Law & JusticeNewsOromia Regional State

News: Oromia gov. says reports of detention facilities “false information”

Addis Abeba – The government of Oromia regional state has in a short statement denied reports of detention facilities in the various places in the regional state as “false information” designed to “confuse the public.”

The regional government said this in a short statement issued last night, shortly after the latest report by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission revealed the presence of detainees in Oromia region, especially in the newly formed Sheger city.

However, the statement from the regional government denies such facilities that are holding detainees “in connection with the declaration of the state of emergency”, in the cities of Sheger and Fiche. “False information is being spread on some social media pages that confuses the public. We would like to state that there are no detention camps in the mentioned cities or in our region as a whole,” the regional government said.

In its report on Friday EHRC revealed the presence of a detention facility in Sida Awash Woreda, Gelan Kifle Ketema in Sheger City, where detainees, including homeless civilians, who came from different regions and were detained both before and after the declaration of the state of emergency were held at. They included women and children. The report also said there was an “infectious disease” outbreak in this center, but “it was brought under control.”

Oromia government’s reference of Fiche, a city in North Shewa Zone of Oromia region, is a repose to recent report from Journalist Elias Meseret who posted in his private social media pages that he has confirmed that apart from five detention facilities admitted by the State of Emergency Command Post “there are a large number of citizens who are detained under Sheger city administration as well as in some cities under Oromia region such as Fiche.” The journalist has also provided the location of the detention facility in Fiche in a subsequent post.

A similar report of denial was issued by the State of Emergency Command Post on Wednesday 13 September refuting reports of detention facilities in Oromia region. The Command post asserted and there were five detention facilities under its supervision where only 764 detainees are held in connection with the state of emergency. It named the locations as Kombolcha, Gonder, Bahir Dar, Shewa Robit and Awash Arba.

But the report EHRC further exposed the presence of additional detentions than were officially admitted by the State of Emergency Command Post. The Commission said that there are “widespread and arbitrary arrests by government security forces” especially in the Amhara region, Oromia region and Addis Abeba city and named Gonder, Lalibela, Mekaneselam, Kobo and Shewa Robit cities in Amhara region, as well as in Oromia region, especially in the newly formed Sheger city and the capital Addis Abeba where “arbitrary arrests” were made. AS

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