November 2013 – November 2014
Compiled by Daandii Qajeelaa | November 7, 2014
In memory of Oromo students who lost their lives during the November 2005 and April/May 2014 Oromo student movement known as Fincila Diddaa Gabrummaa (Revolt Against Subjugation).
In recent years an Oromo youth wing known as “the National Youth Movement for Freedom and Democracy (NYMFD)”, widely known among the Oromo as “Qeerroo Bilisummaa” or simply “Qeerroo”, has reinvigorated the struggle of the Oromo nation for freedom, democracy and justice. From the publications and public statements of the group, one can easily see a strong connection or affiliation of the group with the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). For example, the radio of OLF, Sagalee Bilisummaa Oromoo (SBO), routinely reports the movements of Qeerroo, and conversely, Qeerroos radio, Sagalee Qeerroo Bilisummaa, also routinely reports the military activities of the OLF army. However, the chairman of OLF, Mr. Daud Ibsa Ayana, was reluctant to disclose the apparent affiliation of his organization with Qeerroo in a recent interview he made with Oromia Media Network (OMN). Perhaps he refrained from doing so for obvious reasons.
While considered as the “youth wing” of the OLF, “Qeerroo” has been vibrant and visible than the OLF itself in just few years of its formation. To see the validity of this statement, it will be enough to look at the volume of information provided by Qeerroo website http://www.qeerroo.org, frequently updated each day, since the formation of the group in 2011. When an incident such as Oromo student protest, unlawful arrest of Oromo nationals, school dismissals related to student unrests, incidents of land grab and eviction of Oromo farmers, and so on occurs at any corner of Oromia, it is usually this youth group (its website and web-based radio) that reports first from every corner indicating that the group is well organized and widely spread not only in Oromia but also throughout the entire Ethiopia. For example, during the widespread Oromo student protests in spring 2014, it was only this group who managed to compile a list of 61 Oromo students killed 903 others languishing in several prisons in all corners of Oromia, East, West, North, and South. It is remarkable how a single youth group managed to compile all these names, not to consider all the details: school/university the student was attending, major subject the student was in, year (1st year, 2nd year, etc.), place of birth, and so on virtually from everywhere in the region. In many cases when Oromo students are killed by the regime, it is this youth group that makes the names and in some cases the pictures of the victims public. This has been happening continuously over the last four years. What is more remarkable is that the group managed to compile all these data under tight security machine of the regime and with almost no known financial or material support.
Inspired by the 2011 revolution of North Africa and the Middle East known as Arab Spring, this Oromo youth group Qeerroo Bilisummaa was formed in 2011. At first, very few people paid serious attention to it. Many believed it to be just another bluffing of desperate groups opposing the government from the Diaspora. But soon enough the group showed itself on the ground that it is for real. The movement of the group started showing itself mainly in universities and higher educational institutions in Oromia. A series of Oromo student protests broke out in several universities and colleges soon following the formation of the group.
On April 7, 2011, following the founding declaration of Qeerroo, Oromo students of Mizan Tepi University revolted. The government federal police fired live ammunition on the protesters in which 114 Oromo students were reported to have been wounded and hospitalized. 50 others have been abducted from their dormitories the next night and taken to unknown location. On April 12, 2011 Oromo students of Haromaya University staged a peaceful protest demanding the release of their classmates who have been abducted from their dormitories. Their protests however resulted in more arrests and more abductions. On April 15, 2011 Oromo students protested in Arba Minch University, SNNP regional state, which resulted in arrest of several students. On May 2, 2011 Oromo students of Jijjiga University, Ogaden regional state, protested. On May 15, 2011 Oromo students of Fiche Preparatory School, Northern Shoa, protested. May 19 – 21, 2011 Oromo students of Adama University protested. These are just few of the incidents of protests and the response of the government following the formation of Qeerroo in 2011.
Oromo student protests continued on and off, but non-stop throughout the years 2011-2014 in Oromia, apparently under the [underground] leadership of this youth group “Qeerroo Bilisummaa”. The government suppression also continued. The most wide spread and bloodiest of all the protests is the series of protests that occurred in the spring of 2014. At one time alone Qeerroo managed to compile the list of some 61 Oromo students that were killed in mainly Ambo, Gudar, and Robe (Bale zone), but the actual number of Oromo students that have been killed by the forces of the regime in the months of April and May, 2014 is probably several hundreds and those arrested are estimated in tens of thousands.
Source: Full document in PDF (44 pages)