Eyewitness accounts say 300 people were killed by Ethiopian security forces, who fired live ammunitions into a crowd attending the Ireecha, a religious and cultural celebration in the Bishoftu town in Ethiopia’s Oromia region October 2.
Freedom House, a watchdog organisation concerned about human rights abuses and democratic change around the world, has called for an independent investigations into the killings.
“The deaths in Bishoftu occurred because security forces fired tear gas and live ammunition at a crowd of over a million people celebrating a religious occasion,” said Vukasin Petrovic, director for Africa programs. “The government of Ethiopia should allow a truly independent body to investigate the tragedy at Bishoftu as well as security forces’ well-documented record of using excessive force against peaceful gatherings.”
Irreecha is an annual holiday for giving thanks, celebrated by the Oromo people, Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group. While firm numbers remain unavailable, eyewitnesses say that the total number of deaths on October 2 may exceed 300.
Ethiopia is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2016, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2016, and Not Free inFreedom on the Net 2015.