Gambella Nilotes United Movement (Army) Press Release
Gambella Nilotes United Movement/Army
September 28th 2013, Gambella
“UNITE WE MUST!”
“WHERE UNITY PREVAILS SUCCESS PERVAILS”
“FREEDOM AND JUSTICE FOR ALL OPPRESSED ETHIOPIANS”
“THE TPLF/EPRDF GOVERNMENT MUST STOP, KILLING, DETENTION, AND INTIMIDATION OF MASS DEMONSTRATORS AND THE MUSLIM PROTESTORS IN ETHIOPIA”
The Gambella Nilotes United Movement/Army (GNUM/A) strongly condemns the killings, detention, harassment and intimidation acts as being carried out by the TPLF/EPRDF government against the mass demonstrators including Muslim protestors in Ethiopia. The demonstrators are simply demanding from the government, among others, the respect to the constitution, the exercise of rule of law, and the release of the political prisoners including the Muslim leaders held in detention in many parts of the country. These peaceful demonstrations are the indicators towards the beginning of popular democratization process anticipated to relief the long entrenched historical injustices in the country.
However, as the demonstrators were exercising their rights through peaceful means, surprisingly they were met with unprecedented killings, imprisonment, harassment and some were even forced to exile. This clearly demonstrates that the TPLF/EPRDF government is not yet prepared to admit its flaws, and begins responding to the demand made by the majority Ethiopians who feel oppressed in the system of the minority rule from the north as represented by the TPLF.
Obviously, the TPLF/EPRDF government is contradicting its own constitution for the benefit of its minority people it represents. Freedom of religion, belief and opinion as enshrined in the constitution are constitutional rights of the Ethiopians. The Muslim protestors demands this religious right as demonstrated in Afar, Ogaden, Oromia, and other parts of the country. The TPLF government has no constitutional rights to commit atrocities against demonstrators in killings, intimidation, imprisonment, and forced others to live in exile.
Ironically, these mass demonstrations throughout the country must be known as signs to converge all the oppression parties inside and outside the country to unite and join hands together to fight the repressive TPLF/EPRDF regime for their freedom. It is clear that the TPLF/EPRDF government seized its power through militancy, not through peaceful means in which it repeatedly opposes, and tends to maintain this power over its subjects throughout the country at gun point not on ballots. It should be understood from the government stance point that peaceful means will never make any meaningful impact as an option to resolve the chronic historical injustices in Ethiopia. All opposition parties or the entire oppressed majority Ethiopians must join hands together to bring meaningful challenge to this dictator and corrupt regime, to an end.
GNUM/A would therefore, call upon all the oppressed groups including Oromos, Ogadenians, Sidamas, Beneshangul/Gumuz Nilotes, Afar, Gambella Nilotes, Southwestern Nilotic Omotic Nations, and all other oppressed Ethiopians everywhere in the country to work together to end this unpopular government.
It is our core belief as GNUM/A that “where unity prevails there will be always success.” GNUM/A as a political party established through convergent of different Gambella political parties, maintains a symbol of unity for peoples of Gambella, and continue to extend this unity message to all Southwestern Nilotic Omotic peoples, and all the opposition parties inside and outside the country, to embrace the vision of unity for the emancipation of all the oppressed peoples of Ethiopia. We should know that the TPLF/EPRDF government plays divide and rule politics to maintain and prolong its power; and as unity will remain a core ingredient factor to prevail for all the opposition parties operating on different lines, it should be embraced by all the opposition parties to enhance solidarity and promote it.
Our freedom will only be achieved when all opposition political forces put aside their differences and join resources together to fight the oppressive regime, in order to bring meaningful challenge to the repressive TPLF/EPRDF government.
Currently the people of Gambella and all the Southwestern indigenous peoples understand that they are discriminated against their colours, race, cultures and traditions, and denied of their fundamental human rights to security, freedom, prosperity, and popular political representation in Ethiopian politics. Their common sufferings speak loudly to unity and solidarity. Being aware then of our common plights we have collectively agreed and joined hands together under the SENPIM vision as one political entity to fight our historical oppressors and injustices.
The Gambella Region
We are very aware that the TPLF/EPRDF government is vigorously and systematically exterminating the indigenous Nilotic communities of Southwest, in exchange to the Northerners’ direct and indirect settlements and empowerment in our ancestral lands. This act emanates from racist and colonial outlook of northerner historical rulers who have dominated the system and maintained it through manipulation of central leaderships. As the indigenous communities, we are denied of our citizenship rights and freedom in the country beyond any measure. As the TPLF/EPRDF government continue to commit crimes against our peoples, we continue to stand against the government’s criminal acts to ensure true freedom is brought to our peoples to decide for their own destiny freely.
