Irreecha Massacre: Hundreds of Oromo Festival Goers Feared Dead in Bishoftu

irreecha massacre Oromia
What was supposed to be an annual Oromo thanksgiving festival suddenly turn into a scene of horrific massacre that leaves hundreds of Oromo people dead and more wounded. R.I.P

By TesfaNews,

The annual Irreecha religious festival of the Oromo people that was held on Sunday in Bishoftu, 40 km south of the capital Addis Ababa, ends with tragedy after regime forces fired teargas and guns from ground and a military helicopter to disperse a protest, triggering a stampede, witnesses said.

Among the over million festival goers, crowds formed and start chanting “we need freedom” slogans with their arms crossed above their heads. That triggers security forces to fire teargas and warning shots resulting to the death of hundreds just like that.

Social activists and Director of the Oromo Media Network, Jawar Mohammed citing police sources, said besides the 120 confirmed deaths inside Bishoftu hospital, another 175 dead bodies have been loaded and taken to Addis Ababa.

Hundreds feared dead in Bishoftu Massacre

(OPride) – At least 250 feared dead in Bishoftu, Ethiopia, after police used tear gas and opened fire on people gathered to mark Irreechaa, the Oromo thanksgiving festival, according to activists and eyewitness reports. The Irreechaa holiday at Hora Arsadi, the crater lake near the site of Sunday’s massacre, is considered the biggest cultural and spiritual celebration in Africa.

On this day, October 2, which will be entered into history books as the Irreechaa Massacre, the sacred grounds of Arsadi were littered with dead bodies, according to reports. The mass arrests began a day early. Tensions run high all day as military helicopters flew above the crowd at lower altitude, in what was seen as an effort to intimidate the gathering crowd. At the city entrances, security checkpoints stretched for hours as festival goers arrived from across Oromia. But despite the heavy security presence, Irreechaa goers still expected to partake in a peaceful celebration of the arrival of Birraa, as the holiday marks a seasonal change from dark and rainy winter months to a bountiful Spring.

But chaos, confusion and stampede broke out in the early afternoon when the youth booed the newly elected chairman of the ruling Oromo People’s Democratic Organization, OPDO, off the stage. The protests began as soon as the crowd filed into the malka, the river bank, close to the stage where politicians hoped to make political statements – statements that are often unheard and unheeded even on a “normal” year. It’s clear that the youth were ready to make a statement of their own to the local officialdom – in an unusual in your face type of way. But their protests were peaceful. They crossed arms, forming an X, popularized by Oromo marathon runner Feyisa Lilesa, to say no to the killings, beatings and arrests. It is an incident like no other. A turning point for the 11-month old Oromo protests, a popular uprising against the Oromo people’s continued social, economic and political marginalization by the central government in Ethiopia.

Irreechaa has emerged at the most important event among the Oromo. It is officially a celebration of the bountiful harvest of Birra but a celebration of Oromummaa itself. It is the most unifying event for the Oromo, who constitute at least half of Ethiopia’s 100 million people.

This wasn’t an ordinary year for Oromo and for Ethiopians as a whole. More than 1,000 people have been killed, mostly in Oromia, but also in the Amhara state in the last 11 months.

78 thoughts on “Irreecha Massacre: Hundreds of Oromo Festival Goers Feared Dead in Bishoftu

    1. The struggle to tople Woyane will never stop. Woyane believes to win the hearts and minds of Ethiopian people by gun. Deceiving itself ! The handful Woyane cannot win over 95 million Ethiopians. This is the start, the worst time, when Woyane run naked will come, it is not far away. The Ethiopian peoples, and specifically, the Oromo people died already, and the deads will never fear the death, because we are already swimming in the death-Ocean.

    2. It is time for the Ethiopians to save their country and people. Get up Ethiopians, especially those Ethiopians in Western countries, It time to head home save your people from the Weyane.

      The million dollar question is how could a handful Weyane drive 90.000,000 Ethiopians to hell. Ethiopians, there shall be no force to save your people but you; Instead you the Ethiopians wasting your time eating ‘KITFO’ in Ethiopian resteranurts in the Western cities, It is time head home to liberate your people and land from the scam of the human race, the handful Weyane.,

      Sorry to say it, but I am glad I am not an Ethiopia!

