Ethiopia – Persistent Perpetrations to Maintain Grip on Power

Urgent Action,

October 7, 2011

HRLHA is highly concerned about the stability and wellbeing of the elderly, the very young, and those who were made homeless following the violent and bloody clash between Oromos and the Gumuz ethnic group (for the second time in three years) from September 22 to September 26, 2011; once again causing death, displacements, and destructions of homes and other properties. According to local sources, the Gumuzs were well armed by the government; whereas the Oromos were unarmed; the reason being political mistrust on the side of the Oromos. As a result, dozens have died and dozens of others have been injured from the Oromos. The dead include: Mr. Maatabuu Xiixaa (a family head and father of fifteen children), Mr. Nigaatuu Dabbis (a family head and father of fourteen children), Mr. Abdannaa Darajjee (a family head and father of seven children), Mr. Fiqaaduu Hundumaa (a family head and father of six children), Mr. Tafarii Adimaasuu (a family head and father of five children), Mr. Dassaalee Ittafaa (a family head and father of four children), and Magarsaa Guddaataa (a grade twelve student). On the other hand, Mr. Gabbisaa Kasasaa, Mr. Asaffaa Gabbisaa (in Nekemt Hospital under intensive care), Mr. Abbabaa Malataa (in Nekmt Hospital under intensive care)  Mr. Abdiisaa Abbabaa (in Nekemt Hospital under intensive care), Mr. Fiqiruu Dhaabaa, and Mr. Yaaragaal were among the severely injured casualties of the clash. 

HRLHA has learnt that between 1500 to 2000 people of all age have been displaced due to this violent clash; and about 300 of this figure were very young children who were left without parents and/or any other kind ofcaregiver. According to HRLHA correspondents in the area, most of the displaced people have been gathered in a town called Qeelloo, in the Ebantuu District of Western Wallaga. Until the time of the release of this urgent action/report, the displaced people (old, young, adult, children, men, and women) didn’t receive any kind of help from any source.

Despite the multiple responsibilities it has shouldered in terms of maintaining stability, safety, and security of its citizens, the government didn’t attempt to interfere in any way to stop the fighting, giving the local as well as the world peoples an ample proof that the incident was indeed its (the Government’s) own deliberate and well planned orchestration made and implemented for purposes of strengthening partisan politics which is engaged in promoting group interests. Originating from political mistrust, and aiming at threatening, harassing, intimidating, and eventually silencing the very few socially and political active members of communities, this is the usual tactic the TPLF/EPRDF Government has been using for the past seventeen or so years. By so doing, it has been planting the seeds of enmity, hatred, and vengeance between nations, nationalities, and ethnic groups who have peacefully coexisted for time immemorial.

In all cases of these clashes at different times in different parts of the country, the casualties, the scars and the devastating effects have always been very obvious; and, in most cases, unforgettable. In spite of this, taking advantage of the overall suppressive political system, all the big and the small actors of those deadly acts have been escaping accountability and going unpunished. As a result, the violence has continued to re-occur. Although the repair of the already inflicted damages is the appropriate question to ask, more urgent is requesting to bring such destructive actions to an end.  The HRLHA calls up on local, regional, and international, diplomatic, humanitarian, and human rights agencies to remind the Ethiopian Government to re-examine its positions and actions towards the citizens of the country in a way that shows its legitimacy to the local and the world communities, and to discharge its responsibilities of maintaining stability, safety, and security of its people.

Background Story,

Contrary to a centuries old peaceful co-existence among nations and nationalities in Ethiopia, the peoples in Ethiopia and the whole world have witnessed deliberately instigated and very destructive chains of violence occurring among different ethnic group at different times to the extent that they become one of the obvious identifications of the TPLF/EPRDF regime. The bloody clashes between the Oromos and the Yems in western Oromia, and between the Amhara settlers and the Oromos in Arsi (central Oromia), both of which happened in 1992, the huge violence between Oromos  and  Kafichos in Tepi (western zone of SPNN Regional State) in  March 2009 (as a result of which many people were killed and some 70,000 were made homeless, displaced, and fled the area according to a report by  Elizabeth Blunt of the BBC), the bloody clash between the Oromos of Western Wollega and the Gumuzs of Benishangul-Gumuz Zone in May 2008, the repetitive fighting between the Oromos of Borana (southern Oromia) and the Gheri Somalis of Ogaden Regional State in February 2009 (in which about 300 people were killed according to a report by  Elizabeth Blunt of the BBC),  were among the unforgettable incidents of government-backed violence that resulted in an enormous loss of human lives and destructions of properties, displacements, as well as other sorts of social crises.

HRLHA is The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa/HRLHA is a non-political organization which attempts to challenge abuses of human rights of the peoples of various nations and nationalities in the Horn of Africa. HRLHA is aimed at defending fundamental human rights including freedoms of thought, expression, movement and organization. It is also aimed at raising the awareness of individuals about their own basic human rights and that of others. It has intended to work on the observances as well as due processes of law. It promotes the growth and development of free and vigorous civil societies.

- Source: Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA)