Oromo Liberation Front announces temporary Declaration of Cease fire

(Advocacy4Oromia, 12 July 2018) Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) announces temporary Declaration of Unilateral Cease fire.

In a statement the party issued it says the discussion between OLF and PM of Ethiopia, is ‘one step forward to resolve the existing political problem.’

‘‘Tokening the seriousness of this affair in to consideration the Oromo Liberation Front has declared a unilateral cease fire in order to accelerate the initiated peace talk to a successful conclusion. We hope this temporary declaration of cease fire will take us to the final declaration of bilateral cessation of hostilities once for all and conclusion of the conflict.

Therefore, the Oromo Liberation Front executive committee instruct the Oromo Liberation Army, operating all over Oromia, to implement the temporary declaration of this cease fire.’’

Here below is the statement issues by OLF

Oromo Liberation Front’s Temporary Declaration of Unilateral Cease Fire

It is to be recalled that the Oromo Liberation Front had for years repeatedly called for a peaceful and negotiated settlement of political problems with Ethiopian government. We have also recently and repeatedly reiterating this call for peace talk. However, the OLF’s call for peace did not get proper response for a long period of time.

We believe that the recently Oromo Liberation Front higher delegation led by OLF Chairman meeting with the Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Dr Abiyi Ahmed is one step forward to resolve the existing political problem. The OLF also well aware that all peace loving people and governments wish the commencement of peace talk between the OLF and the Ethiopian government.

Tokening the seriousness of this affair in to consideration the Oromo Liberation Front has declared a unilateral cease fire in order to accelerate the initiated peace talk to a successful conclusion. We hope this temporary declaration of cease fire will take us to the final declaration of bilateral cessation of hostilities once for all and conclusion of the conflict.

Therefore, the Oromo Liberation Front executive committee instruct the Oromo Liberation Army, operating all over Oromia, to implement the temporary declaration of this cease fire.

Victory to the Oromo People!
July 12, 2018
Oromo Liberation Front

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Game Over: The End of Ethiopia’s TPLF Regime

The explosive device delivered this morning in a Police car (Numberplate: ET Police0384) in Finfinne (Addis Ababa), during a public rally in support of the Ethiopian Prime-Minister with several fatalities and a yet unknown number of many people injured, shows that the new moves might not be taken lightly by the die-hards of the old regime without attempts to disrupt the peace. But is all smells like a false-flag.

By Thomas C. Mountain (*) – 23. June 2018

Game Over! The Tigray People’s Liberation Front which has ruled
Ethiopia since 1991 has been ousted from power in Ethiopia, replaced
by a new breed of leadership who have quickly moved to reassure the
people that a real change is in the making.

This past Wednesday, June 20, was a busy day for the new Prime
Minister Abiye, an ethnic Oromo, Ethiopia’s largest nationality,
travelling to the site of the latest ethnic massacre and addressing the
leadership of the Gurage community calling on them to end the ethnic
violence and bring peace to their land by dialogue and mediation. This
was all broadcast live for all Ethiopians, both at home and abroad, to
see via satellite television and warmly received by those to whom he
directly spoke.

Next door, here in Eritrea we sat glued to our TVs late into the
night watching Ethiopian television broadcast the address our
President Issias Aferwerki had made early that morning during our
annual Martyrs Day commemoration where he held out an olive branch of
peace to our neighbours in Ethiopia, repeated over and over. The
Ethiopian P.M. then went live and thanked the Eritrean President and
promised a future of peace and prosperity in brotherly respect. And he
did it in Tigrinya, the de facto national language of Eritrea.

We could only pinch ourselves in disbelief, to have our long time
enemies in Ethiopia suddenly change so positively, I mean EVERYTHING
the Ethiopian P.M. has been saying could not be more true.

The Ethiopian P.M. has gone on TV and described his governments past
actions, and he acknowledges he was a part of this, as “terrorist”
regarding its treatment of its political prisoners. He has addressed
the T.P.L.F regimes past policy of divide and rule via instigation of
ethnic bloodshed and spoke to what needs to be done to heal divisions
and move forward.

Here in Eritrea what we are hearing is music to our ears for the
Ethiopian P.M. is saying just what our President Issias Aferwerki has
been saying for two decades now, that we shouldn’t be fighting,
instead uniting, to build a more humane and just society absent of
foreign intervention.

If this new Ethiopian leader manages to stay alive, there is hope for
Ethiopia, that the nationalities, starting with the Oromo’s, the
largest, who have been calling for independence, will reconsider their
quest for separation and continue as one country.

