News: US Senator calls for impartial Investigation into killing of Ethiopian opposition OLF political officer Bate Urgessa

U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (left) and the late Bate Urgessa

Addis Abeba – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has called for an impartial investigation into the recent killing of Bate Urgessa, a political officer with the opposition Oromo Liberation Front (OLF).

Bate was fatally shot on Tuesday night in his hometown, Meki, situated in the East Shewa zone of the Oromia region.

In a statement on Wednesday, Cardin expressed condolences to Bate’s family and urged Ethiopian authorities to allow an independent international body to thoroughly probe the circumstances surrounding his death.

“The killing of Bate Urgessa on Tuesday night was shocking and upsetting. I offer my deepest condolences to the family for their loss and urge Ethiopian authorities to allow a credible, neutral international body to conduct a thorough investigation into Bate’s death,” Cardin stated.

The senator criticized the Ethiopian government’s actions against political opposition figures, media personnel, and dissenting voices, stating these measures have contributed to insecurity and instability in the country.

“Extrajudicial killings, harassment, and political repression have, for far too long, been commonplace in Oromia. The Abiy regime has clamped down on political opposition, the media, and dissidents not only in Oromia but throughout Ethiopia, contributing to the country’s widespread insecurity and overall instability. It is past time for those responsible for the policy of repression and abuse to be exposed and held accountable for their actions,” Cardin added in his statement.

In a short statement released yesterday through the State Department’s Africa Bureau, the US government said it joined the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and others “in calling for a full investigation into the killing of Bate Urgessa.”

Late Wednesday, the Oromia region government released a statement condemning Bate Urgessa’s killing and rejecting any government responsibility for it.

The statement said Bate was killed by “unidentified assailants” in Meki town, and “whoever committed it, the act is totally unacceptable.”

It also accused “some political entities” of exploiting the situation to make up for their “political losses” by blaming the government for the killing.

In contrast, the armed group Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) alleged in a statement that Urgessa was “taken from his room by security forces during midnight hours and executed point-blank.” The OLA further accused government security forces of “preventing the recovery of his body and later inhibiting the conduct of further autopsies.”

Addis Standard reported that Bate was shot dead on Tuesday night, and his body was found dumped by the road early on Wednesday in Meki.

A family member told Addis Standard that a group of people who “looked like government security forces” took Bate out of his hotel room around midnight on Tuesday, and they discovered his body by the road the next morning.

The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) called for a prompt, impartial, and full investigation into the killing by both the Oromia region and federal authorities to hold perpetrators accountable.

The Opposition Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) condemned the “brutal murder” of its political officer, Bate Urgessa, saying it learned of the killing “with agony and grave sadness,” describing the late politician as an “eloquent, selfless, and brave Oromo soul.” AS

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