Tigrayan businessmen targeted in Illubabor zone

The following report concerns Illubabor (Illuababora) zone of Oromia. It was first published on my facebook and twitter account on Friday, October 28, and on Saturday, October 29, 2017 (today).

For the sake of time, I have copied and published both posts here with some editings.

Local mob and police are searching and arresting Tigrayan business people in Illubabur zone, Oromia, according to information received from local people.

In Metu city, two hotels owned by Tigrayans were searched on Thursday, very early in the morning, by a local mob accompanied by Oromia police officers.

The mob and the officers claimed to have found Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) flags, pamphlets and bombs in the two hotels and detained 15 people.

Map - Mettu city, Oromia, Ethiopia
Map – Mettu city, Oromia, Ethiopia

According to my sources, only Tigrayan individuals present in the area were detained, while other workers and guests of the hotels were skipped.

The detained Tigrayans are owners of the hotels, their families and friends and they have long lived in the city.

Six of the detainees were in Metu prison, while nine were in the city police station on Friday.

In a similar dubious arrest, three Tigrayans are arrested in Horumu, Illubabor, on charges of not having business licenses. The individuals are street vendors (selling lamps, chargers, etc) on the streets of small towns in the area.

Similar selective searches on the workplaces and homes of Tigrayan business people is ongoing in Sibo, wuka, Horumu and Yayu areas of Illubabor zone.

Tigrayan residents are concerned the ethnically selective search could be used for extortion and planting evidences.

The regional tv have been routinely blaming non-Oromo residents for the unrest in the region in the past three weeks.

Follow up report on Metu city (Saturday, Oct. 29 (today):

Yesterday, I had reported about 15 Tigrayans arrested in Metu on trumped up charges.

Today (Saturday), around noon, Oromia police quitely released 9 of the arrested Tigrayans, including Hailekiros Gebru.

Hailekiros Gebru is the man whose ID card, along pistol guns, was posted on facebook by the zonal communication office and affilated activists on Thursday.

After an hour of his release, Oromia police arrested Hailekiros Gebru again claiming: “his photo is circulated on facebook, therefore his life would be at risk”. Apparently, “protective custody”.

The following people are still in Metu prison:

1) Kiros gebru (Owner of Ruhama hotel)

2) Desta Berhane (Owner of Mulu desta hotel and agent of Bedelle beer)

3) Mengistu Kidanu

4) Haftom Gebreselasie

5) Biniam Hailay

6) Kidus Gebremeskel

The following person is in Metu city police station:

Hailekiros Gebru (protective custody?)

The following three petty traders/street vendors are still in prison after being arrested in Horumu for not having business license.

1) Yohannes Girmay

2) Berhane Hailay

3) Gebretsadik Gebrehiwot

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Note: This report is about Illubabor (Illuababora) zone. I will report about Bedelle zone as soon as possible.

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Daniel Berhane

Daniel Berhane