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News: Gambella region deputy police chief appears in court on suspicion of commanding brutal killing of innocent civilians

Tut Kor, the former deputy commissioner of the Gambella regional police commission (Picture: ETV/screenshot)

Addis Abeba – Tut Kor, the former deputy commissioner of the Gambella regional police commission, has been brought to court suspected of gathering police members and commanding them to kill innocent civilians during an incident on 14 June, 2022 when rebel groups Gambella Liberation Front (GLF) and Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) jointly attacked Gambella city.

According to the state affiliated FBC, the former deputy police chief has been accused of ordering the killing of civilians who were suspected of leaking information to the members of the rebel group during the attack.

In September last year, a report by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) revealed that, between the afternoon of 14 and 16 June, action taken mainly by government forces killed at least 50 civilians who were accused of “hiding Shene fighters and weapons in their homes”. The report added women and mentally ill individuals were among the victims.

A graphic footage of regional police members brutally killing people in civilian clothes lying on the ground of what appears to be a police compound has been circulating on social media over the past weeks. The EHRC confirmed that the footage was recorded during the 14 June incident.

“At that time, when the police forces were killing innocent people, the deputy commissioner should have stopped them, he rather complied and passed it in silence,” the investigating police told the hearing on Monday.

Having clarified that the police have been collecting evidence on the alleged crime, the investigating police asked the court for 14 additional days to gather further evidence, submit electronic test results and receive affidavits.

Despite the suspect’s request of bail on the account of health issues, the court allowed police the 14 days for further investigation. 

On 24 March the regional police commission announced that 13 officers and civilian leaders who were suspected complying with the human rights violations committed during the 14 June incident were apprehended pending investigations. AS

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