While one must respect the right to self determination reality is that
the “Prison House of Nations” that has been Ethiopia up to now is best
transformed into a modern, peoples democracy rather than torn asunder
and left to fend for themselves as small, independent countries. This
new P.M. could be the one to give them hope and allow a violent
upheaval to be avoided.

The Horn of Africa, the Horn of Hunger, the Horn of War and Famine may
be seeing the birth of a new era, where Ethiopia no longer invades its
neighbors at the behest of the USA. Where Ethiopians are able to leave
behind their lives of hunger and thirst, of being cold, sick and
illiterate and start to feed, clothe, house, medicate and educate its
people, and turn a perpetual famine victim into a modern, prosperous
land.

For us here in Eritrea after 20 years of war followed by no war, no
peace, we have hardened ourselves to not seeing a light at the end of
the tunnel. This new leadership in Ethiopia is almost to much to
believe, its almost like a dream to us still. Could we really live as
brothers and sisters with our huge neighbour to our south?

Just as with North Korea the Trump Regime has broken with decades of
past policy towards the the Horn of Africa and allowed common sense
and experience to hold sway. It may be just pragmatism, but those
veteran diplomats in the US State Department know they have little
choice in the matter, any further support for the TPLF regime would
have been counter-productive and damage American credibility let alone
result in the disintegration of Ethiopia, possibly followed by a South
Sudan scenario.

One thing is for sure, and Eritrean President Issias Aferworki said it
with glee when he spoke at our Martyrs Day commemoration, “Game Over!”
for the T.P.L.F regime, shocking all in attendance into spontaneous
applause. What we have only dreamed about is now reality here in the
Horn of Africa, and if the seasonal rains arrive this year and another
drought is averted, then we can truly be blessed with
“selam(peace) and rain for the Horn of Africa”.

(*) Thomas C. Mountain is an independent journalist and historian in
Eritrea, living and reporting from here since 2006. See
thomascmountain on Facebook or best reach him at thomascmountain at g
mail dot com

MAJOR ALERT: CONCERNING OROMO MINORS AND THE ELDERLY

While this messge is concerning a situation of global importance, it is here addressed solely, but specifically to all members of the Oromo nation.

PLEASE PROTECT AND HELP OUR MINORS AND CARE FOR OUR ELDERLY PEOPLE

While the vice of abuse especially of young girls from among the refugees is not new, we find that more and more unaccompanied minors (boys and girls) are found stranded in Kenya where they survive in appalling situations and under dreadful circumstances.
Many people simply don’t know or are not aware of that appalling situation, but we come across more and more such cases in the shadows of society.
UNHCR is less than helpful.

What needs to be done?

We are not advocating the building of new institutions like orphanages or to herd these helpless people into another corral or camp, or to blow the horn for more state control – the opposite. Anyone, who wants to learn more about this and why also we are against the institutionalized approach, can read up on the excellent website of www.wearelumos.org

We are appealing today to you by addressing the pride of the Oromo people as a nation, of whom already over 10% live in exile, to come to the rescue of the most vulnerable among our people, who had to flee our homeland Oromiya – alone and unaccompanied. They live under constant fear.

Please reach out with a helping hand and take them in – in good old Oromo tradition!

DON’T LEAVE ANY OROMO BEHIND

Right now we are looking for reputable Oromo families living in Nairobi or Kenya, who would be willing to help and take in an unaccompanied Oromo minor or an elderly person, while we sort out their refugee status or other bureaucratic problems with UNHCR or the Government of Kenya and try to find their next of kin.

These wonderful, often very young or very old people need your protection and shelter, your love and support, your care and encouragement – and they will enlighten your life as a family.

Please spread this message far and wide to the reputable members of the Oromo nation in Kenya.
Those who can and will help, please send us your contact, so that we can facilitate.

Right now we are looking for Oromo families of good standing, who could take in one of the 3 unaccompanied minors (we already could register them) or one of the seven (male) elders on our list.

Thank you very much

Bontu, Anane, Betelihem, Getahun et al.

Peace for the Oromo People

What are your thoughts on Mental Health in the Oromo community?

 

Ethiopian journalists, political activists and human rights activists arrested, denied due process

(A4O, April 1, 2018)– Advocacy for Oromia is gravely concerned that dozens of journalists, human rights activists and prominent opposition figures have been arrested and are being held in inhuman condition at Police Station.

