Oromia Today

Independent Voice of Oromia

Ethiopia: Murder convicted criminals got pardoned, political prisoners transferred to a notorious prison

Source: Ayyaantuu.org
March 27, 2020

#Ayet Ayetu Baro Tumsa

Ethiopian government has released a statement about pardoning prisoners because of Coronavirus. What might seem commendable is actually concerning. While processing paperwork, prison officials raised concerns about the future safety of our society because the list contains hundreds of dangerous criminals convicted of theft, robbery, assault and attempted murder. Ex-government officials charged with corruption and extortion are also on the list to be released. They are a total of 4089 criminals, mainly from Qilinxo, Qaliti, Dire Dhawa, Zuwaye and Shoa Robit. 200 have been released out of Qilinxo today. [More]

Internet shutdowns 'not justified' in coronavirus outbreak

MARCH 21, 2020

Rina Chandran, Emeline Wuilbercq

Ethiopia’s government also imposed a communications shutdown across much of western Oromia region in January, leading to an information blackout for more than 3 million people.

As of Friday, Ethiopia had nine active coronavirus cases, according to the ministry of health.

“The government should not be gambling with people’s health,” said Laetitia Bader, Horn of Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

“At the very least it should restore phone and internet access and allow families to warn their loved ones about the basic steps to take to prevent infection.”

Rina Chandran, Emeline Wuilbercq


BANGKOK / ADDIS ABABA (Thomson Reute [More]




On January 31st, another prominent fighter lost his life in equally murky circumstances. Gurache Wato Guyo spent over a decade fighting for the OLF in parts of Southern Ethiopia. His piercing eyes were remembered by many as he was featured in a rare documentary made about the group by a Kenyan journalist, Yassin Juma, back in 2009. The 19, Gurache crouched down clutching his Ak-47; he was tasked with protecting the Kenyan journalist as he slept at night, embedded with the rebels.

Screengrab of Gurache as a teenager as seen in a 2009 documentary on the OLF (Image: NTV)
A decade later, he too decided his time as a fighter had come to an end. Now aged 30, Gurache surrendered his weapon, left the OLA and spent some time at one of the government run rehabilitation camps before settling in the rural Elwayo district of the Borena zone. His death was announced on January 31st via OLF online portals. Addis Standard has viewed images too graphic to publish showing what appear to be his bullet riddled corpse. On social media, Oromos blame the federal government for his death. [More]


Organized Oromo liberation movement started in the 60s because Habashaarulers that built Nafxanyaa colonial system refused to give attention to peacefully presented Oromo questions. African countries they had fallen with started to be free around the same time after 75 years. Oromo struggle continued until they were listened to in 1991. It has still to continue without tire until they get proper response. The new rulers that replaced the old one recognized the Oromo question and agreed on federal form of government in which the rights of each nations and nationalities to national self-determination is recognized. Habashaa ancestors by historical accident were able to occupy the land of others. Not only their land but also tried to destroy their culture, language and their identity in general and assimilate into their own. They have brainwashed all to the extent that some even started to call themselves Habashaa. Habashaa present generation is born into this situation that they get highly strung by indigenous peoples’ claim of being different from them. [More]

Onslaught in Oromia: A hidden war threatens Ethiopia’s transition to democracy

Abiy Ahmed’s crackdown in Oromia is bloody and lawless

Source: The Economist


Middle East and Africa Mar 19th 2020 edition


In the corner of a restaurant in Nekemte, a town in western Ethiopia, Fisaha Aberra unfolds a piece of paper on which he has scrawled the names of 11 men he says were shot by soldiers last year. After this came mass arrests. Fisaha and two siblings fled their home in Guliso to Nekemte, leaving one brother behind who was arrested last month, for the second time in a year, and beaten so hard he cannot walk.

Arrests and summary executions have become commonplace in the far-flung reaches of Oromia, Ethiopia’s largest region. The Ethiopian security forces are waging war on armed Oromo separatists. They are also treating civilians brutally. Accounts by witnesses suggest there is indiscriminate repression of local dissent in a country supposedly on the path from one-party rule towards democracy.

This was not what Ethiopians expected from Abiy Ahmed, who became prime minister in 2018. He was a young reformer from Oromia. He promised democracy for all and redress for what Oromos claim is centuries of political and economic marginalisation. Abiy freed thousands of political prisoners and welcomed rebel groups back from exile to contest elections, now scheduled for August.

Abiy made peace with neighbouring Eritrea, for which he won the Nobel Peace Prize, as well as with rebel groups including the Oromo Liberation Front (olf), which is now an opposition party. The group’s armed wing, the Oromo Liberation Army (ola), agreed to put down its guns; in return its soldiers were to join Oromia’s police. Many hoped to see the end of an insurgency that began almost 50 years ago. [More]

The Legacy of the Past on Ethiopia’s Modern Political Life

By John Markakis
Posted at 00:05h in Blog, Featured by roape1974

The legacy of the past weighs heavily on Ethiopia’s modern political life and is frequently manifested in crises that topple regimes and threaten the state’s survival. ROAPE’s John Markakis seeks to fathom the reasons for the repeated failure to resolve them. In this blogpost he highlights the root causes that need to be confronted if meaningful reform is to be achieved.

Source: http://roape.net/2020/03/12/the-legacy-of-the-past-on-ethiopias-modern-political-life/ [More]

Blood on the Nile is what's coming if Egypt and Ethiopia continue their war of words over water

Source: https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/egypt-nile-war-water-ethiopia-clash-dam-trump-a9390271.html

The Nile, one of the wonders of the natural world, finds itself the subject of an escalating war of words. It could turn the river from a source for civilisation and peace to a source of conflict.

