Ethiopian Journalists Flee as Others Tried for Terror
Ethiopia’s journalist community was abuzz Tuesday with word that “Abe Tokichaw” has become the latest government critic to flee the country. The pen name, which in the Oromo language means “Abe the one and only,” is the moniker of writer Abebe Tola, who gained notoriety for political satire that pokes fun at Ethiopia’s ruling party and Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.
His irreverent columns have appeared in two privately owned newspapers, Feteh (Justice) and the Awramba Times, both known for their anti-government editorial line.
Abebe was last seen by colleagues a few days ago at the trial of Awramba Times Deputy Editor Woubshet Taye, and Feteh columnist Reeyot Alemu, both of whom were arrested in July on terrorism-related charges. At the time, a government spokesman said the arrests had nothing to do with their professional activities.
Abebe is reported to have fled in the company of Tesfaye Degu, who writes a column for the opposition Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ) party newspaper.