News: Two civil servants, a teacher accused of financially supporting OLA, TPLF appear before court in Sidama region


Kanbata Kiwi, Tesfatsion Legesse and Mitiku Belayneh. Photo: Social Media

By Mhret G/kristos @Mercy23187135

Addis Ababa: Two civil servants and a teacher have been brought to a court in Sidama regional state for the second time on 12 October after being accused of financially supporting the armed group Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), commonly referred to as “OLF/Shene”, and the TPLF.

Both the OLA and the TPLF have been labelled as terrorist organizations by the parliament of Ethiopia.

The suspects, Kanbata Kiwi, an employee of Science and Technology Agency of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples (SNNP) region, Tesfatsion Legesse, an employee of Construction and Design Supervision Authority of the SNNP, and Mitiku Belayneh, a principal at Tabor Mekaneyesus school, were first brought to the court of law on 30 September, according to a family member and an informant who asked to remain anonymous for fear reprisal.

Police said it suspected the individuals of financially supporting the OLA and the TPLF, a party ruling the Tigray Regional state.

The police accuse the suspects of having 30 bank accounts opened under their name and police asked the regional court for 14 days to remand and investigate both, according to Addis Standard’s sources.

The first and second suspects on their part told the court that they were arrested without court order by individuals in civil clothes and been detained for six days at a place called Change in a police camp before they were brought to court. The third suspect also said he was detained at the camp for two days before he was brought to court.

All the three individuals have denied having links with OLA and TPLF and dismissed the police’s accusation of having 30 bank accounts under their name as fabrication. They asked to be released on bail.

Having said the six days detention of the two suspects illegal, the Hawassa City High court had allowed police to finalize its investigation within 10 days and adjourned their case until 10 October. However the accused have not been brought to court as a result of the unrest that occurred in Hawassa city following the collapse of a bridge that links two campuses of the Hawassa University.

The court allowed the police seven additional days to finalize its investigation and ruled for the suspects to remain in custody until the next hearing which is re-adjourned until 19 October. AS


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