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Ethiopia says Oromo leader detained for meeting terrorist group in Brussels

Ethiopian authorities have clarified that leading opposition figure and Chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), Dr Merera Gudina is in detention for flouting state of emergency rules.

The specific provision he is said to have flouted related to an alleged meeting with a terrorist group during his visit to Brussels. The authorities said investigations are currently underway to verify the allegation.

A statement published by the Embassy of Ethiopia in Belgium refuted the assertion that Dr Gudina was arrested for meeting members of the European Parliament (EP).

‘Despite his awareness of these provisions, Dr. Merera Gudina allegedly met and discussed with the leader of a group listed as terrorist in Brussels from 7-9 November 2016.

‘‘Hence, the arrest of Dr Merera Gudina is not related with the meeting in the European Parliament but the alleged discussion with the leader of a terrorist group. If this meeting is confirmed by the investigation, this would have to be considered as a clear and deliberate violation of the state of emergency,’‘ the statement read.

The EP last week officially wrote to the Ethiopian government seeking clarification on the arrest of Dr Gudina.

Ethiopian security forces arrested the academician and OFC leader shortly after his arrival in the capital Addis Ababa on December 1 from Belgium. Reports indicated that together with other Ethiopian activists and the Olympic athlete Feyisa Lelisa – he met with Members of the European Parliament on 9 November 2016.

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