      1. Hidrom:
        That was I asked but TN did not like my question.
        The answer is simple:
        -Lack of organization, unity and hamot the Eritreans have had.
        But let me ask you this:
        Neti naten ghedifensi nay enda hamten!
        Why is ONE person doing what ever he wants to do in Eritrea despite that the Yikaalo achieved what no one in the world could have achieved..?
        -No Constitution or Rule of law/Unilateral decision to kill the Ratified Constitution, which we all Eritreans invested on.
        -No Private economy or Private Education
        -Prolonged and unpleasant National Service
        -Messy policy
        -Nonstop Exodus
        -Unilateral and solo decision on out Economy and Finance,etc–
        Flash backs:
        -Unilateral decision to ignore and to stop the National Reconciliation in 1991-93 by banning the ELF Leadership and rather,to chase and to kill the ELF Innocent cadres and officials in Ethiopia and the Sudan
        -Unilateral d
        ecision to drop off the UN offer for rehab of Post-Independent Eritrea(about $2 Billion)
        -Unilateral decision on Adi Murug Incident
        -Unilateral decision on sufferings of our people in the border(on their plight)
        -Unilateral decision on Baduma war
        -Unilateral decision to leave Aseb and withdraw from Zalambessa
        -Unilateral decision to jail,kidnap,kill..etc–on the ground of suspicion and paranoia.
        That is a $trillion question ….Isn’t it?
        All the above were made by ONE man alone without consulting the Cabinet, the Assembly, the Eritrean people, the Commanders,etc—
        Who has been responsible for all the above other than one man?

  1. A dictionary meaning of “Crimes against humanity” committed against the Oromo people of Ethiopia. If this is not enough to refer the TPLF minority regime to the Human Right Council and appoint a Special Rapporteur to Ethiopia to investigate the flagrant crimes committed against the Oromo people, I don’t know what is.

  2. By Zecharias Zelalem

    (OPride) – The colorful, cultural annual Ireechaa festivities, which attracts millions of people from across Ethiopia and around the world to the city of Bishoftu, some 40 kilometers south of the capital Addis Ababa, was the scene of a horrific massacre that has left hundreds of people dead and more wounded, according to witnesses and activists.

    Since the start of this year’s celebrations, openly public displays of support for the ongoing Oromo national movement have seen protests and marches leave their mark on the gathering. People chanted and sang resistance tunes as the fiercely anti regime sentiment that has gripped Oromo society throughout their nearly yearlong protest movement, could be felt throughout the city.

    Yesterday, a heightened police presence was reported amid fears that the gathering could be used by festival attendees to exercise public expressions of outrage for the Ethiopian government’s heavy handed methods of handling the protests that a Human Rights Watch report released in June said resulted in the deaths of over four hundred unarmed demonstrators.

    Today’s bloodshed appears to show that federal security forces haven’t reformed their approach in the wake of the report’s findings. At around noon, the Ireechaa procession was attacked by security forces, who reportedly fired lethal ammunition indiscriminately at thousands of festival goers.

    Activists also speak of an aerial bombardment, which included the firing of live ammunition and tear gas by hovering aircraft at panicked groups of people. Countless were killed by the bullets while the carnage triggered a stampede which locals say resulted in more deaths and injuries.

    Hours before the massacre occurred, internet and telephone services in Bishoftu and the surrounding areas were cut and remain so now. This has made the task of getting credible information increasingly risky and challenging. But the now swamped Bishoftu hospital, handling casualties beyond its capacity is reported 120 dead bodies so far. Activists say as many as 300 had died. The death toll will most probably rise as people are still being rushed from the scene of the massacre at the time of writing. Graphic images circulating social media show dozens of dead bodies laid out in a tent. Many of the dead were clad in celebratory Oromo attire, including Gadaa flag scarves.

