OLF Expresses its Grave Concern Regarding the so-called ‘Investigation’ into Jaal

Mekelle:  15 April 2024 (Tigray Herald)

Batte Urgessa’s Murder

OLF Statement

The loss of our beloved and iconic officer, Jaal Batte Urgessa, who has been peacefullystruggling against the unparalleled human rights abuses against his people, includingtorture, unlawful killings, disappearance, and mass arrest, has sent a clear message to ourpeople: the survival of the Oromo conscious and human right activistsin grave dangermore than ever before.

While mourning this loss, OLF is gravely concerned that there are several indications thatthe so-called investigation by the government lacks credibility from the get-go, as there area lot of pieces of evidence of impartiality, obliteration of pieces of evidence,misinformation and disinformation. OLF has credible information that:

  1. Jaal Batte Urgessa was taken away from his hotel room, Abebe Girazmach Pension,by government security2.

While dragging him out of the Hotel, the security men severely beat him, and he wasscreaming for orderly and dignified treatment in accordance with the law

  1. The Hotel watchman/guard who was witnessing the action was abducted/disappeared or killed to conceal any possible evidence
  2. The locals witnessed that the armed security men in military uniform mounted JaalBatte on a vehicle, drove to the dirt area, dragged him from the car, tied his arms onhis back and finally gunned him down with several bullet-shots. The locals, whobravely guarded Batte’s body over the night to spare from being eaten by the beast,were forcefully disappeared or killed.
  3. Groups or individuals who have a direct connection to the regional government andProsperity Party are mischievously working to link the killing to a family feud. Asreported to OLF by the concerned body regarding this case, the investigating teamof the Oromia Police Commission in Eastern Showa, Maqi town, established onApril 11, 2024, is conducting shameful activities that violate universal law, everydaypolitical ethics and Oromo safu and culture. It is highly inconceivable that a familymember would collaborate with security forces and indulge in tying a fellow familymember’s hand on his back, mount him on a vehicle, drive him to a distant area andwatch the security forces shoot him with 11 bullets. It is also evident to everyone
  4. that the town is under heavy security encampment and surveillance for any thirdparty to conduct the murder.
  5. The pattern and practice of murders over the last five years of peaceful political,cultural and human rights activists and the way the so-called ‘investigation’ into theircases was conducted and the lack of justice herewith testifies to the fact that there isno chance for any possible impartial and neutral investigation by the government.
  6. We thus reiterate that the so-called investigation into the murder of Jaal Battee Urgessa ismarred by a plethora of intentional distractions of evidence, misinformation anddisinformation campaigns right from the beginning. We call upon human rightsorganizations, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Ethiopian HumanRights Commission, UN and African Union bodies and the diplomatic communities forimpartial and nonpartisan investigation. The whole development and the behaviors of thegovernment security apparatus resemble the conditions that prevailed during the onset ofthe Red Terror of the Dergue regime.
  7. We also strongly advise the Oromo people to remain cautious, vigilant and resolute. Wecall upon every individual Oromo and Ethiopian citizentrace any movement of thesecurity who plan to hurt their leaders and their community members. OLF stronglybelieves and advises the citizens of Oromia that this inhumane act and injustice must becondemned. We strongly request the Oromo people living in Oromiya and everywhere inthe world to peacefully and legally stand against these injustices in all possible means.

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