Oromo: Why Incinerate Political Prisoners?

Published on 6th September 2016

Since November 2015, the resistance of the Oromo nation has shaken the foundation of the incumbent regime. The Amhara nation and the other regions have followed on the footsteps of the Oromo and are moving the current resistance to a solid stage. The authoritarian regime whose power has been maintained and consolidated with killing of tens of thousands of unarmed civilians, incarcerating hundreds of thousands and totally suffocating freedom of expression and assembly has been seriously worried. The incumbent regime has lost it control as popular resistances gain momentum. The army and police of the country are increasingly joining popular resistances.

The regime uses various techniques and tactics to quash such resistances including committing mass executions. Over 800 civilians have been killed since November 2015 in Oromia and Amhara regions, about 700 in Oromia and the rest in Amhara. It also uses dirty tactics to divert the attentions of its subjects and that of the international community. When it wishes, it explodes bombs to allege opposition political parties although these have been repeatedly exposed by the WikiLeaks and the other Western intelligence groups. The country’s largest nations constituting at least 60-65% of the population, the Oromo and Amhara are literally on fire. The rest of the regions are following on their footsteps.

Meanwhile, the major part of the notorious prison of Qilintto, at the outskirts of Finffinnee (Addis Ababa) was engulfed by fire on the early hours of September 03, 2016. Various credible reports confirmed that there were a series of suspicious activities before the days leading to the Qilntto prisons fire incident. For example, the Oromo and Amhara police personnel were allegedly removed from the prison and replaced by the loyalist ‘Agiazi’ commando groups. The latter were allegedly placed at key positions at the prison with their highly sophisticated snipper guns. The shootings were heard long before the fire started. Any person with unaltered mind understands that there are clear indications of foul play.

The Qilintto prison hosts prominent political prisoners such as the Oromo’s human rights defenders Bekele Gerba, Addisu Bulala, Dejene Xaaffa (Tafa); Berhanu Tekleyared, Lieutenant Masresha Sete of Amhara; Solomon Nayyu of Sidama…among thousands of other political prisoners from all over the country. It has four major zones and hosts over 3,100 political prisoners in total imprisoned for allegedly plotting against the current government- although evidences prove that they all have peacefully attempted to air political grievances. It has been confirmed that Zone 2 of the prison has been totally obliterated, raising fears that high profile political prisoners have been incinerated, as family members are unable to locate them to date.

Inner sources from various hospitals report that several dozens of shot dead bodies arrived covered with black bags, none of these with fire related death. The identities of the dead bodies are unknown but were all coded with numbers. The families of over 3,100 prisoners are totally distraught as they search for their loved ones, only to receive beating and intimidation from prison officers.

The current incident isn’t a new. In November 2006, over 160 prisoners in Qalitti prison were executed while sleeping. In October 2015, Gonder’s prison was set ablaze killing over 24 inmates.

The peoples of Ethiopia are adamantly and gallantly pushing forward with their struggle… following on the footsteps of the Oromo. The current silence of the Sidama nation whilst its brothers and sisters in Oromia are paying a heavy sacrifice with their lives is uncustomary and uncharacteristic! The nation’s intelligential must stop its silence to risk all for the freedom and liberty of their own nation whilst giving moral and political direction instead of hiding in their shells during the current upheaval. After all, the Sidama nation is more relegated than any other nations of Ethiopia. The nation’s eerie silence whilst its rights are gravely violated is utterly and totally unacceptable.

By Denboba Natie

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