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News: OLF calls for independent investigation into recent killing of EOTC priests

Zequala Monastery, which is located in the East Shewa Zone of the Oromia region (Photo: Social Media)

Addis Abeba – The Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) has released a statement calling for an “independent and neutral investigation” into the recent killing of four priests of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church (EOTC) at the Ziquala Abune Gabre Menfes Kidus Monastery in the Oromia Region.

This comes days after EOTC announced that the four priests were killed earlier this week during an attack on the monastery located in the East Shewa Zone of the Oromia region, 30 km southwest of Bishoftu city.

In a statement on 22 February, the church blamed “armed militants” who raided the monastery on, 20 February, and kidnapped the priests.

In its statement, the OLF said it “denounces all kinds of killings of innocent civilians, whoever perpetrates them,” and that “human rights abuses against civilians, public figures, religious leaders, women, men, young people, or the elderly” should be condemned.

The OLF added that while the government has responsibility for protecting citizens, “blame-shifting and scapegoating have been the daily duty of the government in the last five years but have not produced any propitious results for ordinary citizens.”

Regarding the EOTC, the OLF said the church “should review its role as a religious and moral authority in the country,” citing its “selective voicing” during recent conflicts.

The OLF statement reiterated calls for an independent investigation into the killings, saying the Oromia regional government and federal government “should stop shrouding such criminal acts through blame and scapegoating and open up their ranks and file for an independent investigation.”

It also called for cooperation from the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) in any such investigation. The OLF said it “firmly believes the church as a religious institution must take its hands out of politics and conflict between regimes in power and their adversaries.”

Last week, Oromia’s peace and security bureau said it was “tracking the perpetrators together with the regional police.”

Despite the blame, however, the bureau has requested locals cooperate with the security forces in apprehending the suspected perpetrators while pledging to keep the public informed of the results of “the law enforcement measures” against the armed group. AS

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