‘The  Report of Amnesty International Did Not Include All the Killings’ — Jawar Mohammed

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On his Facebook post on Tuesday Jawar Mohammed said that the killings following the “assassination attempt” on himself should have been included in Amnesty International’s recent report. The human rights organization accused Ethiopian security forces of severe human rights violations last year in Oromia and Amhara regions.


However, the regional governments of Amhara and Oromia have called the report ‘a flaw’ and the Federal Attorney General said it will investigate the case.


Additionally, according to Jawar, the report of Amnesty International must have included the “killings of 400 people on 19 April 2019 in the” Benishangul Gumuz Region, and “the killings in Sidama Zone” during the protest for statehood last year.


Jawar Mohammed, a prominent politician and activist, mostly known for his leading role in the Oromo youth movement against the previous government. Together with other youth protests in Amhara and parts of the Southern region the movement finally forced sweeping reform in the ruling party.


One of the major reforms was appointing Abiy Ahmed as the Prime Minister of Ethiopia and the head of the ruling party.


The prime minister took no time to make significant moves , one of them was allowing exiled parties and politicians to come home. Most of them like Jawar were branded as terrorists by the ruling party.


On 5 August 2018, thousands of Ethiopians went to the streets of Addis Ababa for Jawar’s grand welcome. He was received by heroic fashion. Security guards kept watched him during his stay at a hotel. And later on as he was moved into his house in Addis Ababa the police surrounded his house for his protection.


But, things didn’t go smoothly for long between the current member of the opposition party Oromo Federalist Congress, Jawar and Abiy’s government.


On Oct. 6, 2019, during his speech to the parliament, the prime minister warned media owners who have no Ethiopian citizenship, that they are fanning violence in Ethiopia.  


Even though the prime minister mentioned no name, Jawar took the warning for himself, since he owns Oromo Media Network (OMN) and had no Ethiopian citizenship. He replied to the prime minister in a poetic social media post that he has returned to ‘live or die in Oromia.’


On that same day, Jawar made a Facebook post that his security detail is being removed and he is going to be attacked. And the following day a number of his supporters gathered around his house to protect him. According to a report from the government, the week-long violence in different areas of Oromia resulted in the killings of 86 people.

The federal police denied Jawar’s claim that the security forces arranged an attack against him. Hundreds of people had been arrested at the time with alleged participation in the violence.


Upon his return from Russia, Abiy went to different areas of the Oromia region to discuss the issue and cease-fire anger. Most of his trip was “successful” and managed to calm down the heat.


But, in the areas like Ambo, a town near Addis Ababa, the prime minister faced opposition from the mass that ‘they want Jawar over him.’ According to local reports, the demonstration at Ambo was so strong that the prime minister had to be airlifted out of there by helicopter.


“Supporters of the ruling party have been hurling insults over me for the brutal attacks and subsequent killings following  [Oct.6],” Jawar wrote on his Facebook page on Tuesday. In addition, he compared his accusation with blaming George Floyd, a black American man who was recently killed by police for the ‘unrest and destruction’ in the United States following his death.


“The Government Officials [blaming me] are angry because their plan failed that night. If they had cared for the killings they could have investigated the case and brought the responsible before the law, as they promised at the time” said Jawar.


In addition, Jawar mentioned the time he had met with prime minister Abiy as he was just returned from Russia.” [Abiy] told me that he had nothing to do with the situation and promised me to investigate the case and take measures on the officials that gave orders [to remove the security detail].” According to him, the premier doesn’t want to do that because the ” truth is scary” for him.


The government hasn’t yet reported who gave the order to the police officers that night. But later the police commissioner said that the police would no longer exclusively protect individual politicians. And officially removed Jawar’s security detail.


Accusations of human rights violations have become a headache for the  Nobel Peace Prize winner prime minister recently. Covid-19 seeking all the attention of the government, Abiy’s administration faced another challenge of curbing human rights violations all over the country.


Jawar insisted on forming a neutral commission that investigates multiple occasions that have cost the lives of citizens.