Ethiopian army member accused of killing four, injuring three in Kebri Dehar, Somali region; opposition ONLF urges immediate action

Addis Abeba – At least four people were killed in Kebri Dehar city, in Somali regional state, after a soldier purportedly identified as a member of Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) indiscriminately fired on civilians, multiple witnesses told Addis Standard. The incident which occurred in 08 Kebele near the ENDF military camp left three others injured according to the witnesses.

“A soldier suddenly opened fire and shot seven civilians, four of them died and three others were severely injured and were taken to the Kebri Dehar hospital” one of the witnesses said. “He was wearing an Ethiopian military uniform,” he added, expressing his suspicion that the soldier may have been drunk.

Opposition party Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) in a statement issued this morning said three of the four victims killed by a member of the ENDF were its members, while the remaining one was a local official of the ruling Prosperity Party (PP). According to the ONLF, two others were also injured in the incident which took place this morning.

“This is no isolated incident – last May, a similar terror struck the same town, injuring two young lives. Today, the rampage continued unabated for over an hour, leaving 8 more victims in its wake before the perpetrator was stopped after damage,” OLNF said, and called on “the federal government and the Ethiopian army for immediate, concrete, and effective actions to cease these violations.”

It further said that “absence of definitive action against these assaults could risk inciting rebellion among the Somali people,” and warned “the message is clear: Enough is enough. Our patience shouldn’t be mistaken for weakness.” The party did not provide the names of victims.

On 27 March, Addis Standard reported quoting a local official who said three people were killed and six others were severely injured after members of the defense forces fired on a crowd during a protest held in Ayisha district, Sitti Zone of the Somali regional state.

Last year, the “deliberate” killing of Juweria Subcis, a member of the ruling Prosperity Party Central Committee and the Somali regional state Parliament by a federal police officer inside the Jigjiga Garad Wilwal Airport in the region’s capital on 25 October had created an uproar.

In a message to local communities following today’s killing, ONLF highlighted the importance of maintaining calm, extending support to each other. “Now is the time for unity, strength, and patience,” it said, adding a call to “avoid rushed actions”, to allow thorough investigations to occur. “Alongside this, we must work together to demand the federal government implement adequate safeguards to prevent such incidents in the future.

ENDF spokesperson colonel Getinet Adane was not immediately available to respond to Addis Standard’s request for a comment but later referred the questions to the federal government communication service. There is no official statement from Somali regional government as of the publishing of this news either. AS

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