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Lemma replaces Oromia security chief

Lemma replaces Oromia security chief

Kemal Gelchu (Brig. Gen.), who was appointed as head of Oromia Security Administration Bureau a few months back, has been removed from his post for “unknown” reasons, The Reporter has learnt.

He received a letter signed by Lemma Megersa, President of the Oromia Regional State three days ago. Kemal told The Reporter that he no longer the head of the Bureau and said that he does not know the reason why he was being forced to leave his post.

It is to be recalled that Kemal, who has defected the Ethiopian National Defense Force in 2006 to join the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), returned to Ethiopia back July 5, 2018. He fled to Eritrea along with some 150 troops and then joined OLF which was based in Asmara. After joining the rebel group, he became one of the top military officials in the group until he was expelled from OLF in 2014 due to an internal rift within the party’s top leadership.

Later, he continued to work as the head of the United Front for Independent Oromia (UFIO).

“The removal from my post as the head of Oromia Security Administration was something which I was expecting,” Kemal told The Reporter in a telephone interview. “There have been disagreements between officials of Oromo Democratic Party (ODP), ruling party in Oromia, and myself,” he said.

“It was triggered by ODP’s unnecessary involvement in the regional government’s affairs, particularly security issues. Even if it was mine and my office’s responsibility to handle the security of the region, the politicians were interfering,” he said.

He, however, admits that ODP officials were also accusing him of using his position as the head of security to expand his party, which he says was unfounded.

“When I became the head of security, we all agreed to work together and not bring politics into it,” Kemal said.

Now, as the head of UFIO, he said he will fully commit himself to opening offices and expand the party across Oromia.

According to unconfirmed reports, Qana Yadeta, President of the Federal Police College, has replaced Kemal.

Attempts made by The Reporter to solicit comments from ODP and regional government officials were futile.