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Top Ethiopian opposition figure shot dead

Bate Urgessa was a senior official of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF)

A top Ethiopian opposition figure has been shot dead and his body found on the side of a road in his hometown in Meki, in the troubled Oromia region.

Bate Urgessa, 41, was an outspoken critic of the government and had been jailed on several occasions.

Channel 1

Family members told local news site, Addis Standard, people who “looked like government security forces” took him from his hotel room on Tuesday night.

The Oromia regional government denied that security forces were involved.

In recent years Ethiopia has seen an increase in the killing of political and cultural figures.

Mr Bate was a senior official of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) – one of the biggest political parties in Ethiopia.

The OLF condemned the “brutal murder” of Mr Bate and said he was a “eloquent, brave and selfless Oromo soul”.

The OLF boycotted the last general election, in 2021, saying the political space was too narrow to operate.

At the time it accused the government of arresting several of its members, supporters and leaders.

The Oromo ethnic group is the largest in Ethiopia but some of its leaders say they have suffered discrimination from the country’s traditional elites.

The OLF used to be an armed group but laid down its weapons in 2018 after Abiy Ahmed, an ethnic Oromo, became prime minister.

However, the OLF has since become disillusioned with Mr Abiy.

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