Monthly Archives: October 2016

Rights groups call for probe into Irreecha massacre

(Right Groups, October 12, 2016) Amnesty International and Freedom House have called for an independent investigation into the the massacre of hundreds of civilians in Bishoftu, Central Oromia, at the annual Irreecha celebration, an Oromo cultural festival.

bishoftuHundreds of people, over 600 by some accounts, were killed as security forces opened fire and threw gas canisters into the huge crowd, who seized the occasion to express their grievances against the oppressive regime. Most were killed in a stampede while others were reportedly shot and killed by security forces.

“Fresh protests in Ethiopia since dozens of protesters were killed in a stampede at a religious festival on 2 October underline the need for the Ethiopian government to ensure a full investigation into how the protest was handled,” said Amnesty in a release on Wednesday.

“We have documented multiple complaints of police using excessive force, including lethal force, against largely peaceful protesters since demonstrations began in the Oromia region in November last year,” said Michelle Kagari, Amnesty’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

“The law enforcement agencies must immediately end all unlawful use of force against protesters. The government, meanwhile, has an obligation to ensure prompt, thorough, impartial, transparent and effective investigations, particularly into deaths during protests,” he said.

“This should include what role government forces played in Bishoftu, as well as how Ethiopian security forces manage public protests in general,” Kagari noted.

Freedom Housed meanwhile held security forces accountable for the death of the festival goers.

“The deaths in Bishoftu occurred because security forces fired tear gas and live ammunition at a crowd of over a million people celebrating a religious occasion,” said Vukasin Petrovic, director for Freedom House’s Africa programs.

“The government of Ethiopia should allow a truly independent body to investigate the tragedy at Bishoftu as well as security forces’ well-documented record of using excessive force against peaceful gatherings,” Petrovic said in a statement.

Oromia: More than 500 Dead after Security Forces Fire into Crowd

(Irreechaa,  4 October 2016) In response to actions by Ethiopian security forces leading to the death of more than 500 people attending the Irreechaa religious and cultural celebration in the Bishoftu town in Oromia on October 2.

The deaths in Bishoftu occurred because security forces fired tear gas and live ammunition at a crowd of over a million people celebrating a religious occasion.

In Irreechaa women dress in white garment and hold stick with green grass to symbolize Peace and prosperity. It is really aching to see when the Tigray Military regime confront these peace loving people with gun simply because they are being Oromo. It is painful and agonizing when their white cultural dress soaked with blood.

The Quest of Balance 

Let’s not forget Tigrain when they invaded us from North, their only mission is to take our land and life. Their goal is to exterminate us and enrich their generation at the expense of our precious children. When we face them at least the level of our struggle should be balanced with them. To make it balance our struggle with the Tigray military regime, let’s work on our deficiency.

Human rights organisations urge the government of Ethiopia should allow a truly independent body to investigate the tragedy at Bishoftu as well as security forces’ well-documented record of using excessive force against peaceful gatherings.

Background

Irreechaa is an annual holiday for giving thanks, celebrated by the Oromo, Ethiopia’s  largest people. While firm numbers remain unavailable, eyewitnesses say that the total number of deaths on October 2 may exceed 500.