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Ethiopian Opposition Leader Bate Urgessa Killed and Abandoned Roadside

April 10, 2024
1 min read

By Kalkidan Yibeltal,BBC News,

Bate Urgessa, a prominent Ethiopian opposition leader, was killed and discovered on the roadside in Meki, his hometown in the Oromia region. The 41-year-old had been a vocal critic of the government and had faced imprisonment multiple times. According to his family, individuals resembling government security forces abducted him from his hotel room on Tuesday night, as reported by Addis Standard, a local news site.

Bate Urgessa was a senior official of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF)
Bate Urgessa was a senior official of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF)

The involvement of security forces was denied by the Oromia regional government, as Ethiopia has witnessed a rise in the targeted killings of political and cultural figures. Mr. Bate, a prominent member of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), was described by the OLF as an eloquent, brave, and selfless Oromo individual, whose “brutal murder” was strongly condemned.

“The unwarranted and extrajudicial killing of conscious and active Oromo political and cultural figures has been a systematic and irresponsible act of silencing the Oromo throughout years and decades,” the statement said.

His death has sparked outraged across social media, while human rights groups are demanding justice.

Chief commissioner of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) Daniel Bekele posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, that the federal authorities need “to hold perpetrators to account”.

Phone lines are cut off in the town but it is unclear if the killing of Mr Bate will trigger protests.

Mr Bate has been jailed several times in recent years, but has remained an advocate of non-violent dissent.

In February security forces accused him of “working to incite unrest.” He was arrested while being interviewed by French journalist Antoine Galindo and later released on bail.

Galindo was released after a week in jail and returned to Paris.

The OLF boycotted the last general election, in 2021, saying the political space was too narrow to operate.

At the time it accused the government of arresting several of its members, supporters and leaders.

The Oromo ethnic group is the largest in Ethiopia but some of its leaders say they have suffered discrimination from the country’s traditional elites.

The OLF used to be an armed group but laid down its weapons in 2018 after Abiy Ahmed, an ethnic Oromo, became prime minister.

However, the OLF has since become disillusioned with Mr Abiy.


  1. What has been worrying me most is the occurrences of similar tragic events and being used for political scores. They are usually followed by spats of blame game just to be lost in the process. There were similar killings and disappearances since 1974 and to this day on many of them what we are left with is ‘Who might have done it?’. The case of Artist Hachalu Hundessa is another one. My suspicion is he might have been killed by those who thought he was collaborating with the government. The blame game is still raging but the heart wrenching reality is these two young men have left behind agonized children who are now orphans for life crying rivers because daddy has not come home. As parents and grandparents, all my wife and I can do is be there in spirit to wipe their tears, comfort them and pray that The Almighty Our Creator to bless them with the strength to go on. Woe my beloved people, woe, woe, woe!!! This is just too much!!!

  2. I heard that some faceless scammers in our overseas communities have started fund raising campaigns in the name of helping the wife and children of this victim. Do not any money to such fraudulent accounts. I heard the family of this victim has set up an account solely for this purpose inside the country and that is where you should send your contributions. Such filthy scammers are the sign of the day in our communities so be apprehensive about them. Even if these scammers send any money from the contributions, it will be after they take a big cut to line their own pockets. These demons are driven by the notion that ‘I will make money even if you are dead!’

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