTA Board of Directors INC., are deeply shocked by the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s security forces physically attacking Mr. Dirribi and his family. What is most outrageous is that the Ethiopian government security forces planned and carried out their physical attack on Mr. Dirribi and his family under the cover of darkness. Attacking individuals who were peacefully staying at their house is gross human rights violations. We strongly condemn the attack on Obbo Dirribi and his family. We believe the attack on Mr. Dirribi is the attack on MTA activities in Ethiopia itself. We demand that those who attacked Mr. Dirribi and his family be brought to speedy trial. We strongly demand the Ethiopian authorities provide protection for Obbo Dirribi and his family.

Finally, the US based MTA Board of Directors Inc., call on the local and international human rights organizations to properly demand from the Ethiopian government authorities a swift and transparent investigation for bringing to justice those who attacked Mr. Dirribi and his family. We humbly request human rights organizations to exert their influence and urge Ethiopian authorities for respecting the human and democratic rights of the Oromo people in Ethiopia.

The US based MTA Board of Directors Inc.

August 9, 2020