Residents of West Oromia Denounce Shene Armed Group


Addis Ababa June 26/2019 Inhabitants of West Oromia took to the streets yesterday to condemn the armed group of Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) known as Shene. 
Among the thousands of people who took to the streets in West Wollega and Buno Bedele Zones of Oromia State to denounce the armed group OLF Shene operating in the area were Mezgebu Benti, Assefa Beyene, Tamrat Guteta and Jemal Abdu.

Youth participants of the demonstration called on the government to ensure rule of law by stopping the activities of OLF Shene group that kills and loots the people by falsely claiming to stand for Oromo people.

Residents of the two zones, among the areas that the group is operating, protested in Gimbi and Bedele towns to denounce the group.

Among the demonstrators, some said there are anti-development and anti-Oromo quarters are conspiring to reverse the freedom of the Oromo people which is secured after 150 years bitters struggle.

Mezgebu Benti  who joined the demonstration in the town of Gimbi to denounce the activities of the group said OLF Shene is undermining the safety and wellbeing of the people.

He condemned the group’s choice to continue the armed struggle in spite of the fact that the political landscape in the country has widened and peaceful struggle is open for all.

Mezgebu said the group that prefers armed struggle to democratic means is compromising the safety and wellbeing of the people.

He joined the protest as the Shene group in the area is responsible for intimidation and killing of local officials as well as suffering of residents.

He said any party that wishes to represent the Oromo people should seize the current opportunity and pursue peaceful and legal way instead of disturbing the people.

Mezgebu urged the government to ensure rule of law and expressed his readiness to play his role “I am ready to stand with the government to end the actions of Shene”.

Assefa Beyene, another demonstrator from West Wollega Zone, said life in the zone has become difficult due to security concerns. Farmers are not in a position to cultivate their lands and traders cannot sell their products.

According to Asefa, free movement and safety of the people is at a very critical stage, let alone engaging in day-to-day activity due to security challenges caused by the group.

“We strongly oppose Shene forces that are found in the jungle and undermining the safety of the people as they are not capable of representing any one,” he said.

Tamrat Geuteta, another demonstrator from the zone, agreed that the group has created a situation of fear and insecurity among residents.

Since local officials are being held hostage and attacked, it has been difficult for them to perform their day-to-day duties and residents are unable to access services.

“Since the armed group is not representing anyone, it is important to denounce it,” he said.

Jemal Abidu from the town of Bedele said armed struggle has no place in Ethiopia, where democratic space has widened and its people are working to deepen democratic culture.

He stated that OLF has joined the peaceful struggle and the group that tries to sustain armed struggle in the name of OLF has no recognition.

Similar demonstrations are being held in various parts of Oromia to denounce the group, which is accused of intimidating and killing officials and put safety and wellbeing of residents in danger.