Horn of Africa This Week

Tesfahun Chemeda’s death mourned globally

Oromo community organization around the world remembered activist Tesfahun Chemeda, who died last month in Ethiopian prison while serving a life sentence. In appeal letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Oromo Studies Association president, Ibrahim Elemo wrote,

[We are] deeply saddened and alarmed by the death of Engineer Tesfahun Chemeda in Ethiopian gulag. The ordeal that finally led to such horrific death of Engineer Chemeda highlights the systematic persecution of the Oromo people in Ethiopia and beyond which OSA and its scholars have documented and published for the last 27 years.

The killing of Engineer Chemeda is the continuation of injustices that have been committed against the Oromo people for over a century in Ethiopia. OSA condemns the heinous crimes committed against Chameda’s life and the Oromo people with all possible strongest words. OSA would also like to call upon all Oromo people and organizations to make sure that the sufferings and life of Engineer Chemeda is not in vain, but for freedom and liberty of his people.

In a similar statement, Oromo Community Organization in Las Vegas issues a press statement condemning the killing of Chemeda and “unsympathetic” abuse of Oromo rights by Ethiopian officials. The statement added,

The sacrifice, up to his life, that Eng. Tasfahuun had paid for the sake of his people’s freedom has engraved the symbol of heroism in our hearts, and he will be remembered forever among the Oromo people. In addition to this, we consider the killings of Oromos at Kofale, Arsi, and other places for the cause of their religious freedom as injustice.

The Oromo Community in Netherlands underscored the circumstances that led to Chemeda’s death as follows,

Tesfahun suffered all and every inhuman and degrading treatment: he was handcuffed, blindfolded and coercively taken back to Ethiopia; was victimized by kangaroo court verdict; detained in Maikelwai – the center that frequently houses political prisoners and that is known for brutal abuse of detainees, including torturing during interrogations; was denied medical treatment; and held in solitary confinement for more than a year in darkness that resulted in sight problem until and up to his death.

The death of Tesfahun Chemeda Gurmessa in such a situation is a casebook of the current circumstances of the Oromo people. On the one hand, it casts a long shadow of historical injustices. On the other hand, it reveals the continuity of cruel slaughter of our people in contemporary time by the perpetrators of the day. Here, it suffices to recall the recent massacre in Asasa, Garba (Wallo) and Kofale under a blanket banner of the so-called terrorism.



About the author

Mohammed A

Mohammed Ademo is a freelance journalist based in Washington, DC. He's the founder and editor of, an independent news website about Ethiopia.

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