On 25 March 2018, Ethiopian security forces arrested journalists Eskinder Nega and Temesgen Desalegn, Zone9 bloggers Mahlet Fantahun, Befekadu Hailu, blogger Zelalem Workaggnhu and political activists Andualem Arage, Addisu Getinet, Yidnekachewu Addis, Sintayehu Chekol, Tefera Tesfaye and Woynshet Molla.

According to reports, the arrests were made while the defenders were attending a private meeting at the home of journalist Temesgen Desalegn in Addis Ababa. The private gathering was held in recognition of the recent release of thousands of political prisoners amidst ongoing and widespread protests against political marginalisation and land grabbing in the Oromia and Amhara regions which began in late 2015. The eleven who have previously been jailed for their work as journalists or human rights activists are currently being held at Gotera-Pepsi Police Station in Addis Ababa.

Among those arrested Temesghen was taken from the prison to Zewditu hospital “due to severe back pain he developed during his jail time in recent past.”

Nega, who is a prominent political journalist, had previously spent nearly seven years behind bars on terrorism charges. He was released from prison several weeks ago, on February 14, only to be re-arrested this week.

The arrests follow the declaration of a national State of Emergency on 16 February for a period of six months. The State of Emergency imposes a blanket ban on all protests, the dissemination of any publication deemed to “incite and sow discord” including those who criticise the State of Emergency and allows for warrantless arrest.

Advocacy for Oromia asks for emails and letters urging Ethiopian authorities to secure Eskinder Nega, Temesgen Desalegn, Mahlet Fantahun, Befekadu Hailu, Zelalem Workaggnhu, Andualem Arage, Addisu Getinet, Yidnekachewu Addis, Sintayehu Chekol, Tefera Tesfaye and Woynshet Molla immediate, unconditional release and, pending their release, ensure that their cases proceed in a manner consistent with Ethiopia’s obligations under international law, in particular internationally recognized standards of due process, fair trial, and free expression; to ensure their well-being while in custody, including access to legal counsel and family and to bring an end to the suffering.

For PDF format:  Ethiopian journalists, political activists and human rights activists arrested, denied due process

Advocacy for Oromia

The following can be the sample of your letter: 

Subject: Release journalists, human rights activists and prominent opposition figures

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
P.O. Box 393
Addis Ababa
Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

cc: Federal Attorney General of Ethiopia, President of Oromia Regional State, Ethiopian Ambassador to the United States, United States Ambassador to Ethiopia, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Advocacy for Oromia

Your Excellency:

I write to to express grave concern that dozens of journalists, human rights activists and prominent opposition figures have been arrested and are being held in inhuman condition at Police Station.

On 25 March 2018, Ethiopian security forces arrested journalists Eskinder Nega and Temesgen Desalegn, Zone9 bloggers Mahlet Fantahun, Befekadu Hailu, blogger Zelalem Workaggnhu and political activists Andualem Arage, Addisu Getinet, Yidnekachewu Addis, Sintayehu Chekol, Tefera Tesfaye and Woynshet Molla. The eleven who have previously been jailed for their work as journalists or human rights activists are currently being held at Gotera-Pepsi Police Station in Addis Ababa.

I further understand from Advocacy for Oromia that, on March 25, 2018, 11 journalists, human rights activists and prominent opposition figures were arrested while attending a private meeting at the home of journalist Temesgen Desalegn in Addis Ababa. The private gathering was held in recognition of the recent release of thousands of political prisoners amidst ongoing and widespread protests against political marginalisation and land grabbing in the Oromia and Amhara regions which began in late 2015.

I welcome any additional information that may explain these events or clarify my understandings. Absent this, the facts as described suggest that dozens of journalists, human rights activists and prominent opposition figures were arrested as a result of nonviolent expressive activity, conduct that is expressly protected under international human rights instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Ethiopia is party. This raises not only serious concerns for Eskinder Nega, Temesgen Desalegn, Mahlet Fantahun, Befekadu Hailu, Zelalem Workaggnhu, Andualem Arage, Addisu Getinet, Yidnekachewu Addis, Sintayehu Chekol, Tefera Tesfaye and Woynshet Molla’s well-being, but for the ability of journalists, human rights activists and prominent opposition figures generally in Ethiopia to exercise their right to free expression.

