Amnesty calls Ethiopia to disband special police unit in Somali region

ESAT News (June 12, 2018)

Amnesty International issued a fresh call for the government of Ethiopia to immediately disband the Liyu Police unit in the Somali region of the country.

The call by Amnesty came in response to what it said “may amount to extrajudicial executions” of at least 14 people over the weekend by the Liyu police.

“The Liyu police unit must not be allowed to continue operating above the law, carrying out unlawful killings and destroying lives with impunity. This appalling loss of life must be investigated immediately and the killings brought to an end,” said Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

The rights watchdog said on 8 June the police unit attacked three localities in the Oromo region – Qobbo Bikka, Ulanula and Walensu – in Chinaksen district, Oromia, killing three people and wounding three others.

The statement from the watchdog says Liyu police officers returned the next day and continued their attack on the three localities and then attacked two more – Darbiga and Gololcha – killing seven people and wounding 17.

Amnesty said on 10 June the police attacked five more localities in the same district – Geellaa, Hosale, Usweyne, Tiiro and Marar – killing four people and wounding another four.

“Ethiopian authorities must immediately stop these unlawful killings by the Liyu police by disbanding the unit and taking urgent steps to ensure justice for the victims,” Joan Nyanyuki added.

In May the Liyu police attacked Chinaksen District, killing five farmers and burning down about 50 homes.

Attack by the Liyu police last year against the Oromos resulted in the death of hundreds and the displacement of over one million people.