According to our current intelligent service, our peoples are in precarious conditions and the situation has never improved as the TPLF/EPRDF government is currently conspiring on inciting animosity to create ethnic conflicts in Gambella to extinct Anyuaks, Majengers, and others; by allowing illicit armed rival groups inside the towns, villages and refugee camps in the region. The proliferation of unknown armed people from South Sudan is the new device and plan of the Ethiopian government to conspire on inciting ethnic conflict in the region.
The Northern (Ethiopians) settlers in the Gambella region enjoy the federal government all privileges including security, political, economic, social and military empowerments as they jointly conspire on possible ethnic cleansing conflicts together with the increasing number of armed refugees from South Sudan, waiting for due time to launch attacks against the Anyuaks and Majengers. The Anyuaks and Majengers villagers and farmers are left vulnerable to unknown armed groups’ robbery and killings, without government protection. Currently, cattle raids, recurring killings and armed robbery are rampant in the Gambella region. The current attack launched against the Arieth villagers by unknown armed groups within Gog district is one of our concerns and threats to the villagers. The community land is still being leased to commercial investors, while the villagers are facing evictions in districts of Gog, Gambella, Abobo, Itang, Meti, Dimma, and other areas in the region.
We are well informed that currently the TPLF/EPRDF has recruited six sponsored delegates from the Gambella regional administration and sent them to South Sudan to persuade the Anuaks refugees, who fled the country for their safety, to repatriate back to Ethiopia to end up in prisons in Ethiopia, by giving unfounded cheap promises. These delegates apparently tried to enter to Gorom refugee camp in Juba, but only they failed due to strong leadership of the Anuaks refugee in the camp. The Gambella Nilotes United Movement/Army (GNUM/A) condemns this mission and is calling upon the refugee community leaderships elsewhere in the World to stand strong and unite as one, not allowing any puppet to destabilize the unity and the leadership. It should be known that any deal on behalf of the refugees should not take place in isolation to our political leadership.
GNUM/A would like to take this opportunity again to inform the people of Gambella and all the South-western Nilotic Omotic peoples that all those instruments and institutions set up as means of divisiveness and creation of conflicts against the interest of our indigenous people, should be stopped and abolished.
Lower Omo Valley of SNNPR
In the Lower Omo Valley of SNNPR the indigenous Nilotes and Omotic peoples are still facing serious human rights abuses and atrocities. From March through June/2013 many indigenous Nilotic Omotic tribes have endured indiscriminate killings and imprisonment by TPLF/EPRDF government soldiers. In particular, the Suri people endured the indiscriminate killings by the TPLF/EPRDF soldiers, in which more than 400 Suri’s children, women and men were killed in cold blood, in respond to the foreign commercial investors’ demand in the area, to expand their agricultural lands from the Suri farmers and villagers.
The construction of Gibe III has been carried out without free and informed consent of the pastoral Nilotes and Omotic tribes. The construction of the project is almost to be completed, in which more than eight indigenous tribes will lose their traditional lands. Moreover, the indigenous pastoral communities are forced to sell-out their cattle to keep up with very small number in the area which is against their traditions. The Mursi, Bodi, Nyangathom, etc, tribes are already in conflicts with the new comers in the area, as the large sugar plantation also is indirectly attracting more than 150,000 settlers from other areas (mainly from the North) with serious potential conflicts to occur in the area.
Similarly, the Dawro people of Southern Ethiopia are facing serious human rights abuses, as the impact of Gibe III Hydroelectric project has already created great damage to their livelihood. As most of Dawro territory is bounded by the Omo and its tributaries Gojeb and other rivers, the construction of Gibe III hydroelectric project has damaged most part of King Kalala heritage – the traditional stone walls (of 175miles long) which was constructed thousand years ago. The King Kalala stone walls provide social identity and belief to Dawro people, and the construction of this huge project was carried out without proper pre-consultation with the community, it has denied the tribe a history, future and culture as most parts of the traditional stone walls will be submerged by the reservoir with no compensation.
Besides, part of Dawro land is forcefully settled by other neighbouring tribes who vigorously push their way into Dawro territory, through the federal government induced supports in which the Prime Minister Hailemariam is allegedly found to be the key player in this illicit settlement process. Ethnic conflict is already underway between the Dawro community and the illegal settlers.