I therefore respectfully urge you to investigate the situation and to secure Eskinder Nega, Temesgen Desalegn, Mahlet Fantahun, Befekadu Hailu, Zelalem Workaggnhu, Andualem Arage, Addisu Getinet, Yidnekachewu Addis, Sintayehu Chekol, Tefera Tesfaye and Woynshet Molla’s immediate, unconditional release and, pending their release, ensure that their cases proceed in a manner consistent with Ethiopia’s obligations under international law, in particular internationally recognized standards of due process, fair trial, and free expression; and to ensure their well-being while in custody, including access to legal counsel and family.

I appreciate your attention to this important matter and look forward to your reply.

Sincerely,

(Here-sign)

(Here -Your Name)

cc: The Honorable Getachew Ambaye

Attorney General, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Email:

cc: The Honorable Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Email:

cc: Advocacy for Oromia

Email:info@advocacy4oromia.org

The Honorable Abiy Ahmed

Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Email:

cc: Ambassador Kassa Tekleberhan Gebrehiwot

Ambassador of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to the United States of America
Email:

cc: The Honorable Lemma Megersa

President of Oromia Regional State
Email:

cc: The Honorable Michael Raynor

United States Ambassador to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Email:

‘Freedom!’: the mysterious movement that brought Ethiopia to a standstill

Qeerroo – young Oromo activists – drove the mass strike that helped topple the prime minister of one of Africa’s most autocratic governments

Supporters of Bekele Gerba, secretary general of the Oromo Federalist Congress, celebrate his release from prison, in Adama, Ethiopia on 14 February 2018.
 Supporters of Bekele Gerba, secretary general of the Oromo Federalist Congress, celebrate his release from prison, in Adama, February 2018. Photograph: Tiksa Negeri/Reuters

Today, Desalegn is a banker. But once he was a Qeerroo: a young, energetic and unmarried man from Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, the Oromo, bound by what he calls a “responsibility to defend the people”.

Twelve years ago he helped organise mass protests against an election result he and many others believed the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) had rigged. This landed him in prison, along with thousands of others, on terrorism charges.

Since then he has married and, like many of his generation in Ethiopia, mostly avoided politics. That was until 12 February, when he joined almost everyone in the town of Adama, and in many others cities across the region of Oromia, in a strike calling for the release of opposition leaders and an end to authoritarianism.

The boycott, which lasted three days and brought much of central Ethiopia to a standstill, culminated on 13 February with the release of Bekele Gerba, a prominent Oromo politician who lives in Adama, and, within 48 hours, the sudden resignation of Ethiopia’s beleaguered prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn. The shaken federal government then declared a nationwide state-of-emergency on 15 February, the second in as many years.

“It was a total shutdown,” says Desalegn, of the strike in Adama. “Almost everybody took part – including government offices. You wouldn’t have even been able to find a shoeshine boy here.”

For him and many other residents of Adama, about 90km south-east of the capital, Addis Ababa, there is only one explanation for how a normally quiescent town finally joined the uprising that has billowed across much of Oromia and other parts of Ethiopia since late 2014: the Qeerroo.

Police fire tear gas to disperse protesters during the Oromo festival of Irreecha, in Bishoftu, Ethiopia, in October, 2016
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 Police fire teargas to disperse protesters during the Oromo festival of Irreecha, in Bishoftu, October 2016. Photograph: Tiksa Negeri/Reuters

Who the Qeerroo are, and how they have helped bring one of Africa’s strongest and most autocratic governments to its knees, is only dimly understood.

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In traditional Oromo culture the term denotes a young bachelor. But today it has broader connotations, symbolising both the Oromo movement – a struggle for more political freedom and for greater ethnic representation in federal structures – and an entire generation of newly assertive Ethiopian youth.

“They are the voice of the people,” explains Debela, a 32-year-old taxi driver in Adama who says he is too old to be one but that he supports their cause. “They are the vanguard of the Oromo revolution.”

The term’s resurgence also reflects the nature of Oromo identity today, which has grown much stronger since Ethiopia’s distinct model of ethnically based federalism was established by the EPRDF in 1994.

“In the past even to be seen as Oromo was a crime,” says Desalegn, of the ethnic assimilation policies pursued by the two preceding Ethiopian regimes, imperial and communist. “But now people are proud to be Oromo … So the Qeerroos are emboldened.”

As the Oromo movement has grown in confidence in recent years, so the role of the Qeerroo in orchestrating unrest has increasingly drawn the attention of officials.

At the start of the year police announced plans to investigate and crack down on the Qeerroo, arguing that it was a clandestine group bent on destabilising the country and seizing control of local government offices. Party sympathisers accused members of being terrorists.

