In what many are describing as a shocking loss, a prominent businessman, leader in the local Christian community and a well-known face in the humanitarian sector in the City of Wellega, Assefa Mekonnen was killed by unknown assailants on Tuesday.
The 43-year old was said to have been traveling with his son, Samuel Assefa, a grade 10 student, and another colleague, Mesganu Jembere, aged 25 of Nekemete, as they headed to Genji, when shots rang-out, killing all passengers on board. The father-son duo, were taking Mesganu to Genji since he was stranded in their city due to lack of transportation in light of measures taken to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
“We are in deep sadness and shock and there is nothing else to describe what had happened to our colleagues,” Pastor Megabi Hordofa, a friend, mentor and colleague with the Great Commission Ministry of Ethiopia, a Protestant group said. “His death is not explained clearly to us, we do not have a clear picture what motivated the attack. We are deeply hurt for the three people who died unexpectedly.”
The area was recently in the news, as the federal government abruptly ended the shutdown of internet and phone communications, to help slowdown the coronavirus pandemic. This happened after a two month shutdown was lifted and was heavily criticized by many, including Human Rights Watch.
Last year, the Mayor of Guliso, in the Western part of Wollega was executed at his home and while an investigation was launched at the time, there has been little information offered since then.
Barite Gudeta found out the death of her uncle and nephew on social media.
“I was absolutely shocked when I heard the news. We heard on social media. I was utterly heartbroken and we have little information what led to this tragedy,” she told The Reporter. “This is just horrible and the sad fact is, similar tragedies are now a fact of life for many. Many die and there is no one accountable. I have no idea how families are expected to find a closure.”
Assefa leaves behind a wife and a daughter.