    Despite the government in Ethiopia’s widespread condemnation by international rights groups for what they have consistently described as brutal tactics employed by state security forces to crackdown on public demonstrations, a statement from the Federal Government Communications office puts the blame for the massacre on “destabilizing agents,” further vowing to bring them to justice. The statement fails to give an estimate for the total number of people killed, nor did it address the fact that nearly all the deaths were from gunshot wounds. Nobody other than state security forces were known to be armed with any sort of weapon on the premises. Instead it highlighted the fact that a stampede was cause for numerous deaths, in what critics call an attempt by the government to sugar-coat the nature of the tragedy.


    The number of deaths will likely to increase as a demonstration have just erupted in Ambo and Awaday in reaction to the #IrreechaMassacre. Soldiers firing on protesters in both towns. #StopTPLF Now!

    1. Hi TN; I think TPLF thugs are emboldened and at the same time mistaken by the silence gap we have witnessed in couple of weeks. the relatively peaceful past weeks are due to the Ethiopian farmeres being busy attending their crops and the Ethiopian students being out of school. once the farmers are finished with their farms and the crops are in and the students are allowed to go back to school then here it goes the end of TPLF thugs.
      If TPLF are smart should have run while they can but of course they are too stupid.

  4. For how long is this going to go before someone says enough it is sad to see people are killed by there own government the same government that supposed protect them

  5. Few weeks ago, the Tigrayan version of Irreecha (i.e. Ashenda) festival was conducted all over Tigray very with out a single incident. Why not in Oromia and other parts of Ethiopia?

    ኢትዩጵያ ውስጥ በሰላም የሚከበረው አሸንዳ ብቻ ነው። ህዝባዊ ወይነ ሃርነት ትግራይ የሚመራው መንግስት በእሬቻ በዓል ላይ የፈፀመውን ግፍ አንረሳውም

  6. Few weeks ago, the Tigrayan version of Irreecha (i.e. Ashenda) festival was conducted all over Tigray with out a single incident. Why not that possible in Oromia and other parts of Ethiopia?

    ኢትዩጵያ ውስጥ በሰላም የሚከበረው አሸንዳ ብቻ ነው። ህዝባዊ ወይነ ሃርነት ትግራይ የሚመራው መንግስት በእሬቻ በዓል ላይ የፈፀመውን ግፍ አንረሳውም::

  7. ስርዓት ወያነ ህዝቢ ብምጭፍጫፍን ብምቕታል ዕድመ ስልጣኑ ከናውሕ ይሓስብ እንተልዩ ናይ ብሓቂ ጉጉይ ካብ ታሪኽ ዘይመሓር ሑሱር ጭፍራ ምዃኑ ጥራሕ እዩ ዘርኢ። ብደረጃ እቶም ዝቐትሎምን ዝኣስሮምን ዘሎ ህዝቢ ብዕጽፊ እዩ ጸላእቲ ዘፍሪ ዘሎ። ዕምሪ ስልጣኑ ድማ ብኡ መጠን ይሓጽር። ወያነ ጉድጓዱ እዩ ዘወሽጥ ዘሎ። ታሪኽ ሃይለስላሴን መንጉስቱን ክስዕቦ ድማ ናይ ግዜ ጥራሕ እዩ። እቲ ምንታይ ልዕሊ ሓይሊ ህዝቢ ዝሕይል ሓይሊ ስለ ዘየለ። ጉዕዞ ወያነ ካብ ትግራይ ናብ ትግራይ እንዳተቓረበ እዩ። እቲ ዓብዪ ሕቶ ዲ ሕ ሪ ኡ ኡ ኡ — ኸ አዩ፧

  8. Traitors Acting like oposition · Edit

    Where are the freedom fighters OLF, OPLF, TPDM, G7…& .. when their People killed by weyane? What Do this Organisation waiting for?

  9. Traitors Acting like oposition · Edit

    Where are the freedom fighters OLF, OPLF, TPDM, G7…& .. when their People killed by weyane? What Do this Organisation waiting for? …

  10. Oromo population exceeds well over 30 million. Still they are the most oppressed in Ethiopia. They are the best example that numbers doesn’t really mean nothing.

