Home | News    Thursday 30 October 2014

Amnesty accuses Ethiopia of targeting Oromo ethnic group

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By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

October 29, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – A new report released on Tuesday by an international human rights group said Ethiopia has “ruthlessly targeted” the Oromo people, the country’s its largest ethnic group, which is suspected of having rebel links.

Amnesty International said thousands of Oromo people had been systematically subjected to unlawful killings, torture and enforced disappearance.

The report said at least 5,000 Oromos had been arrested between 2011 and 2014 for their “actual or suspected peaceful opposition to the government”.

“The Ethiopian government’s relentless crackdown on real or imagined dissent among the Oromo is sweeping in its scale and often shocking in its brutality,” said Amnesty International researcher Claire Beston.

Amnesty said that the majority of the Oromo people were targeted over their alleged support to the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), a group that is fighting for the self-determination of the Oromo people.

The Ethiopian government has long designated the group as a terrorist entity, along with Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) and Ginbot 7.

The report was compiled based on testimonies from 200 exiled Oromo people, including former detainees.

Former detainees told Amnesty that methods of torture included “beatings, electric shocks, mock execution, burning with heated metal or molten plastic and rape, including gang rape”.

Ethiopia’s government immediately dismissed the allegations contained in the report, saying they were unfounded and aimed to tarnish image of the country.

The Oromo account for nearly 35% of the country’s 94 million population.

(ST)

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