Ethiopia: Journalist shot dead in conflict-hit region of Tigray

TV journalist Dawit Kebede Araya was shot dead in his car on 20 January near his home in the conflict-hit region of Tigray located in northern Ethiopia. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) urges the government to conduct an independent investigation and bring the perpetrators of this heinous crime to justice.

Dawit Kebede Araya

Kebede, who worked for Tigray Television, the regional state media broadcaster, was killed at 8p.m. in an area known as Adi Hausi, located in Mekelle, Tigray’s capital city. He was killed along with his friend and private businessman Bereket Berhe.

The journalist had previously been detained on unknown charges by Ethiopian security forces on 17 January and released later that day. Kebede's colleagues and relatives have claimed that local security forces were involved in the murder, according to testimonies published by local and international media.

Kebede worked for Tigray TV before Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered military operations in the region in early November 2020, triggering a regional conflict that left thousands dead. It remains unclear if Kebede was still working for Tigray TV at the time of his death.

Despite the Ethiopian government's claim the conflict is over and life is returning to normal in Tigray, local residents have accused soldiers patrolling the streets of acting violently.

IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: “The IFJ is appalled by the cold-blood murder of our colleague and offers its deepest condolences to his family and friends. The Ethiopian government must now demonstrate it stands against impunity for crimes against journalists by ensuring all those involved in Kebede's killing face justice".

For more Information, please contact the IFJ - Africa Office

1st Floor, Maison de la Presse, 5 Rue X Corniche, Medina,

BP 64257, Dakar, Senegal

Tel: +221- 33 867 95 86/87; Fax: +221- 33 827 02