Grave Concern for the Safety of Mr Daud Ibsa, Chairman of the OLF

Grave Concern for the Safety of Mr Daud Ibsa, Chairman of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF)

  • James Duddridge MP, Government of UK
    Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Minister for Africa
  • The Rt Hon Dominic Raab MP, Government of UK
    Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs
    Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office
  • António Guterres, UN General Secretary
  • EU- office
  • Felix-Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo,
    President of African Union

Advocacy Dawud IbsaWe are writing this letter out of our grave concern for the safety of Mr Daud Ibsa, the Chairman of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), and his family who is under PM Abiy’s armed forces barricade and to request you to pressure on the Abiy government to ensure his safety.

Mr Daud Ibsa is the chairman of the Oromo Liberation Front – a legally registered major political opposition party in Ethiopia representing more than 50 million Oromos of 110 million of the total population in the country.

Mr Daud Ibsa has been under house arrest for the last one year in his residence in Addis Ababa at times with all his communications cut off and constantly under surveillance, for no crime.  On the night of May 3, 2021 at 9PM local time in Addis Ababa, Mr Abiy Ahmed ordered his military to raid his residence without any court order.  It is puzzling to us why they needed to raid his house in the mid night while he is under their constant surveillance.

As they arrived at the premise, the security forces disconnected electricity in the area and forcefully broke the entrance of the compound and entered the house violently; they beat his guests including his guards and family members; and confiscated their personal belongings, including computer, mobile and clothes. Mr Daud’s personal belongings including computer, mobile and clothes were looted by the security forces. They have broken and destroyed house furniture and cut all sorts of communications from his residence.

The area was blocked with heavily armed military vehicles and shoots were fired to people approaching the area.  The security forces also beaten Mr Daud’s security guards are badly injured and eventually removed from the premise. Since last night, Mr Daud is without security guards, and with a broken door exposing him to high security risk .

We have ample evidence that this intimidation and harassment is happening as Mr Feltman, Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa is about to visit the region and in the aftermath of the EU’s rejection of PM Abiy’s sham election and the OLF call for national dialogue. PM Abiy has been intentionally blocking Mr Daud from meeting with journalists, diplomats and his supporters, and sister political organizations in the country and from taking part in any efforts to resolve the alarming crises engulfing the country.

We are gravely concerned for the live of Mr Daud and his family and the possibility of such reckless and desperate actions may result in an unintended consequence during this volatility of the country.

A similar incident on a popular activist Jawar Mohammed in October 2019, resulted in the death of more than 100 Ethiopians, mostly Oromos, and another political assassination of a popular Oromo singer and activist Hacaalu Hundessaa in June 2020 resulted in the death of more than 500 and detention of more than 50,000 Oromos in the hands of the security forces.  This is another blatant attempt by the ruling party to undermine democracy and restoring dictatorship by silencing the voices of the Oromo people which may well lead to serious consequences.

Therefore, we are pleading to the UK government, UNSC, EU, AU, and the international community, and all Humanitarian Organizations to demand the Abiy administration immediately stop harassing Mr Daud and his family and ensure their safety at this volatile time. Removing his protection at this critical time is intentionally putting his life in danger.

Thank you for taking immediate steps to secure the safety of Mr Daud Ibsa and his family and avoiding possible unintended consequences in a country of 110 million people on the edge of a full-scale civil war.

Justice shall prevail!

Gizaw Tasissa, Director
Advocacy for Justice for the Oromo People
(Tumsa Haqa Saba Oromo )
5 Caledonian Road, London N1 9DX

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