Bekele Gerba waves to his supporters after his release from prison in Adama, Ethiopia on 13 February 2018.
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 Bekele Gerba waves to his supporters after his release from prison in Adama, on 13 February. Photograph: Tiksa Negeri/Reuters

Though many dispute this characterisation, few doubt the underground strength of the Qeerroo today.

Since the previous state of emergency was lifted last August, Qeerroo networks have been behind multiple strikes and protests in different parts of Oromia, despite obstacles like the total shutdown of mobile internet in all areas beyond the capital since the end of last year.

Bekele Gerba, the opposition leader, credits the Qeerroo with securing his release from prison, and for sending hundreds of well-wishers to his home in Adama in the aftermath. But like many older activists, he confesses to limited knowledge of how they organise themselves.

“I only became aware of them relatively recently,” he says. “We don’t know who the leadership is and we don’t know if they have a central command.”

But in a recent interview with the Guardian, two local leaders in Adama, Haile and Abiy (not their real names), shed light on their methods.

According to the two men, who are both in their late 20s, each district of the city has one Qeerroo leader, with at least 20 subordinates, all of whom are responsible for disseminating messages and information about upcoming strikes.

They say their networks have become better organised in recent months, explaining that there is now a hierarchical command chain and even a single leader for the whole of Oromia. “This gives us discipline and allows us to speak with one voice,” says Abiy.

Their job has become more difficult in the absence of the internet.

“With social media you can disseminate the message in seconds,” says Abiy. “Now it can take two weeks, going from door to door.” Instead of using WhatsApp and Facebook, they now distribute paper flyers, especially on university campuses.

The role of Oromo activists among the diaspora, especially those in the US, also remains crucial, despite the shutdown.

Zecharias Zelalem, an Ethiopian journalist based in Canada, argues that it is thanks to prominent social media activists that the Qeerroo have acquired the political heft that youth movements in other parts of the country still lack. He highlights in particular the work of Jawar Mohammed, the controversial founder of the Minnesota-based Oromia Media Network (which is banned in Ethiopia), in amplifying the voice of the Qeerroo even when internet is down.

“[Jawar] gives us political analyses and advice,” Haile explains. “He can get access to information even from inside the government, which he shares with the Qeerroos. We evaluate it and then decide whether to act on it.”

He and Abiy both dismiss the assumption, widespread in Ethiopia, that Jawar remote-controls the protests. “The Qeerroos are like a football team,” counters Haile. “Jawar may be the goalkeeper – helping and advising – but we are the strikers.”

Supporters of Bekele Gerba, secretary general of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), chant slogans to celebrate Gerba’s release from prison
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 Supporters of Bekele Gerba chant slogans to celebrate Gerba’s release from prison. Photograph: Tiksa Negeri/Reuters

The reimposition of the state-of-emergency has angered many Qeerroos in Adama and elsewhere in Oromia, where the move was widely seen as heavy-handed bid to reverse the protesters’ momentum.

Some analysts fear further repression will push members of a still mostly peaceful political movement towards violence and extremism.

Jibril Ummar, a local businessman and activist, says that he and others tried to ensure the protests in Adama were peaceful, calming down overexcited young men who wanted to damage property and attack non-Oromos.

“It worries me,” he admits. “There’s a lack of maturity. When you are emotional you put the struggle in jeopardy.”

Gerba says he worries about violence, too, including of the ethnic kind. “We know for sure that Tigrayans are targeted most, across the country. This concerns me very much and it is something that has to be worked on.”

In the coming days the EPRDF will decide on a new prime minister, and many hope it will be someone from the Oromo People’s Democratic Organisation (OPDO), the Oromo wing of the ruling coalition.

This might placate some of the Qeerroo, at least in the short term. But it is unlikely to be enough on its own to dampen the anger.

“When we are married we will retire from the Qeerroo,” says Haile. “But we will never do that until we get our freedom.”

===========================

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/mar/13/freedom-oromo-activists-qeerroo-ethiopia-standstill

Since you’re here …

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I appreciate there not being a paywall: it is more democratic for the media to be available for all and not a commodity to be purchased by a few. I’m happy to make a contribution so others with less means still have access to information.Thomasine F-R.

If everyone who reads our reporting, who likes it, helps fund it, our future would be much more secure. For as little as $1, you can support the Guardian – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.

Ethiopian Town on Edge After Security Forces Kill, Injure Unarmed Resident

@Advocacy for Oromia: Oromo refugees from Moyale Oromia sheltered in Kenya (March 11, 2018)

A town on Ethiopia’s border with Kenya is on edge after Ethiopian security forces shot and killed 10 people and injured 11 others Saturday, the mayor said.

