December 16, 2017

ODF Statement on the burning of Kilinto high security prision by Ethiopian regime

September 5, 2016

It is now three days since the unexplained fire gutted the high security prison at the outskirts of the capital, Addis Ababa, where high profile political prisoners, including prominent Oromo dissident Bekele Gerba, were detained following months of protests through the vast Oromia region, now joined by the Amhara region, the Ethiopian government has not updated families and relatives the status of their loved ones. The situation was already volatile, following the killings by the security forces of over 1000 protesters and the detention of tens of thousands in concentration camps across the country and the uncertainty surrounding the fate of these prisoners have ratcheted up the tension to the highest level. While the ordeal is most directly felt by the families and relatives of those whose fates are in limbo, the entire Ethiopian society is at knife’s edge.

While the government has not issued no official communication, local papers and social media are replete with numbers of casualties, mostly from gun fire from the security forces directed at prisoners engulfed by the fire.

Should the lives of these prominent leaders be in jeopardy, we are afraid that the entire country can explode. The government is already finding the protests from the Oromia and Amhara regions, both of which together are home to two-thirds of the country’s population of 100 million and the addition of such a calamity will spell an unmitigated disaster.

Consequently, we call on:

1. The Oromo and all people of Ethiopia to muster all courage, skills and resources to pay all the sacrifices needed to end, once and for all, a situation in which a ruling party kills, maims, and jails with impunity anyone exercising rights supposedly guaranteed by the country’s constitution in whose name the government is committing heinous crimes;

2. the Ethiopian government to immediately provide family access to their loved ones and issue official statement on the name and number of casualties;

3. The international community, including Ethiopia’s neighbors and the global community, to press the Ethiopian regime to allow an independent and international fact-finding commission to investigate the unfolding crisis in Ethiopia.

Freedom and Justice for all!
Oromo Democratic Front (ODF)

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