Ethiopian Haile Gebresilassie Demands Justice for Destroyed Hotels
The damage from the latest violence in Oromia towns of Ethiopia included the burning of two hotels belonging to the renowned athlete and multiple world records holder Haile Gebreselassie.
“I don’t know the exact value of the vanished property but it is estimated to cost nearly 300 million Birr, said Haile to BBC Amharic service whose hotel and resort were attacked by the recent violence in Shashemene and Ziway towns.”
Haile Resort, a hotel chain that caters to western tourists and local clientele were some of the many structures that were burned to the ground in attacks from Oromo youth commonly known as Qeerroo.
“We need justice and security from the government. We need affirmation from the government that similar attacks will not occur, said Haile who demanded the government to bring the attackers before justice and hold them accountable.
Properties belonging to non-Oromo ethnic groups were attacked and businesses vandalized, burned, and looted by organized mobs in Shashemene, Arsi Negele, Robe, Adaba, Asasa, Ziway, and other towns of Oromia region.
According to a police report, more than 200 people were killed in the protracted attacks following the death of a popular Oromo singer Hachalu Hundessa.
“Our three-star hotel in Shashemene has been totally burned down. We had worked hard to get it finished,” he recalled.
“Our resort in Ziway is also badly damaged. Only the structure is left. Its windows are smashed. The resort’s spa, gym, store, laundry, and kitchen are entirely damaged," Haile continued.
Commercial buildings, residential houses, hotels, schools, groceries, and many others were burned or looted during the three-day violence early this month.
“I doubt prospective investors will spend their resources in Oromia towns any more. As a nation, we are lost because factories, hotels, buildings, and businesses and flower farms were burned down.” Haile said
According to the renowned athlete, members of security forces in the town were reluctant to stop the attack until the national defense forces arrived.
Witnesses, on condition of anonymity, told ezega.com that businesses and properties owned by Guraghes and Amharas were targeted and burned and vandalized.
“We have to rebuild the hotel in Shashemene and start from the basement if we want to return back to business. The resort in Ziway can be renovated to resume service in about a year,” Haile added.
According to Haile, 400 employees who were serving in his two hotels are now out of work. They also face difficulties hiring builders in the town as almost all hotels were burned down.
Commercial buildings located in the center of Shashemene city, including Tsegaye Building, Mara Building, Lucy Education Center, a private school that serves from kindergarten through high school, a number of accommodations, including Abay Hotel and Wehabe Hotel, Meridian Cafe and shopping centers, and many residential houses were heavily attacked.
“The attack came at a time of high unemployment rate in the country with many youth looking for jobs, he said.
The regional government is expected to lose millions of birr it is supposed to collect through taxes due to the damage of the hotels and business establishments.
posted Wednesday July 29th