Residents of Moyale, along with the Command Post, the military unit overseeing a recently enacted state of emergency, confirmed the casualties in the southernmost part of Oromia, a region gripped in recent years by protests and government crackdowns.

By most accounts, the attack was sudden and unprovoked. Armed security forces began shooting Moyale residents in the streets and in shops and restaurants, killing and injuring apparently innocent people, most of whom were in their 20s.

Moyale’s mayor, Aschalew Yohannes, described how the attack began. “A young man was on his motorbike, and security forces stopped him and shot him,” Yohannes said. “After that, they were shooting at everyone in the town. What we have confirmed so far is that there are 10 people killed and 11 people injured, and of those five have gone to Hawasa,” he said, referring to a town more than 400 kilometers (249 miles) north of Moyale.

It isn’t clear why Golo Waqo, the man on the motorbike, was stopped and shot. He may have been participating in a peaceful protest, according to Yohannes. After killing Waqo, the security forces continued shooting people in the busy district.

“This happened in the streets of the town, and there were residential houses and cafes, and this was a place where the people were normally going about their lives.”

‘Like an enemy chasing us’

Tamam Nageso, principal of a school in the area, was returning home for lunch when the attack unfolded. The 34-year-old husband and father of one had just completed a morning of parent-teacher meetings at the school.

The award-winning educator was walking home when a bullet struck his leg. He fell down but managed to get back up to run for safety.

The bullets kept flying, and Nageso was shot twice more. He died in the street.

“This is like an enemy chasing us. There’s no one to hold them to account, and we can only pray to God,” a friend of Nageso told VOA Amharic by phone. “We have lost a friend whom we really loved, and from now on we expect the same for us.”

Unprovoked

Residents say the attack was unprompted, and the victims were simply going about their daily lives.

“There is a church around here, Abune Aregawi, and there are shops, residential places and restaurants,” one resident told VOA by phone.

The woman said most of those killed were young, but two elderly people also died. The victims came from different ethnic groups and were going to and from work and carrying out their days in the Shewaber district, she added.

“I don’t know how they view us, but this seems like they were taking some sort of revenge,” she said. We don’t know how to live, and we are so confused. All we can say is may God help us. That’s all I can say, nothing more.”

Wrong information

The Ethiopian government has characterized the attack as a mistake due to bad intelligence.

Soldiers received a dispatch about possible activity involving the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), according to General Hassan Ibrahim, who spoke to FANA, a state-owned broadcaster. OLF is a militant opposition group that wants the current government, which considers OLF a terrorist organization, removed from power.

It was based on that dispatch the general said, that soldiers began attacking people in Moyale. At a press conference for local journalists, a Command Post official confirmed that security forces had killed nine people in the town and injured 12 others. After the briefing, one injured person later died.

Yohannes, the mayor, found the purported mistake implausible. “It is known that OLF sometimes makes some movements through the Kenya border in the past, but there is nothing that connects this incident with OLF,” Yohannes told VOA Amharic.

The Command Post expressed deep regret for the attack and said it is investigating five people, including the person in charge of the security forces believed to be responsible for his incident.

Yohannes said the Command Post and local security forces aren’t in close contact, making it difficult to get answers. He called for a meeting to ensure voices from his community are heard and has lodged complaints at every level of government.

“As the mayor of this town, I would say that this should never happen to enemies, let alone citizens. This has to be improved totally — that’s what I believe. And the people are scared now due to what happened, so it is a really difficult situation,” he said.

VOA’s calls to government officials were not returned.

Calls for accountability

Yared Hailemariam, the executive director of the Swiss-based Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia, criticized the government’s response.

Hailemariam said the incident in Moyale reflects the free rein given to security forces. Asking for forgiveness and investigating those directly responsible aren’t enough, he said.

“They should hold to account not just the four to five people who are part of the security forces, but the authorities on top at the federal level leading the Command Post should be questioned,” he told VOA Amharic.

Displacement

Multiple sources told VOA that the attack resulted in large-scale displacements, with residents in fear of their lives fleeing over the border into Kenya.

One man who crossed into Kenya told VOA Amharic that he thought 2,000 people were staying in the area and said that most of the displaced people are children and women.

Another resident who fled has 13 children.

“Because security forces barged into our homes, opening the doors by force, and we didn’t even have time to ask what the problem is, I was scared and left without shutting the door,” she told VOA. “I am spending the night where I can, but I have nothing to feed my children.”