The situation is worsening as many Dawro youths who completed 10th grade from the schools are currently facing serious unemployment; and they are demanding agricultural lands as the only option to provide them self-employment. The federal government respond has not been encouraging while the illegal settlement in the area is increasingly creating ethnic animosity among the tribes. Frustration and anxiety are increasing among the Dawro youths, and some resorted to take their life by burning themselves alive in protest against the crimes committed by the federal government. The dissidents are facing serious insecurity, imprisonment, harassment, beating, and some are forced to live in exile. The students have boycotted their normal schools in protest to the government.
The exploration of petroleum in the Nyanyathom area has confirmed the availability of petroleum in the area. It has been another factor of tension in the area as the government is vigorously going ahead with the project, and the surrounding communities have been told to be ready for resettlement at a distance of 100kms radius from the project site.
In Beneshagul/Gumuz the indigenous Nilotes are suffering atrocities in protest against the land grab and evictions in the region. The TPLF/EPRDF government responses have been very severe against the indigenous communities, in which the prisons in the region serve as concentration camps for the indigenous communities of Berta, Gumuz, komo, and Mao tribes, in order to enforce the Northerners settlement and domination in the region. Many of the indigenous dissidents and innocent elites have been killed and others are serving life and death sentences in various prisons in the country including Ziway prison where many of these prisoners have endured serious sufferings, and their families, relatives, and friends failed access to visit them.
Moreover, the construction of the Renaissance Dam along the Nile in the Gumuz land is underway with potential impact of displacement and other serious social hazards to the indigenous Nilotes. The proliferation of northerner’s settlers to Beneshangul/Gumuz region poses serious threat to the indigenous populations in the area.
Somalia (Ogaden) and Afar Region
The indigenous Ogadenians and Afar people are facing serious human right abuses and all kind of atrocities in the regions. Displacement and forced migration to prepare their land for commercial agriculture by the government are accompanied by serious threat, intimidation, killings, imprisonments, tortures and rapes.
The Eastern Oromyia farmers are suffering evictions from their lands by the government. Similarly, in Western Oromyia in area called Amfilo the government evicted Oromo farmers of more than 300 Oromo farmers and packed them in prisons to prepare the land for the Northern investors and settlers.
These are serious crimes against the indigenous communities of the Southwestern regions including the Oromo community, Ogadenians, Afars, and other oppressed citizens in the country in which GNUM/A condemns TPLF/EPRDF government’s crimes and cruelty acts against it citizens.
By and large, the atrocities and human rights violations committed by the TPLF/EPRDF government against the unprivileged majority citizens in Ethiopia are self explanatory. Indeed, the TPLF government is fully engaged in assuring absolute economic prosperity, security, and freedom to the minority Northerners at expenses of majority Ethiopians at any cost. This tells the Northern rulers including the TPLF leaders have their mind-set in plunder as demonstrated by their ancestors and monarchies who engaged themselves in building the nation on the slave economy and entrepreneurship. This has been summed up by the scholars as Abyssinian colonization and domination in which the non Abyssinians Ethiopians still suffer the legacy until today.
It should be known that Abyssinian colonization or domination is still being nurtured and maintained by the minority Northerners and their rulers in Ethiopia. Abyssinian colonization or domination is not just a history, but it is a torment too in the country to the subjects (non Abyssinians). It should be known that it is still alive, active and persistence to any attempt to bring true freedom, security, prosperity, and equal opportunities to all citizens. It persist principles of liberal democracy for the citizens to enjoy equal opportunities, rule of law, and respect to bill of rights in the Ethiopia.
Abyssinian colonization and domination should not be complicated with the hatred against the Northern tribes but as an evil and torment demonic spirit which must be completely stripped off over all the oppressed-majority-non-Abyssinian citizens to bring true equality in Ethiopia. How?
Ethiopia needs fundamental change to exercise genuine liberal democratic principles to bring meaningful freedom and justice to every citizen. This can only be achieved when each tribe and all the oppressed citizens vigorously fight to achieve their own-freedom-first, before nation-building (nationalism) and patriotism which should as secondary choice. For politics around nationalism and patriotism has been manipulated by the Abyssinian oppressors for ages for their own end. To diverse attentions the poor and oppressed communities in Ethiopia have been manipulated by the Northern dominant regimes to fight proxy wars created by the Northerner leaders along nationalism and patriotism, putting the country first before their individual freedom, forgetting the past and suffering they endured in the hands of their internal oppressors.
