“Wolahi, Wolahi…” swears 85 year old Totolamo village barley farmer and cattle herder Hajji Abdinur Shifa when a reporter asked him if he know any terrorist hiding in his village. His face looks like a paint of sorrow and grief. His wife affectionately called by the villagers, Adiyo, was too fragile to talk about the August 3 2013 blood bath that turned their agriculture and livestock rich village into an inferno.
“My son took three bullets and died a day later at Sashemene general hospital. The body that was weakening by fasting could not respond well to treatment and he succumbed to his wounds without saying goodbye. His killers (federal police commandos) did not allow us entry to the hospital. My son Abdulkarim is dead but he will live in my heart until I join him in paradise…,” the respected elder said wiping his tears with a piece of garment.
On that fateful day, 3 August 2013, Abdulkarim Abdinur Shifa, 39, was at Erob Gebeya mosque loading onto his van sacks of barley, corn, and potato donated by farmers to be distributed among the needy in the city of Sashemene for Eid celebration.
When he was about to leave, bullets started raining down and the scream of women and children filled the salubrious air of Totolamo. Tigre people Liberation Front gunmen in police uniform massacred eleven people including an elderly imam and an infant.
The tragedy touched every household from Totolamo to Kofele in southwest oromyya.
In the land famed for its sylvan beauty, despite the aroma of ripe corn, the stench of death still hangs in the air. The approach of the delightful month of September did not lift the gloom of the August blood bath. According to our sources from Sashemene general hospital, currently the death toll stands at sixteen- all Muslims and close relatives.
The Horn Times manage to obtain the names of 14 victims of the August 3 slaughter…
1. Adam Jamal
2. Lenco Jilcha
3. Habib Wabe
4. Gachano Tuse
5. Muhammad Debel Ouse
6. Jamal Arsho Arsi
7. Muhammad Eidao
8. Amman Buli
9. Muhamud Hassan
10. Rashid Burka
11. Abush Ebrahim
12. Mamush Ebrahim
13. Tuke Besso
14. Abdulkarim Abdinur Shifa
Furthermore, two hundred young men arrested on 3 August 2013 are still languishing in Kofele town police prison without any charges.