The government had declared a state of emergency on February 16 to stabilize the country following continued protests and unrest.

Source: https://www.voanews.com/a/Ethiopia-violence/4293553.html

Appeal Letter to the International Community

by Oromo Civic Organizations

(Advocacy for Oromia, March 05, 2018) We, members of the Oromo civic and professional organizations, write this urgent letter to appeal to international organizations and governments to save helpless, peaceful citizens trapped under a repressive regime in Ethiopia which has decided to rule through state terrorism.

The Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) led Ethiopian government, representing a minority ethnic group, which has ruled Ethiopia with an iron fist since the early 1990’s, has unleashed what can be described as state terrorism in the last few years on defenseless people for peacefully demanding their basic democratic rights. The most populous state in the country, Oromia, has particularly faced the brunt of the regime’s ire, as widely documented by reputable human rights and international media organizations. Thousands have been killed, and tens of thousands have been arrested, tortured, displaced and exiled. On October 2, 2016 alone, government security forces fired on millions of people who gathered for the annual Irreecha festival, near the city of Bishoftu, killing hundreds and maiming many more. Following this massacre, the government imposed a ten-month state of emergency, during which over 30,000 people were arrested and kept in concentration camps without a due process of law. In what is arguably the worst humanitarian disaster to have befallen the Oromo people yet, close to one million Oromo have been displaced from their home in the eastern and southeastern regions, because of TPLF’s vicious proxy war on the Oromo via the so-called Liyu-Police of the Somali region of Ethiopia. Most of the internally displaced are still living in temporary shelters, facing an uncertain outcome and a bleak future.

Faced with a growing dissent, the TPLF regime has re-imposed a state of emergency on February 16, 2018, curtailing fundamental human rights and giving its army a wide latitude to take extrajudicial actions with impunity. This new law is totally uncalled for, as the government is fully in control and has no justification to use an extraordinary measure to maintain peace and order. Many foreign governments and independent observers believe that declaring a state of emergency at this time is unnecessary and counter-productive. The United States Embassy in Ethiopia “strongly disagrees with Ethiopian government’s decision to impose a state of emergency that includes restrictions on fundamental rights such as assembly and expression.” Opposition political parties, civic and religious organizations have also condemned the declaration of the state of emergency. The decree does not even meet the conditions stipulated in TPLF’s own constitution which requires an extraordinary situation to declare a state of emergency. It is, therefore, illegal.
Yet even before the state of emergency was approved, the regime has intensified its implementation, severely restricting the freedom of movement and expression. On February 23, for example, government forces prevented leaders of the Oromo Federalists Congress (OFC), Dr. Merera Gudina and Bekele Gerba, from visiting their relatives and meeting supporters in Wallaga, western Oromia.
After their release from prison just last month, they were forced to stay in an open field, 20 miles away from the city of Nekemete, because federal forces, who have been harassing and terrorizing residents, blocked the road and ordered them to go back to Addis Ababa (Finfinnee) On February 26, soldiers fired live ammunition and killed one person, Abebe Makonnen, and wounded at least 19 people. Another person was killed and 5 others were wounded in the town of Ukkee, north of Nekemte, on February 27 and 28, 2018. Further west, in Dembi Dolo, government forces have prevented the distribution of leaflet for a religious gathering and killed one person and wounded several others. On February 27, the Command Post, a military unit set up to administer the state of emergency, and led by Siraj Fergessa, Defense Minister, authorized the federal defense forces to take any action against protesters.

The Command post’s directive gives an extraordinary power to the armed forces and allows them to unleash unmitigated violence against civilians. The state of emergency clearly violates the country’s constitution and other international human rights treaty obligations that Ethiopia has agreed to observe.
The behavior of the Ethiopian regime is outrageous on many levels. While Ethiopia hosts many international organizations including: the headquarters of the African Union (AU), the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), and numerous diplomatic missions; the EPRDF regime flagrantly violates
human rights with impunity. Helpless and defenseless people wonder who would come to their rescue when their government manipulates the laws and kills them, evicts them from their lands, and displaces them routinely.

The outrage of the people has been simmering for years and their patience has reached its limits. This volatile situation can get out of control at any moment. Unfortunately, if this happens, many more lives could be lost; property could be destroyed, the Horn of Africa region could face an imaginable displacements and mass migrations. In short, the consequences could be catastrophic not only for the Oromo and the peoples of Ethiopia, but also for the northeast African region and the global community.

