– On May 11, a picture was posted on the Facebook page of the Dembi Dollo City Communications Office of a young man who was being interrogated by armed members of the Oromia Special Forces. The young man, Amanuel Wondimu, told his interrogators where he was born and where he came from. Another footage appeared on social media platforms as well as on YouTube where Amanuel was abused and shown while he was forced to shout, “I am a member of Abba Torbe. Don’t do what i did Learn from me “Amanuel was publicly executed shortly thereafter in what the city authorities called measures taken against a member of” Abba Torbe “, a homicide squad operating under the terrorist organization recently dubbed” Shene “by the government. Addis Standard received reports that after Amanuel’s murder, security forces harassed his family and mourners in his home to comfort them.
One of the mourners was at Amanuel’s his relative, who announced to Addis Standard that the family had been asked to take down the tent to take in the neighbors and relatives who came to comfort the family. Amanuel’s relative, who wants to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals, said: “Yesterday the mayor came with four members of the Oromia special police and threatened to burn the house down if the tent was not torn down.” He continued, “Later other security guards came in four patrol cars and took away mourners and family members.”
According to him, about 35 people who were released after hours in prison were taken to Dembi Dollo Police Station where their cell phones and ID cards were confiscated. “They have not spared the elderly, children and a person with mental illness. One of them is Keneni Wondimu, Amanuel’s six-year-old sister.” He continued, “The money that the mourners raised for the family was also taken.”
Another close relative of Amanuel, Ali (name changed for security reasons), confirmed the statement by saying, “Everyone who came to comfort the family was either beaten or arrested . “According to Ali, Amanuel’s father, Womdimu Kebede, is still behind bars alongside two other relatives. According to an earlier Facebook post on the same day of Amanuel’s public execution, city officials claimed he was a member of ‘Abba Torbe’ who was shot in the leg while trying to avoid capture after meeting a person named Gemechu Mengesha had / p>
Ali says, however, that Amanuel was never involved in politics. “He’s hardly home. He spends most of his time in church. The allegations against him are absurd. “Ali told Addis Standard that Amanuel’s parents were beaten the day he died. “The harassment continues even when we mourn.” He added, “There is a strong security presence around the house. We can’t even make phone calls because we fear they’ll hear us.”
The reactions of government officials on the matter, such as those of the head of the Kellem Zone security office, Tesema Wariyo, caused controversy. Tesema alleged that Amanuel was confirmed to be a criminal despite not being tried. The Ethiopian Commission on Human Rights (EHRC) condemned the incident, which it termed “demonstration and extrajudicial killing”, and called for an investigation and accountability.
For its part, the Oromia regional state stated that it was unaware of the incident in public, however, said: “Instructions are given to take action against bodies that kill people.” In an interview with BBC Afaan Oromo, head of the Oromia Communication Bureau, Getachew Balcha said: “Any kind of action should be taken at all times with those who kill.” He also accused the EHRC of defaming the Oromia regional government.
The repeated attempts by Addis Standard to contact both the head of the communications office for the Oromia region and the commander of the Oromia special forces were unsuccessful.