Reports of airstrike in West Oromia
By Lammii Beenyaa (*) - 16. January 16, 2019
Sources told me that Jaal Marroo, the Western Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) commander was targeted in the weekends by airstrike around Gidaami town of Qellem Wollega zone, Oromia.
Prior to the airstrike, on Sunday morning, a general from Ethiopian National Defence Forces (ENDF) called Jaal Marro (a.k.a Kumsa Diriba) via his cell phone and gave him two options: either to surrender peacefully or being killed.
Marro rejected the General’s demand. While they exchanged words, Marro’s area was tracked through GPS electronic tracker on the phone with a system implemented in Ethiopia by the current president during his former times working in the Ethiopian intelligence service. Sinc its implementation the system led to death or detention of thousands of Oromo freedom fighters.
Five minutes later, two helicopters flying above the forest started dropping bombs on the mountain. The bombings were the first ever seen in the area since the Dergue, probably after 28 years.
Hours after the attack, Addis Standard reported the airstrike citing its confidential source within the ENDF. General Mohammed Tessema of ENDF declined to comment about the strike when Addis Standard asked him.
Jawar Mohammed wrote on his facebook page about the airstrike saying that youths who were in the camps were become the victims. I later confirmed there was no camp hit by the bombings and even there was no training camps in that area.
VOA Afaan Oromoo interviewed local people from the affected area about the attack, on Monday. Addisu Qalbeessa from Gidami confirmed about the airstrike and he further told Naakor that infrastructure was damaged by the bombing.
Bloomberg reported, on Tuesday, about the airstrike interviewing the local peoples from Gidami. The locals confirmed about the bombings and told Bloomberg that people fleeing to the forest. But the spokesperson to Oromia government dismissed the claims as “propaganda.”
My assessment: The airstrike in Qellem Wollega, near Gidami town, was more than true. Military generals were reluctant to speak to the media and the local administrators didn’t proved or dismissed with adequate arguments or evidences. I recommend our mainstream medias to send journalists to prove or disprove the claims. Otherwise the politics of denial and propaganda will continue confusing our people.
As for me, let alone sending military helicopter to conduct airstrike, firing a single bullet at this time do not help. It will not benefit both our people and our struggle. Only political dialogue between OLF and the government will help insure sustainable peace and stability.
* edited for clarity and typo correction