Fikadu Shumata, a young boy who has become the iconic symbol of the Oromo protests that is unfolding in Ethiopia since November fled to Egypt and he has arrived safely in Cairo.
Fikadu was born and grew up in Mandi,a town in Wollega province in Western Oromia around 700km from Addis Abeba, the capital city of Ethiopia. Since early November, students across the Oromia region of Ethiopia went out to the street to protest against the Addis Abeba and Oromia Special Zone Integrated Master Plan that will eventually evict more than two million Oromo farmers in the surrounding areas of Addis Abeba.
Students in Mendi also took to the street to be part of the protest that swept the country like a wild fire in a matter of a week and Fikadu was one of them. He was at the forefront of the peaceful protest stretching out his long hand above the heads of the students protesting with him. Anonymous person caught the picture of the students’ protest and shared it on the social media. Since then a photo of thousands of students protesting against the Master Plan with Fikadu Shumat’s hand forcefully raised high became the iconic symbol of the Oromo protests that is still taking places in Oromia.
The government security forces were looking for Fikadu after the picture his hand is seen raised high became viral on social media particularly on facebook. However, Fikadu managed to escape the brutal and inhuman acts of the security forces and fled to Egypt.
As he arrived in Egypt, he was welcomed by the Oromia Media Network (OMN)Team in Cairo. On OMN, he told reporters that he suffered a lot in Ethiopia as the the government security forces chased him accusing him of terrorism acts. He said that he would have been killed had the security captured him.
A picture that became a symbol of Oromo Protests: Fikadu holding his long hand high in the air protesting against the Master Plan: Photo Source: Social Media (Facebook)
The Ethiopian government security forces have been killing, maiming, torturing and jailing Oromo students, farmers and intellectuals who peacefully protested against the expansion the capital city. Activists say that so far more than 130 people have been killed by the brutal government forces. More than ten thousand people have been imprisoned and hundreds of Oromos beaten up and tortured mercilessly.