FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 06, 2016
Irreecha Massacre on Bloody Sunday
On Sunday October 2, 2016, the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) controlled regime committed one of the worst massacres in a day even by its deplorable standards. The victims are mainly Oromo Ethiopians who went to Bishoftu, 29 miles outside of Addis Ababa, to celebrate the annual Thanksgiving holiday of the Oromo people known as Irreecha. Recovering and counting the dead and disappeared is not completed yet. But, according to reports from the Oromo National Congress, so far 678 are confirmed dead and thousands injured and unaccounted for.
Ethiopia Advocacy Network (EAN) strongly condemns this act of brutality against civilians including children and women. We send our deep felt sympathy to the families who lost loved ones by the brutal security forces of a despised regime.
Eyewitness accounts, audio and video evidence indicate that the violence was planned by a regime determined to inflict maximum casualty. First, to hide the carnage from the world, it warned foreigners against attending this hugely important cultural and religious event. Second, knowing that there were over 2,000,000 people, angry with its misrule, in a narrow space surrounded by a lake, deep ditches and hills, it sent gunship helicopters, tanks, armored vehicles and heavily armed soldiers to intimidate the people. Third, most of the special security forces it sent do not even speak the local language and hence unable to communicate effectively. Fourth, it sent the soldiers with powerful rifles, grenades, and toxic tear gas. Finally, it stopped people from rescuing each other by physically blocking them from helping each other.
EAN believes that the responsibility for the loss of life, injury, and disappearances fully and firmly sits at the door of the TPLF led brutal minority regime.
We stand with the people of Ethiopia against the state-sponsored terrorism and as they pursue their historic struggle to reclaim and rebuild a more peaceful, inclusive, and secure country for all Ethiopians.
May God protect Ethiopia and its people!