News: Up-and-coming Oromo singer goes missing from police custody, family accuses Oromia region police of extrajudicial killing


His song, Ha Birmannuuf Kaanee, carry a message that call on the Oromo people to rise up fight against oppression. Screenshot

Addis Abeba – Oromo singer Damiso Mosissa has gone missing after spending more than a year in police custody, a family member told Addis Standard, adding that his families were unofficially informed by a member of Oromia police that the singer was killed. They accuse Oromia security forces of extrajudicially killing him, the family member added.

Oromia police arrested Damiso on 06 June 2021, shortly after he attended the launching ceremony of his friend’s book in Nekemte city, in East Wollega Zone of the Oromia Regional State. Family members of the singer were unable to visit the detainee since his detention due to police’s refusal to disclose his whereabouts, according to the family member who spoke on conditions of anonymity.

“The information about the death of Damiso came from a member of the Oromia police who had contacted with his family. According to the information, Damiso was moved with another prisoner to a military camp located in Arjo Dhedhesa and then killed by members of the police three or four months ago,” the source said.

A friend and colleague of Damiso who also asked to remain anonymous told Addis Standard that the singer’s family have been desperately trying to locate him since he was arrested. “His parents have tried their best to search for their son. They repeatedly requested the Oromia police force. They even traveled to Addis Abeba in case he was transferred to another detention center. However, they couldn’t uncover any information about him,” he said.

His families are unable to recover Damiso’s body, even after they were informed about his death.

The police did not officially press charges against Damiso or explain the reason of his arrest. “We don’t know why he was arrested, and police did not accuse him of any crime explicitly,”his friend added.

Singer Damiso was a musician and poet who rose to fame with his music album called ‘Lafee dhugaaf cabe’ which can be roughly translated as ‘bones broken into pieces for the sake of truth’. His song, Ha Birmannuuf Kaanee, carry a message that call on the Oromo people to rise up fight against oppression. Addis Standard learned from friends and sources that following the release of his album, he had been receiving criticisms and threats from security forces.

The rebel group Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), referred by the government as “OLF/Shene”, said on 06 November 2022 that the group’s fighters broke into Kumsa Moroda, a museum turned-military camp and prison in Nekemte city, where Damiso was believed to have been detained at and set over 100 prisoners free on 06 November 2022, after which Damiso’s disappearance was noticed. AS


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