STOP ETHNIC VIOLENCE IN ETHIOPIA
STOP ETHNIC VIOLENCE IN ETHIOPIA
Why this petition matters
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On Jun 29, 2020, and days after, there was a massive case of ethnic violence against innocent ethnic minorities, such as Amharas and Gurages, in the Oromo region after the murder of popular Oromo musician Hachalu Hundessa. This resulted in over 240 of these ethnic minorities being brutally murdered by Oromo extremists. Some organizations have reported on the dire situation that occurred in Ethiopia, while others have reported only on the government arresting several opposition leaders and political prisoners.
There is now much credible evidence released about the massacres that have been occurring in Ethiopia, particularly in the Oromo region, in which it is evident that several ethnic groups are suffering during this time from being under attack by groups that call themselves Queero. Businesses and homes owned by non-Oromos (Amhara, Gurage, Addis Ababa residents, etc.) have already been confirmed to be looted or burned, and there are more instances showing ethnically motivated killings. What has been occurring is not so different from what has happened during the October Massacre, in which over 80 Ethiopians were killed in one day by Queeros, extremist Oromo youth. The victims in these cases were ethnic/religious groups, such as Amharas, Hararis, Gurages, and Orthodox Oromos. This was a very strong religiously motivated massacre against Orthodox Christians. Churches were also destroyed and there is immense video evidence of this massacre. This massacre occurred because an Oromo politician, Jawar Mohammed, alleged on Facebook that government forces had arrested him, which later proved to be false. Thus, some of his admirers, the Queero, committed these atrocious crimes. Now that Jawar is actually arrested, the threat of several non-Oromo Ethiopians losing their lives is even higher.
Jawar has openly called for the deaths of Amhara people, Orthodox Christians, and other ethnicities in Ethiopia, and promotes ethnic cleansing and propaganda on OMN, the Oromo Media Network, which he is the Director of. It’s true that he is an opposition leader. However, he has needed to be charged for his crimes against the Ethiopian people, and when the federal government encountered Jawar, there was a violent standoff between Jawar’s people and the government forces, which led to his arrest. The government also stated that Jawar possessed several illegal weapons. In addition, when Hachalu died, his family requested that his body be sent to Ambo, which is his birthplace. This is a cultural tradition in Ethiopia, where people’s bodies are buried in their hometowns. However, the government and several other sources have reported that Hachalu’s fans in Addis Ababa and Jawar himself sought to prevent his body from being transported, which was against his family’s wishes. This also caused an altercation with the federal forces. These events have been publicly announced by the government and are understood by Ethiopians who have been deeply following the news. This all is incredibly crucial and dangerous and has failed to be included in this organization’s published findings.
Authorities should restore calm; however, excessive use of force by the government militia has been occurring, which has resulted in the unjust deaths of many Oromo protestors. At the same time, after Hachalu’s death, many extremist Oromos on social media who praised Queeros, both in and especially outside of Ethiopia, have called for war in Ethiopia and violence against non-Oromos, particularly the Amhara people, which they suspected and even declared to be the killers of Hachalu. Amharas and non-Oromos (Gurages, Gamos, Gedeo, etc) who oppose extremism residing in the Oromo region are incredibly vulnerable to ethnic cleansing and general ethnic violence against them. In this case, the internet shut down in Ethiopia was likely a good thing since extremist views and calls for a massacre wouldn’t have been as easily spread as it was during the October Massacre.
At the same time, many Oromos are suffering heavily at the hands of the government’s military forces. In addition to mentioning how the government forces are using excessive force against Oromos protesting, mention how other Ethiopians are also suffering at the hands of the few extremist Oromo Ethiopians who are committing violent crimes against other ethnic groups.
In addition to the cases of ethnic violence in the Oromo region, there have also been several rounds of ethnic cleansing against Amharas and Agews in the Metekel zone of the Benishangul Gumuz region. On October 8th, Gumuz militia gunmen killed over 14 Amharas and Agews, and on September 24, they killed over 20 more. This took place less than two weeks after the huge massacre in which they killed over 89 Amhara and Agew civilians in the same Metekel Zone. Similar massacres took place in July, which left at least 14 dead. The latest case of ethnic cleansing against Amharas occurred when “unidentified men opened fire on innocent civilians,” on October 18 and October 21, leading to at least 31 Amhara civilians being massacred in the Gura Farda district of Bench Sheko zone in Southern Ethiopia. These cases are all confirmed by both eyewitnesses and regional and federal government officials, though the government denies that these are cases of constant ethnic cleansing, and doesn’t provide protection or security to its people.
The most recent case of ethnic cleansing just occurred on November 1, 2020, in which the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), which is associated with the Oromo Liberation Front, massacred over 200 unarmed Amharas in West Wollega, Ethiopia. An estimated 40 OLA gunmen called Amhara residents in Dila Golala and Sekjerbi kebeles in the Gulala district of West Wollega for a meeting, and they opened fire on them. An unspecified number of people are also wounded and with life-threatening conditions. Women, children, the elderly, and the youth were all subjected to these killings, abductions, and injuries. Survivors state that a school and over 120 houses were set on fire. Bodies were not collected and relatives of the victims had been pleading to authorities to help collect littered bodies in the hope of organizing a funeral. Reports say that the Ethiopian Defense Force was deployed to the region for months due to the armed dangers of the OLA. Surviving witnesses said they begged the federal armed forces not to leave the area, but their pleas were not heard. OLA forces massacred the innocent and unarmed civilians after the Ethiopian Defence Forces withdrew from the region. The details are still coming out, however, the Oromo regional state communication bureau released a statement admitting the killing of civilians and blaming “OLF/Shene” and “TPLF.” However, there are speculations that the OLF is coordinating attacks in collaboration with its sympathizers in the Oromo region. There had been attempts by the Oromo regional government in the past to hide targeted attacks against Amharas.
In addition to the mentioned cases of ethnic cleansing against Amharas, it’s important to acknowledge that several ethnic groups also suffer from ethnic violence, especially from Queeros, such as the Gamo, Gedeo, Walayta, Gurage, Zay, Dorze, Hararis, Siltes, and more. Also, in addition to Oromos suffering from excessive government force by the military, this has also been heavily experienced by Walaytas and Somalis. Somalis have constantly been killed by regional police, with there being no accountability or justice, which is the case for other Ethiopians who have been suffering from all of these violent forces. Afars have also been heavily suffering, as activists and officials state that militants and “illegal settlers” from the Issa Somali tribe are encroaching upon their land from the Somali region and Djibouti border, and attacking civilians. Somalis also claim the same grievances, as this is also a case of constant ethnic violence. The government hasn’t provided any security or protection for them either. In all of these cases of violence, it’s very important to emphasize that children and women are never spared and often face the bluntest of these killings. Sources documenting these cases will be attached below.
On behalf of the safety of all Ethiopians--and especially on the ethnicities that are currently facing unjust retaliation by Oromo extremists, such as the Queero-- We ned the government international and domestic to denounce, condemn, and investigate both the government’s excessive use of force, and the ongoing ethnic motivated killings against Ethiopians that are happening throughout Ethiopia, and especially in the Oromo region. The government isn’t taking any precautions to protect its people. After assessing the government’s findings and the current cases of ethnic violence and ethnic cleansing in Ethiopia, and more.