Qeerroo’s Status Updates: Feb. 22, 2015 – March 13, 2015
Oromo students protests continue to erupt in several towns in the Oromia Regional State of Ethiopia – taking various forms in recent weeks. The new round of protests began on February 22, 2015, when Oromo students and youth of Jimma town turned an Oromian Sports Championship event, which had been taking place in the city, into a protest against the so-called “Addis Ababa Master Plan” and against the recent inflammatory speech of Abay Tsehaye, one of the TPLF strongmen. The students chanted slogans, such as “Finfinne is ours! Adama is ours! Jimma is ours!” and more, a reminiscent of the bloody April/May 2014 widespread protests, in which more or less the same slogans had been chanted throughout Oromia. The Oromo youth were also singing revolutionary songs in the whole stadium. The protests continued beyond control in Jimma Stadium and on the streets of the city on a daily basis until the Sports Championship was to come to a close on Sunday, March 1, 2015.
Audio: Feb. 23, 2015 – Jimma, Oromia
Audio: Feb. 25, 2015 – Jimma, Oromia
Speech of Oromian “President” Muktar Kedir Interrupted
On March 1, 2015, the Oromo students protest escalated to a higher level when two high-level delegates of the Ethiopian government, the so-called President of Oromia – Muktar Kedir and President of Amhara Region Demeke Mekonnen appeared in the stadium for the closing ceremony, and also in an attempt to address and pacify the protesting youth. As the whole stadium erupted with shouting voices, slogans and revolutionary songs of the students, Muktar Kedir was unable speak at all, and he and all the “guests,” including the Honorable Guest Demeke Mekonnen, were forced to leave the stadium in humiliation and eventually reported to have left the city the same day.
Audio: March 1, 2015 – Jimma, Oromia
Govt Messenger’s Indoctrination Meeting Foiled in Nekemte
On the evening of March 1, 2015, the same day students of Jimma university protested, a meeting organized in Wollega University by the government delegate and messenger Dr. Getachew Begashaw through the university administration intended to inculcate the students with the evil policies of the government and to pacify the Oromo students from protesting was foiled by the Oromo students, and the meeting was dismissed. It was as soon as the meeting began that Oromo students started shouting, singing revolutionary songs and chanting slogans, such as “the [Addis Ababa] Master Plan will never be realized! OLF is the hope of Oromo people! International community should be made aware of the genocide committed against us!” and more. Dr. Begashaw and other “guests” were forced to stop their lecture, and leave the university while the students continued chanting slogans and singing in the whole university campus throughout that night. Although the students were protesting peacefully, hours later, a large number of police force entered the university campus and started beating the students and arrested many of them, including a 3rd-year electrical engineering student Kuma Gammachu. The whereabouts of the arrested students is still unknown.
At least 10 Oromo Students Abducted in Jimma
On March 2, 2015, the Ethiopian government unleashed its police force in Jimma University, and abducted at least 10 students for no crime other than exercising their rights by peacefully protesting, together with thousands of other Oromo students. Among the abducted Oromo students of Jimma University are:
1. Guddisa Amsalu, Afan Oromo – 2nd-year
2. Dejenee Gonfa, Afan Oromo – 2nd-year
3. Adam Muktar, Law – 2nd-year
4. Sisai Kebede, Law – 2nd-year
5. Sisayi, Geography – 2nd-year
6. Musxafa Edeto, Biomedical Engineering – 4th-year
These and other abducted Oromo students are said to be held in a prison in Jimma city in an area known as Alazar.
Looting of Oromian Top Soil Thwarted in Sibu Sire
On March 7, 2015, Oromo farmers – who were evicted from their land and from whom their farm land was given to investors in East Wollega zone, Sibu Sire district, in a village called Tuqa Wayyu – organized the youth and the local Oromo population, and stopped lorries which were looting top soil (fertile soil) of their land and taking to an unknown place.
Three OPDO Officials Fired
On March 10, 2015, the government fired three OPDO officials in Western Shaggar (Shoa) zone, Abuna district, accusing them of siding with the protesting Oromo people for their right and being sympathetic to Oromo students. These are:
1. Shiferaw Mekonnen, Head of Finance of the district
2. Bacha Lamessa, Head of Human Resource
3. Girma Bacha, Jobs Coordinator
Protest in Wama Hagalo: An Oromo Pastor Arrested
On March 10, 2015, protest of the Oromo population for their right and against the policies of the EPRDF government was flared up in Eastern Wollega zone, Wama Hagalo district, Qasso town. A fierce clash has occurred between the Oromo population – who were protesting, and government police forces during which the police arrested several people, among whom are:
1. Qajeelaa Raggaasaa
2. Boodanaa Baqqalaa
3. Misgaanuu Raggaasaa
4. Danjaa Dhangi’aa
5. Dhugaasaa Abdiisaa
6. Booboo Addunyaa
7. Misgaanuu Addunyaa and many more.
Moreover, an Oromo pastor of the Evangelical Church of the district, Waqgari Ayana, was abducted and disappeared, accused of praying to God for the downfall of the current government. The whereabouts of this pastor is still unknown. It is to be recalled that a respected Oromo pastor Gudina Tumsa was abducted and killed by the Derg regime in 1970’s.
2nd Round of Protest in Wollega University
Oromo students of Wollega University, Nekemte town, protested for the second time on March 11, 2015 in their university campus. It was right after their breakfast that the students gathered in front of the cafeteria and started chanting the slogans which they had prepared. One of the students who was interviewed by Simbirtu Radio and another student interviewed by OVL/SBO (Oromo Voice of Liberation) – both explained the details of the protest. It was before the protest expanded to the entire campus that a large number of police force came and dispersed the students. It is reported that still a tense situation exists in the university campus, and no two students are allowed to stand together.
Audio: March 11, 2015 – Wollega, Oromia
Protest in Busa: Young Oromo Severely Beaten & Abducted
On March 11, 2015, protest of Oromo population erupted in South West zone of Oromia, Dawo district, Busa town, during which the people chanted slogans, such as “Oromia belongs to the Oromo! We will not give Finfinne (Addis Ababa)! We need peace! We are fed-up of Woyane’s lies!” and more. During this time the government dispatched a large number of police force which were seen beating the protesters. Especially the police has severely beaten an Oromo youth Geleta Waqo – dragged him on the floor and have taken to an unknown location.