    Eritreans were only three million when they fight the oppressor Ethiopian regime. It took them of course 30 years but at the end, they earned their liberty, freedom and independence. They are now a force to reckon with in the region. No country in the region have gone with out receiving the taste of an Eritrean punch. Eritrea simply reduced them into a barking chaps that never dare to mess with them.

    The difference is obviously in the guts. Let the oromo people grow the guts. Until then Woyene will continue killing them at will and nothing different will happen. Oromo should start responding in proportionate terms. One Oromo life for two woyane soldier.

    1. Meaza:

      I can legitimately ?? your assertion claiming:”Eritreans were only three million when they fight the oppressor Ethiopian regime. It took them of course 30 years but at the end, they earned their liberty, freedom and independence”
      Liberating the land is NOT and CANNOT be equivalent to—–.

    2. This might be hard to swallow but majority of tge Oromo people are with EPRDF. Speaking of guts tho, why talk crap about the brave Oromo people when Wedi Afom and your likes never had the guts to step up and fight for badme? Guts huh? Leave that for Ethiopians.

      1. A typically Weyane reasoning! You do not disappoint! You are facing a really serious issue here. The US will not hesitate to drop you and your organization like a “HOT POTATO” when the time comes. They themselves will take you to the HAGUE for crimes against humanity and genocide to save their own skin. Meanwhile, be sure that they are quietly documenting everything you guys do. Learn from history. Do you recall Iran-Contra and many other scandalous conspiracies? The point is, where do you fit in all these crimes your organization commits?

      2. Is it what you dream !We are tired of your lies and the non sense bla bla you say every time .Even a newly born baby can say that you are a liar.We are not amazed by what always you say .You have mastered the art of lying and deception .We exactly know what is happening there you can’t tell us about the Oromos.We know about the atrocities committed by your ethnic junta woyane .

  11. Traitors Acting like oposition · Edit

    Crossing the hand over your head & waiting that UN or Obama will not stop killing innocent people. The Killer (weyane ) understand only one language “Bullet”

      1. ኣሌክ - Alec you · Edit

        Dear God!! What are the ppl of Oromia waiting for?!! They already getting massacred by woyane-tigray, why not gear-up and die for freedom instead of shouting/demonstrating.. Join OLF and other opposition group and take woyane-tigray down once and for all!! Or u will keep getting massacred by woyane-tigray!!

        1. Brother, the battle ground has shifted and I believe it’s those that are in the bushes that need to come out and join the people in ridding of woyane. Arm and to Arm! There is no X on AK.

  12. Most of the comments are by tesfa news himself. I have never seen a website that floods its own comment section. Tesfa news wierdo!

    1. Tesfa is mostly posting what others are saying about the situation. What can Tesfa do, when all the “human rights” prophets are silent? God bless, Tesfa.

    2. The purpose is to give as much information as possible to readers like you sourced from several trusted sources. That is why the comment section is alway rich in information and ideas that ready for instant sharing.

      1. The idea is not bad except the lion share of your resources is dedicated to issues of a neighboring country. At the end of the day, what is the profit? Is it to bring justice and democracy to Ethiopia?

        1. You need to be an “Eritrean” to understand why. Now stay focus on the matter or keep quiet. Do not divert the discussion. Thanks

  13. ኢትዮጵያዊ ኣብ ላንጊ-ላንጋ

    ተቓቒረ ኣብ መንጎ
    ኣብ ትብዓትን ፍርሕን
    ኣብ ሸፈጥን ጉርሕን

    እቲ ትብዓት ኣጆኻ ይብለኒ
    እቲ ፍርሒ ብርከይ ይሕዘኒ
    መፍትሕ ሃባ ኣምላኽ ሓግዘኒ

    እቲ ይደፍእ አቲ ይሓልከኒ
    ውሽጢ ከብደይ ፡ ሓቦጭቦጭ ኢሉኒ
    ተቓቒረ ትንፋስ ሓጺሩኒ

    ስርዓት ትግራይ ግዳዩ ገሩኒ

    ተሸጊረ ምኽሩኹም ሃቡኒ
    ፍርሒ : ትብዓት መኖም ይጠቕሙኒ፧

  14. You would think the likes of Jawar would join his idiots in Asmera with Birru Nega by now. According to this moron, gunship as well as military gears were sent for few holligans, we also killed over 300 people. If you really do the math, over 5000 were killed in a year. Only a coward would sit there and talk about it on his cute laptop, visit every TV studio’s to make a profit. The sad part, none of the media would give a damn in about two weeks, Obama would never listen to losers with no leadership skills or the locals in Addis would buy the hate speech. As we will clean them out one by one, run to Asmera whenever you get a chance.

