HUMAN rights groups fear the worst for hundreds of politicians, journalists and members of the public arrested during protests that followed the assassination of an outspoken Ethiopian musician.
The killing of Hachalu Hundesa on June 29 sparked the protests that left 177 dead and hundreds wounded.
Police arrested at least 5 000 people in the capital, Addis Ababa, and the restless Oromia region as the protests degenerated into inter-communal violence.
Many of those arrested have been held incommunicado, meaning they are not allowed to communicate with other people.
Those arrested include leading opposition politicians like Jawar Mohammed from Oromo Federalist Congress and leader of the Oromo Liberation Front, Eskinder Nega.
Some key officials from the latter party have not been heard of since their arrest on various deaths.
Families are worried about their loved ones being held in crowded, unsanitary conditions in places of detention amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s regional director, said Ethiopian authorities were causing great anguish to the families of those arrested by failing to divulge their whereabouts.
“They must immediately disclose where each detainee is being held, and either charge them with a recognizable crime or release them immediately,” Muchena said.
Hundesa (34), whose music inspired the Oromo group to resist alleged suppression, was shot dead in Addis Ababa.
Some churches, homes, schools and hotels, particularly those on non-Oromos were burned down.
The government shut down the internet to curb mobilization by protesters.