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17 Children Killed by Authorities in Ethiopia Land Protests

Burial of Nasrudin Mohammed, a protester killed in December 2015. Photograph by Gadaa.com.
Burial of Nasrudin Mohammed, a protester killed in December 2015. Photograph by Gadaa.com.

(Global Voices) — Ethiopian authorities have killed at least 17 children and injured many more involved in peaceful land rights protests since December 2015.

Demonstrations over a plan to expand the capital into the ethnic region of Oromia began in Ethiopia in late November. Since then, there have been 140 confirmed deaths of protesters at the hands of government authorities. Of the 17 minors killed by authorities, most were between the ages of 12 and 17 years old. Citizen media reports also show that many more school children have been injured in the protest movement.
The protesters are speaking out against the so-called “Master Plan” to expand the capital city, Addis Ababa, into Oromia, fearing that the proposed development will result in direct persecution of the Oromo ethnic group, including mass evictions of Oromo farmers from their land. Oromo people, who represent the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia, have experienced systematic marginalization and persecution over the last quarter century. Some estimates put the number of Oromo political prisoners in Ethiopia at 20,000 as of March 2014. The country’s ruling elite, of the EPRDF party, are mostly from the Tigray (only 6% of Ethiopia’s 90 million population ) region, which is located in the northern part of the country.
In parallel with efforts of global organizations such as Human Rights Watch, local activists have worked to document and preserve evidence of these killings since early December. Last week, Ethiopian media scholar Endalk Chala and Oromo activist Abiy Atomssa published a map of confirmed deaths based on a crowdsourced data set comprised of reports from citizens, activists, social media, local media networks and VOA’s Amharic service.
Ethiopia: Deaths of Minors in Oromo Protests, December 2015 : minors killed december 2015

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Name Description Where When Remarks
Gutu Abara Dheressa 12th Grade Student at Chaliya High School Guliso, West Walaga) 12/2/2015
Dejene Serbessa 10th Grade Student at Bantu Secondary School Tole, South West Shawa) 12/3/2015
Miftah Juneydi Bushra High School Student Furda Town, Bedeno, East Hararge 12/5/2015
Murad [Murata] Abdi Ibrahim 9th Grade Student at Bate High School In front of Haromaya University 12/7/2015 Funeral on 8 Dec 15 in Kombolcha
Bekele Seifu 11th Grade Student Inchini, West Shawa 12/7/2015 Killed on spot
Bekele Seboka Hunde 12th Grade Student at Inchini Preparatory School Inchini, West Shawa 12/7/2015 Shot & wounded. Died before reaching Paulos Hospital
Banti Dhuguma Burqa Wanjo Secondary school Lalo Asabi district, West Walaga 12/10/2015
Alazar Kelbessa [Benti] Student Inango, West Walaga 12/10/2015
Lucha Gamachu 9th grade student at Burqa Wanjo Secondary School Inango, West Walaga 12/10/2015 https://www.facebook.com/Jawarmd/videos/10102047226079323/?theater
Gudata Bayissa Gobena 9th grade student Babichi, West Shawa 12/10/2015
Dereje Gadissa Taye 9th grade student Babichi, West Shawa 12/10/2015
Fikadu Girma 9th grade student Gedo, West Shawa 12/10/2015
Lamessa Fayera 12 years old student Ambo, West Shawa 12/12/2015
Ulfata Chimdi 4th grade student. Age 12 Ambo, West Shawa 12/12/2015
Tadasse Dhaba Jobir 8th grade student at Gixire Elementary school Abuna, Gindabarat, West Shawa 12/14/2015 wounded on 14 Dec 15. Funeral on 16 Dec 15
Name not yet identified Young age Awaday, East Hararge 12/15/2015
Name not yet identified Young age Awaday, East Hararge 12/15/2015
Damee Dabali 10th grade student Maqa-Najjo, West Walaga 12/15/2015 soldiers would not allow the public remove the body for several hours as they kept firing
Barihun Shibiru 8th grade student Ejaji, West Shawa 12/16/2015 Arrested and executed. Funeral date 17 Dec 15
Eshetu Fedessa Son of Sirne Gudata Chanka, Qellam, West Wallaga 12/17/2015 http://amharic.voanews.com/audio/3102692.html
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Eighth grader Barihun Shibiru of West Shawa was among a handful of minors who were arrested and executed once in official custody. Shibiru’s funeral was held on December 17.
Citizen videos have also helped document and confirm deaths of minors, including a video that shows students crowding around the body of Lucha Gamachu, a 9th grader at Burqa Wanjo Secondary School.

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