BY SIYANNE MEKONNEN @SIYAANNE
Addis Abeba, August 28/2021 – The Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) strongly criticized the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission(EHRC) and accused it of omitting the atrocities it said were committed by the Amhara militias and government forces on Oromo civilians and selectively highlighting the Amhara victims in its report. In a statement released yesterday, the OLF slammed the August 26 EHRC report as “incomplete and untrue.”
The OLF said that it observed that previous reports by the rights commission lack appropriate investigation methodology independence and professionalism. “We repeatedly observed that some of the reports and press releases are biased, and politically motivated.” the statement read.
“WE REPEATEDLY OBSERVED THAT SOME OF THE REPORTS AND PRESS RELEASES ARE BIASED, AND POLITICALLY MOTIVATED.”
OROMO LIBERATION FRONT (OLF)
In its statement the OLF accused the rights commission of having affiliation with the government and its leadership of demonstrating ethnic preferences in their practices.
The OLF countered EHRC’s August 26 report that stated that the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) killed 150 Amhara residents in East Wollega Zone, Gidda Kiramu woreda by narrating the events that took place before the incident citing ‘the actual victims and residents in the areas’.
According to OLF’s statement, Amhara Special Forces crossed the Nile river to Gidda Ayana, Kiramu, Hagamsa and Amuru-Jartee -Woredas in East Wollega Zone of Oromia region. “The Government cut telephone lines and networks in the area to block communication and information leakage and to prepare for the hidden massacre.” the statement read, describing a mission to evacuate Amhara women and children in the aforementioned areas.
“THE GOVERNMENT CUT TELEPHONE LINES AND NETWORKS IN THE AREA TO BLOCK COMMUNICATION AND INFORMATION LEAKAGE AND TO PREPARE FOR THE HIDDEN MASSACRE.”
The statement went on to explain how after the children and women had been evacuated, the Amhara militias, in collaboration with government forces, come back in large number armed with heavy weapons and opened fire on Oromo residents in places known as Wast, Siredoro, Hagamsa, and Haroo/ Lalisee towns. The OLA described the attacks as a ‘political drama’ orchestrated to kill as many civilians as possible to paint the attacks as ethnic targeted killings conducted by the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA).
After expressing condolences to the family of victims, the OLF said, “This massacre was not mentioned in the EHRC report, but the Amhara killings were highlighted in the report and put to various media outlets to blackmail the OLA.” and underscored that the actual number of people killed in the conflict is yet to be verified as the conflict continues to escalate. The OLF called for an independent investigation into this incident report by the EHRC to ensure clarity to people of Ethiopia and the international community.
“THE UNHRC MUST CONFIRM THAT THE EHRC DEMONSTRATES THEIR PROFESSIONALISM, FAIRNESS, AND EQUITABLE CAMPAIGN FOR ALL ETHIOPIA PEOPLES.”
The OLF cautioned the media against using reports by the EHRC. It also asked the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and related human rights watch groups to monitor the activities of the EHRC, “The UNHRC must confirm that the EHRC demonstrates their professionalism, fairness, and equitable campaign for all Ethiopia peoples.” The statement concluded by urging the EHRC to carry out its public duties according to the UNHRC standards and guiding principles and free itself from biases of ideology, political views, and ethnic preferences.
This comes a day after the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), a group recently designated terrorist by the House of People’s Representatives (HoPR), demanded an independent investigation into the fresh killing of civilians in East Wollega Zone that was followed by conflicting narratives as to who the perpetrators are as well as the ethnic identity of the victims. The EHRC solely attributed the killings to OLF/Shane (a term used by government officials to refer to Oromo Liberation Army, OLA). AS