Grieving of the losses we have suffered so far, due to the brutal acts of TPLF/EPRDF regime, and fearful of the looming human sufferings, we strongly appeal to the international community and organizations to act fast and save innocent lives, prevent violence and displacements. We particularly appeal to:

1. The United Nations, the African Union, the Arab League, and the European Union to stop the Ethiopian government from continuing very dangerous political path;

2. The United Nations Security Council to authorize the investigation of the violations of human rights and international human rights treaty obligations, the crimes committed by the Ethiopian regime;

3. The United Nations Human Rights Commission to investigate previous the human rights violations and other committed crimes under current state of emergency law in Ethiopia;

4. The World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) not to provide financial assistance to Ethiopia, except for humanitarian reasons, to force the government end its repressive behavior;

5. The governments of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Egypt, Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden, South Africa and other nations to put all necessary diplomatic pressure, and financial and trade restrictions to end the state of emergence, respect the rights of citizens and open the political space for democracy and freedom;

6. All peace-loving global communities to put necessary pressure on their respective governments to end assistance to the Ethiopian government and support the Oromo and other peoples in Ethiopia at this critical moment.

Ultimately, the TPLF/EPRDF leaders and their partners will be fully, legally and historically, accountable for the criminal acts they are committing under the cover of the state of emergency.
Last but not least, if our urgent warnings are ignored and the ominous tragedies we fear take place, history will harshly judge the inaction of the international community, appropriately.

Sincerely,
Oromo Civic and Professional Organizations

• Global Gumii Oromia (GGO)
• Oromo Communities Association of North America (OCA-NA)
• Macha-Tulama Association (MTA)
• Oromo Studies Association (OSA)
• Oromia Support Group (OSG)
• International Oromo Lawyers Association (IOLA)
• International Oromo Women’s Organization (IOWO)
• International Qeerroo Support Group (IQSG)
• Human Rights League for the Horn Of Africa (HRLHA)
CC:
Organizations: UN, AU, EU, AL, WB, IMF
Governments: US, UK, Canada, Australia, China, Egypt, Germany, Norway, Italy, Russia, Sweden, South Africa, [Others]

Ethiopia political uncertainty and Oromo persecution disturbing – Australian MP

Photo File: Irreechaa 2016 @ Wilson Botanical Gardens

An Australian legislator has warned that Ethiopia’s current political situation could have wider implications for the Horn of Africa region, for Africa and to an extent the world.

According to Anthony Byrne, a Federal Member for Holt in Victoria, Ethiopia was undergoing a period of political transition that has an uncertain end.

In a ten-minute address delivered in the House of Representatives in the Australian Parliament, Byrne dispelled the idea that Africa was far from Australia and its business should be left to it to handle.

There is a fairly substantial transition that is occuring at the present period of time. We are not exactly sure where that will lead to, but that does have an impact on Africa, it does have an impact on the security of the country.

“Some, (deputy speaker), will say what happens in Africa does not affect our country, that is just not true, I mean, Africa is a growing – series of countries that will have an increasing say in world affairs.

“And so what does happen in Ethiopia regardless of how far away people think it is does have an impact and ultimately will have an impact on this country and what happens to the Ethiopian government.

“There is a fairly substantial transition that is occuring at the present period of time. We are not exactly sure where that will lead to, but that does have an impact on Africa, it does have an impact on the security of the country,” he said.

He continued that Ethiopian politics had an impact on the diaspora communities in Australia stressing that it could have, “depending on what the outcome is, quite a destabilizing impact on those countries within Africa.”

His February 26, 2018 address to the parliament was pinned on what he said were ‘ongoing persecution of the Oromo peoples in Ethiopia.’ He called on the Ethiopian regime to halt persecutions of the Oromos whiles pledging to represent their interests as best as possible.

“I’d urge the Ethiopian government and will continue to rise on behalf of the Oromo community in my constituency and elsewhere in Victoria in this country to cease the ongoing persecution of the Oromo peoples in Ethiopia.

“And I will continue to work with Oromo leaders in Victoria and overseas to continue to highlight their concerns.”

Anthony was elected as the Federal Member for Holt in a by-election in 1999, and re-elected in 2001, 2004, 2007, 2010 and 2013. He is known for his stands on human rights issues and inclusive societies.

Source: http://www.africanews.com/2018/02/28/ethiopia-political-uncertainty-and-oromo-persecution-disturbing-australian-mp/

You can watch his full address to parliament