But at end of the day, the few dominant minority groups from the North and their rulers prosper at the expense of the majority oppressed non Abyssinian citizens, and maintains that upper-hand politics, prosperity, and leadership to ensure they control our future. Right now who is enjoying security, peace, freedom and prosperity in the country at the expense of poor majority Ethiopians? In the midst of present economic disparities among the individuals, tribes, regions, geographical locations in the facing of rising living conditions and hardships in Ethiopia, who is having the purchasing power as the prices of commodities deadly rocket in the country? It is the poor and the oppressed who are receiving the brunt. It is the poor and the oppressed who being recruited in the military to fight proxy wars created by their oppressors and beneficiaries.
How long will the oppressed peoples in Ethiopia be manipulated to fight proxy wars created by minority oppressors from the North, and use it for their own benefits at the expense of the majority Ethiopians, who are denied of their freedom and justice? There are many examples of these historical wars including Eriteria, Ogaden, Somalia, terrorism, etc. Who are fighting and dying in these wars with no posterity and benefit to their families apart from the northerners? All the oppressed Ethiopians must critically assess their past to come together as one to challenge their causes to ensure their own freedom first, before the nation.
As oppressed citizen, why should you die for a country that does not recognize your history and future as a dignified citizen? It is unrealistic for the Gambellans or peoples of the southern region or Ogadenians, or Oromos, or the Nilotes of Beneshangul/Gumuz region, to be dragged in, as part of the three thousand years Ethiopian history which they all don’t benefit equally, and still denied of their own history and tradition to live in the country without future.
Our traditional lands provide our social and political identities, security and sense of belongings. Land should be considered as community property, not state property. The provision that places land to be state property in the Ethiopian constitution has wrong application to the indigenous rights and freedom. It has cunningly given high leverage to Northerner oppressors to divide our land as cake and occupy them at gun points. The denial of freedom and justice against the majority Ethiopians in their own lands and territories by the Abyssinians colonialists and oppressors will have to cease completely, in order to bring true freedom to our oppressed communities to decide for their own destiny in a free political environment.
This achievement can only be realized through unity. Without firm unity and participation of all the oppressed Ethiopians to the struggle, the oppressive ruling of dominant minority from the North will continue shedding innocent bloods in the country persisting our existence as humans; it will continue to deny our political, economic, social, and human rights and freedom until we are perished in our lands. Without full participation to the emancipation process of all the oppressed Ethiopians, the country will not be vindicated from hypocrisy, lying, dishonesty, robbery, corruption, and lack of transparency as they remain as the very essential values and characters of Abyssinian oppressors. No oppressed citizens can be free as long as the oppressive regime maintains these evils, for they resist the very basic liberal democracy principles to flourish in the country; and the TPLF/EPRDF government has failed to realize these principles to all Ethiopians.
We are aware and understand that TPLF/EPRDF government deliberately plays divide and rule politics among our nationalities to extinct the indigenous communities from their ancestral lands. The leadership of GNUM/A would like to inform and strengthen all the indigenous populations and other oppressed Ethiopians to condemn and oppose the current leadership of the EPRDF/TPLF government and unite together to fight the repressive system for the realization of our freedom.
To this respect, we would like to inform the EPRDF/TPLF government to stop land grabbing, force villagization, intimidation, killing of innocent civilian imprisonment and detention of the indigenous peoples and the demonstrators in the country. Furthermore, we would like to call upon the international community to increasingly putting pressures on the TPLF/EPRDF government to stop human rights abuses and crimes against the indigenous communities in Ethiopia, and the release all the indigenous prisoners of Gambella, Beneshangul/Gumuz, Lower Omo Valley of SNNPR, Oromyia, Afar, Ogaden, South, etc, who are kept in different prisons in Ethiopia.
The GNUM/A would like to take this opportunity also to call upon the international community to investigate and condemn this barbaric act of killing, intimidation and harassment of mass protestors in Ethiopia and holds the TPLF/EPRDF regime accountable for all crimes against humanity.
The Gambella Nilotes United Movement/Army (GNUM/A) also takes this opportunity to call upon all the indigenous people of Gambella and pastoral Nilotes of Lower Omo Valley to unite together with other opposition parties fighting against the TPLF/EPRDF government for the emancipation of all the oppressed nations and citizens of Ethiopia.
In conclusion the Gambella Nilotes United Movement/Army (GNUM/A) will continue its struggle for all people of Gambella and all south western Nilotes Ethiopian to ensure freedom, justice, security and prosperity are brought to our people in the region.
“Unite We Must!”
“Freedom and Justice for all Oppressed Ethiopians”
Gambella Nilotes United Movement/Army (GNUM/A)
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