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News: Calls for transport and market strike in Oromia hampers mobility, regional gov’t blames OLA

Nekemte city, East Wollega zone (Photo: AS Archive)

Addis Abeba – Parts of the Oromia regional state, Western Oromia in particular, have seen restrictions on transportation activities as a result of transport and market strikes that was declared on Sunday evening for the second round.

A resident of Shambu town in Horro Guduru Wollega zone, who did not want to be named for safety reasons, told Addis Standard that “there is limited transportation and business activities” in the town since yesterday.

“There is not much vehicular movement or that of people in Shambu town. Many institutions including banks were shut yesterday, and government officials were seen going around the city and taking measures against closed businesses,” he said.

Transportation and commercial activities were also suspended in Nekemte city, in the East Wollega zone. A resident preferring anonymity told Addis Standard, that “transportation, businesses and offices were shut on Monday.” Following stern warning from the authorities, three-wheeled Bajajs started moving today, offices are also opening,” he added.

Addis Standard learned from residents of Ambo, in the West Shoa zone that vehicular movements passing through the city to Western Oromia have been significantly impacted. 

A truck driver who travels between the capital Addis Abeba and Western Oromia corroborated this fact stating that his scheduled trip to Western Oromia has been put on hold due to the ban. “Vehicles are not traveling, so I suspended my travel,” he told Addis Standard.

In other parts of Oromia, the call for transportation and market strike has had minimal effect. A resident of Meki town in the East Shoa zone, who also asked not to be named, said transport activities have been “limited” since yesterday.

Social media reports suggest the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) is behind the transportation and market ban, with its militants reportedly taking measures against those defying the call, but the armed group did not make the calls at least publicly. 

In a statement issued on Monday, the Oromia Administration and Security Bureau also implicated the armed group saying that “Shane” orchestrated the ban. The bureau said despites attempts to disrupt “development activities by launching propaganda on social media” in parts of the region, the people have continued their activities.

Attempts by Addis Standard to acquire comment from the OLA spokesperson were unsuccessful. AS

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