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News: OLF Chairman’s residence attacked at night; Party PR says chairman whereabouts unknown and Rights Commission unaware of the attack

Dawud Ibsa, Chairman of Oromo Liberation Front.

By Siyanne Mekonnen @Siyaanne

Addis Abeba, May 4, 2021 – Reports of an attack on the residence of the chairman of Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) Dawud Ibsa have been coming out since last night. Addis Standard received footage of the incident where huge bangs on the gate could be heard. This comes hours after the OLF released a statement rejecting the resolution by the council of ministers designating “TPLF” & “Shene” as terrorist organizations. In its statement the OLF called the resolution a deliberate move to block the peaceful process and to sabotage political dialogue as well as the election. The statement also expressed discontent with the use of the word ‘Shane’. According to the statement, “The word ‘‘Shane’’ is a sacred word in the Gada System and its administrative and cultural structures defining a wide concept of Oromo culture and traditions.” the statement explained, “Using this word for this evil purpose in an “anti-terrorism” bill is an abuse of the word and aimds at degrading the Oromo language and culture.” The OLF accused the government of associating this word to any citizen of Oromia that does not support the ruling Prosperity Party (PP).  

The OLF expressed its stance saying “A sustainable and permanent solution to Ethiopia’s complex political problems could only be attained with an all-Inclusive democratic process and participation of all representative political forces in the political discourse.” The statement reiterated its dedication to work with all stakeholders in paving the way for a  dialogue that will build consensus, peacefully resolve political differences and form true democratic order in the country. The party also called on the AU, UNSC, EU, and all concerned parties to denounce the resolution and put maximum pressure on the government to end its military campaigns across the country.

The interim head of the public relations of the OLF confirmed to Addis Standard that the residence of Dawud Ibsaa was attacked by armed security forces last night between 9-10 PM. According to him, security forces tried to override the security guards assigned by the government to guard the residence of Dawud. The security forces who arrived in three patrol cars shot at and arrested the youth who gathered around the chairman’s house after the incident. The PR head was not able to specify which of the security forces organs carried the attack but he told Addis Standard, “Security forces previously assigned to protect the chairman by the government were taken away. Phone and computer devices owned by everyone who lives in the house as well as documents were confiscated from the residence.”

The PR explained that it is not possible to confirm the condition of the chairman and the people who live with him. “Dawud has been on house arrest since April 2, 2021.” said the PR recalling the arrest of his security guards on the same day. The security guards were detained for 2 weeks in Nifas Silk Lafto police station while two remain detained in Burayu town. “Our party is being pushed to break the promise it made to the Oromo People to stick to peaceful struggle come what may.” 

Addis Standard learned that the party has notified the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in a letter dated April 12, 2021 about the house arrest of its chairman and the condition of its jailed members who are denied bail and medical treatment while in detention. The commissioner of the EHRC Daniel Bekele (PhD) who spoke to Addis Standard said he didn’t hear about the incident last night and explained that the commission is aware of the house arrest and is looking into the matter very closely. “The issue of the arrested members of the OLF and OFC is something that worries us and we are working to resolve.” AS

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