Facts about Student Arrests In Oromia Region

Facts about Student Arrests In Oromia Region


The Diplomatic Community International Committee of the Red Cross in

Ethiopia Humanitarian Organizations



   Subject: Facts about Student Arrests In Oromia Region


   Dear Sir/Madam


   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

   of lawlessness.


   The students went into rampage, damaging schools, government buildings, small shops, cars,

   police etc.


   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

                          No deaths


                          Non wounded


                          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

                          government hospital.


    5. Baako Town


                          Four students were detained with no casualty In Ambo,

                          Gedo, Baakko and Guder a total of Nine police men were

                          wounded seriously.


    6. Gimib, Najjo,

    Dambidollo and Guder


                          There were disturbances but no serious casualty except for

                          few arrests.





   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

   Ministry of Federal Affairs

   H.E Ato Abay Tsehaye

   Ministry of Justice

   H.E Ato Harka Harroye

   Addis Ababa