    1. You killer devil, the time is not far away that the great Ethiopian peoples will wipe you out to your stoney home land. Don’t forget that your devil Woyane is standing on the quicksand. Its last tool to use is only its weapon which will never freighten the gallant lions.

    2. Your fellow Ethiopians just got killed in a broad daylight and you want to kill more of them? What’s wrong with you? At the very least I expected you to stay quite… but no, you came out to tell us you want to see more blood. You are one sick man/woman.

      1. Since when shabo supporters ever care about anything Ethiopian. Trust me, its better to cry for your own lost souls in Libya, we got Ethiopia covered.

      2. You would think Mr. Geldof would restore these illiterates humanity for he’s the one mainly credited with saving the lives of today’s killers from perishing in that 1980s starvation ….but alas, they can’t help it. Backstabbing is in their DNA, besides their low IQ, cruelty, and being a White’s man burden…..and this is how they repay humanity!!!

        God have Mercy on their Soul!

    3. Beautiful Asmara @ Addis Ababa · Edit

      Sentek, you must be one of the Mafia looters, when your time is over we will turn you to our brothers in Eriteria and they will finish your time ones and for good they difenetly do this with a lot of Joy and the days are not many.

    4. Don’t get nervous now, Keep it cool. I miss the day you lecturing and laughing about the good life you had back in Ethiopia. Your 11 percent growth and all a good old days good times. You are losing your coolness now. Stay focus. Yes you can do it poor wayane.

    5. keep on day dreaming tesentika terifka aleka nbaelka ,there will come time soon where you will be hiding under your bed .I know you exactly who you are and where you live so just wait for that moment .Keep on lying because the innocent people are dying is nothing for you,as long as you drive your car,eat kitfo and keep stealing.We are right after you .

  15. What I do not understand about the Oromos is that being more than 10-15x than that of the TPLF-led Tigreyans is that they are not anything to defend themselves X-crossing your hands is just a sign of weakness and meekness.
    Do it right-like the Eritrean way.
    50 yrs plus and counting and doing nothing other than being victims of successive oppressors.

    1. Come on now! Do not be judgmental. It is unfair to compare the Oromo case with that of Eritrea. We were lucky in many ways.Determination and guts are not enough. In the face of repeated failure in the military arena (for reasons some of which are obvious), this might be the only available form of struggle they have at the moment. Obviously, they have the guts! We need to acknowledge that we do not know all the given surrounding the issue.

      1. Actually Eritrean one was harder, the mengistu regime was very strong supported by first American then Russia etc and his army troops were united Ethiopians.

        Those Oromos you saw on the videos running away tells you the story, it shows how cowards the Oromos are, instead of running away they should’ve move forward, the TPLF police were not a lot and the Oromos had far numbers.

        1. I don’t know how you read into my comment. Of course our struggle was very hard. Just the comparison of our size with that of our enemy’s (1 to 20) is enough! However, if you consider the ruggedness of our territory and the access we had from the Sudan and from our own Red Sea for supplies, these are advantages by virtue of our geography. Also, the fact that the enemy was never given the opportunity to penetrate the Eritrean sense of identity because the fight for independence started before/almost as soon as annexation, make our case unique. By the way that was what Mengistu had in mind when he made the Red Star Campaign (several Werrarat)–mix Eritreans with Ethiopians by sending Eritreans to various parts of Ethiopia while bringing Ethiopians and mixing them among Eritreans! If you remember, Ethiopians never came to Eritrea except as soldiers or administrators! The only inhabitants of Eritrea were Eritreans. Everyone you saw in Eritrea was Eritrean unless they were wearing green and had arms with them! What you were seeing was the OCCUPATION FORCE!

