The Diplomatic Community International Committee of the Red Cross in
Ethiopia Humanitarian Organizations
Subject: Facts about Student Arrests In Oromia Region
Recently we have received several letters and complaints from personalities and organizations
about arrests of students in Oromia region.
Sir/Madam, we are sure you are aware about the positive changes we are striving to bring about
in this country. Although remarkable successes have been registered during the last 10 years,
those successes were not achieved without problems, which our party and government have
tried hard to deal with, whenever they may be, from the government, the party hierarchy and
the society. As part of that drive for change we are determined to push forward with the
democratization process, ensuring the supremacy of the rule of law and the advancement of the
market economic policy.
As we continue to be fully engaged in such an endeavour over the last one year, certain groups,
believing that this government has been weakened as a result of the ongoing changes to
transform the country politically and economically, tried to use school children to achieve their
dream of overthrowing the government by force and violent means. One such group is the OLF
which is an illegal terrorist organization which had recently infiltrated certain schools, organized
few teachers and students clandestinely and instigated them into engaging in violence and acts
The students went into rampage, damaging schools, government buildings, small shops, cars,
It was at this juncture and after repeated calls for restraint from such wanton acts that the
local militia and police acted to ensure law and order. We however admit that our local militia and
police force are not armed with riot gears, like water cannon, tear gas, etc the absence of which
obviously and regrettably have resulted in some casualty.
Sir/Madam, let us now give you the latest casualty figures:
1. Neqamtee Town
102 students were arrested and all were released after two
days in detention. However after detail investigation, we
uncovered the OLF structures, subversive documents etc.
Which led to the arrests of 17 students. We assure you
that these students will be treated fairly and in accordance
with law. Let us also make it clear to you that, no torture
or any other coercive measures what so ever will be
allowed in the land of Oromia! Sir/Madam, we were once
victims of torture and we will never allow that to happen
again! On any body.
2. Shambu Town
In our previous statement at the time of the incident, two
students who tried to disarm local militia were reported
dead. Five students were injured then. Now among the
injured one more is dead. The four injured have been
treated in Naqamte government hospital.
Elsewhere in East Wollega Four students, 3 militias members
Five policemen and 10 innocent people were injured. Five
persons and one police man were killed about 40 houses
were burnt by the mob, offices and residences were
destroyed and looted.
3. Ambo Town
One innocent student who was walking by was shot dead
by accident. The police who killed him is in detention. The
family of the deceased has been formally consoled and
treated properly. Financial support was also immediately
Eight students directly involved in violence and rampage
have been arrested. One student has been injured and
treated in government hospital.
4. Gedo Town
One student was killed when four students tried to disarm
the police. Six were wounded and treated properly in
5. Baako Town
Four students were detained with no casualty In Ambo,
Gedo, Baakko and Guder a total of Nine police men were
6. Gimib, Najjo,
Dambidollo and Guder
There were disturbances but no serious casualty except for
Having brought those facts to your attention it has to be clear however that all illegal and
criminal acts shall in the future too be dealt with properly! Please note that all of the troubled
schools in west Wallege are now open and peaceful.
This is the true picture of the reality of the events that took place in the areas where there
have been disturbances in Oromia. It has become clear that those groups who rejected peaceful
means of struggle have opted for violence and anarchy in a country with such huge economic
and social problems. It is obvious therefore that we cannot tolerate violence, unrest and armed
conflict any more. We want to focus on economic development, democratization, peace and
stability. We are sure, that your country and you personally will understand us. We are also
sure that, the world community and humanitarian organizations will understand us, help us and
give us a chance, visit us and see for themselves the truth of our determination for real
democratic meaningful change in the country.
Oromia State Council
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
H.E. Ato Seyoum Mesfin
H.E Ato Abay Tsehaye
Ministry of Justice
H.E Ato Harka Harroye