TPLF/EPRDF Defense Forces Brazenly Murdering Innocent People in Gambella in Broad Daylight

Press Release | April 18, 2012

Today, in Gambella, there is little to no accountability for TPLF/EPRDF Defense Forces who are committing rising numbers of human rights crimes against the people of the region. It used to be that murders, beatings and torture were carried out secretly in the bush or in therural areas, but now there is no security even in the middle of Gambella town for any but those carrying the guns. As these criminal acts against the unarmed civilians in Gambella are being so easily dismissed by authorities, it is increasingly clear they are actually being condoned or promoted by higher ranking officers and government officials—all the way up to Meles.

As of Saturday, April 7, 2012, Mr. Tedo Kul Oman, an eighteen-year-old 12th grader from Gambella High School, was shot and killed by an Ethiopian Defense troop, accompanied by six other soldiers. Reportedly, a business owner from town had notified military authorities that this young Anuak boy might be “a rebel from the bush” because he looked “suspicious.” According to local sources, the reporter’s only evidence was his opinion that the boy had “a bad attitude.”

In response, an attachment of seven soldiers went to a gathering where the boy’s family and friends were holding a traditional Anuak babynaming celebration. The TPLF/EPRDF Defense Forces called him away from the others to question him, asking for his identification. He refused, saying he had done nothing wrong, lived in Gambella and was in 12th grade at the local high school. He turned and started to walk back to the party when one of the soldiers shot him—execution style—in the back of the head and through his back. The young man died there in front of everyone.

Perhaps he should have given them his ID, but as we have reported previously, the anger and resentment over the land grabs and increasing harassment, arrests, threats and intimidation of local civilians by the TPLF/EPRDF troops runs high. This is especially true in the case of some of these young men who are often the chief targets of the troops.

Following his death, defense forces along with the local police, arrested his father Mr. Kul Oman, over fears he would retaliate when he heard of his son’s murder. His father is the head of the police commission in the Dimma district. What kind of country arrests the father of such a victim of injustice? Only after he was in jail did they tell him about the death of his son.

Mr. Tedo Kul Oman was going to graduate soon; but now, his hopes, dreams and plans for his future were buried forever, along with his young body. Instead of having the joy of celebrating his graduation; his family, friends and community are now grieving for him.

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