          Is that so in Oromia? You will be surprised how many of those you consider Amhara are actually Oromos, or have Oromo ancestry. They are very mixed. In addition, their territories are found in the hinterland with Kenya and South Sudan as neighbors, just to name a couple of facts among other things. Do you see how extremely challenging it is to get supplies for armed struggle? And, leadership?

          I am only urging to hold judgment until one knows enough about the Oromos and at least most of the facts surrounding their struggle.

          1. I’m Somali I kno Oromos very well, their weakness isn’t about lack of weapons trust me but they have no vision that will ultimately determine their success, their own Oromo leaders are traitors and thieves.

            OLF is a failure, what Oromos need is new blood, new leaders, the cross hand bullshit needs to go, recruit the Oromos youths, attack the police and army kill them and take their guns, dnt let the enemy rest in your land, that’s how you win a war, you dnt need to have a friendly countries, I kno EPLF got help from Egypt, Sudan, Somalia and others but remember EPLF defeated Mengistu because they had a believe that’s their lives will be better under their control but Oromos are keep falling either Tigray or Amhara rule.

          2. You are entitled to your opinion, brother. There are points in which our opinions coincide. However, I think it is always important to take into account the uniqueness of the situations regarding the Oromos or any other people’s conditions. In any case they know their situation and I believe that they will succeed in having their rights respected one way or another

  16. What happen to the Eritrean independent project? It seems, and clearly what is concerning most Eritrean websites are more of Ethiopian issue than Eritrean. Eritreans are more interested in what happen in Ethiopia than their home country, and this is clearly manifested by the number of participants on Ethiopian issue than Eritrean.

    What kept some Eritrean’s sleepless at night? The answer is self-evident, Ethiopia and issues relating to Ethiopia. .

    What happen to that dream of creating an independent and prosperous Eritrea project? Thousands have given their life for that dream, and yet it seems this is no longer the goal of Eritreans. The goal is to create mayhem and destruction in Ethiopia than to create an advanced and prosperous Eritrea. Whats the end?

    1. Take it easy, welde. The fall of the weyane, even though terribly macabre, is a great movie no eritrean wants to miss.

  17. ኢሬቻን ለማክበር የተጓዙ ሰላማዊ ዜጎች ላይ የደረሰው እልቂት ከተሰማ አንስቶ መቂ፣ ዝዋይ እና ሻሸመኔ ከባድ ተቃውሞ ተቀስቅሷል። ከትላንት ምሽት አንስቶ መንገዶች በተደጋጋሚ እየተዘጉ ነው። ተሽከርካሪዎች እየተቃጠሉ ነው። ህዝብ ወደ ጎዳና ወጥቶ ቁጣውን በምሬት እየገለፀ ነው

  18. Oromo men as whole are cowards, their afraid of death, but dnt they kno death will still catch them? dead Oromo woman are lying in the streets and all the 40 million useless Oromo men can do is cross their hand.

    Anyway what is this BS hand X? TPLF are laughing their assess when they see these Oromos doing the hand cross, why can’t the Oromos men have dignity and the honor to fight the TPLF? Who are they waiting for to fight on their behalf?

    *Obama the kenyan is the ones who arming and funding the TPLF, he even give the right signal to TPLF when he arrived in Ethiopia after TPLF won 100% on the elections.

    * al shabab want to create an Islamic East African state so that’s not an option for the Oromos.

    * G7 terrorists are worse then al shabab since they want to bring back their rotten system of Amhara domination.

    The only thing left for the Oromo people is well everybody dies, so why not just go and fight the TPLF on your hand, I’m sure Oromos can defeat the TPLF if they truly believe their struggle, the TPLF probably has (American) the most powerful country on their side but Oromos have God.

  19. We the majority oromo, amhara and all other ethiopians only stand up and fight to destroy shabya very soon i.e the source of all evel thing happning in Ethiopia.

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