Shiferraw Insermu was initially arrested at home in Addis Ababa on 22 April 2004. He is currently held in the main Addis Ababa prison, known as Kerchiele, on suspicion of links with an Oromo separatist group.
A former colleague now living in exile said Insermu was detained along with other Oromo employees of ETV who have since been released. His arrest followed the broadcasting of a report about the use of violence by police to disperse an Oromo student demonstration on the Addis Ababa university campus on 4 January. The police arrested many demonstrators, especially members of the Macha Tulema social aid group who were protesting against the government’s decision to move Oromo regional bodies from Addis Ababa (called Finfinne by the Oromos) to Adama (also known as Nazret), 100 km east of the capital.
Oromo community organizations and Oromo state employees are often the targets of government repression on the accusation of being OLF spies.