War looms on the horizon after nine years of exhausting negotiations over damming the Nile by Ethiopia.

For thousands of years, Egypt built its ancient civilisation and the basis for its modern economy - not least the nation's identity on the unstoppable flow of the Nile water. But, for the first time, it is threatened by thirst. [More]

Ethiopia's Abiy faces outcry over crackdown on rebels

Source: https://www.france24.com/en/20200229-ethiopia-s-abiy-faces-outcry-over-crackdown-on-rebels

Issued on: 29/02/2020 - 05:10Modified: 29/02/2020 - 05:08

Nekemte (Ethiopia) (AFP)

Desta Garuma, a 27-year-old rickshaw driver, never showed much interest in politics, so his family has no idea how soldiers concluded he was involved in a rebel movement active in Ethiopia's Oromia region.

But one day in January, five truckloads of soldiers followed him home, shouting that they had identified a shifta, or bandit -- a euphemism for rebel.

As his mother and younger sister cowered inside, the soldiers fatally shot Desta three times in the back, according to witnesses. [More]

Ethiopia: Vendor killed, musician injured after police attack opposition supporters in Oromia

Source: https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2020/02/ethiopia-vendor-killed-musician-injured-after-police-attack-opposition-supporters-in-oromia/

Police in Ethiopia launched an attack on opposition party supporters in the Oromia Region on Saturday, killing one person and arresting and injuring scores more.

Just hours after the date for Ethiopia’s parliamentary elections was announced, the Oromia Liyu police raided the inauguration of an Oromia Liberation Front (OLF) office in Welenchiti, firing live bullets and tear gas, killing one OLF supporter who was a clothes vendor.

These brazen attacks show just how dangerous it is becoming to assemble and express political
stances in Ethiopia.
Seif Magango, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East and Southern Africa [More]

Ethiopia’s naive peacemaking could lead to war

by Michael Rubin | February 17, 2020 09:43 AM

Source: https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/ethiopias-naive-peacemaking-could-lead-to-war

That Abiy would risk such action for a photo-op suggests the Ethiopian prime minister puts ego above common sense and may be descending down the same path of self-destruction that led an earlier generation of African leaders to destroy their countries while glorifying themselves. For the sake of the region, let us hope that regional leaders, European officials, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will try to talk sense into Ethiopia’s egotistical leader before he makes a move, which can undo decades of progress and cost tens of thousands of lives. [More]

Drivers of ethnic conflict in contemporary Ethiopia

Drivers of ethnic conflict in
contemporary Ethiopia
Semir Yusuf
Source: https://issafrica.s3.amazonaws.com/site/uploads/mono-202-2.pdf


Executive summary

Over the past two years, Ethiopia has experienced both rapid political liberalisation and a surge in violent conflicts. The surge in violence is largely due to a rise in militant, competing ethnic nationalisms in the context of perceived fragility of state and party institutions. The two forces have been closely and cyclically influencing each other for decades.

Exclusivist and authoritarian political institutions since the imperial (1930–1974) and military (1974–1991) eras have played a role in the emergence and ripening of contending nationalisms in the country. Centralised but federated political institutions during the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) era have further complicated the nationalist scene by creating multiple lines of ethno-nationalist struggles in Ethiopia.

From mid-2010 onwards, rising competing ethno-nationalisms led to the relative weakening of party and state structures, resulting in the intensification of ethnic mobilisations. The outcome was deadly. At a micro level, security challenges and a concern for group worth have fuelled violence.

With the perceived fragility of the state and ruling party, elites have further exacerbated the conflicts for opportunistic reasons. The economic downturn has played a role both as a source of grievance – facilitating ethnic mobilisation – and also as a factor that makes it easier for some to engage in violence, since they feel they have little to lose.

To sustainably tackle the problem of violence in Ethiopia, the institutional and ideological context of the country must urgently be changed. The ruling party, the main actor in charge of the country’s political processes, needs transformation both within its constituent parties and the coalition as a whole. The constituent parties need to prioritise unity, with a clear negotiated vision and party discipline.

Then they need to strike a balance between their particular interests regarding their constituencies, and responsibility of the coalition as a whole. This is needed to maintain stability and ensure the country’s smooth transition. Reprioritising interests is of critical importance. Candid interparty discussions with a genuine attempt to incorporate the reasonable fears and demands of all parties into the transition process are vital. The EPRDF leadership should prioritise such negotiated deals over rushed party merger.

Moreover, inclusive political dialogue among other political actors is necessary to help detoxify the political environment and pave the way for effective state reconstruction. These forces must focus their efforts on concrete constitutional design options or public policy alternatives that could incorporate the reasonable interests and tackle the fears of all political groups. Contentious issues and agendas over borders, territorial disputes, minority rights and autonomy demands should be part of the wider exercise to restructure the state in an inclusive manner.

Finally, the state should reclaim its autonomy from mob influences; renegotiate and clarify the new intergovernmental power relations; and step up its ability to contain and prevent violent conflicts in a professional and human rights-sensitive manner.

Executive summary ......................................... [More]

Amnesty International: Ethiopian authorities crack down on opposition supporters with mass arrests


Ethiopia: Authorities crack down on opposition supporters with mass arrests

27 January 2020, 18:52 UTC

Source: https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2020/01/ethiopia-authorities-crack-down-on-opposition-supporters-with-mass-arrests/

Amnesty International has confirmed that at least 75 supporters of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) were arrested over the weekend from various places in different parts of Oromia Regional State, as Ethiopian authorities intensify the crackdown on dissenting political views ahead of the general elections.

The return of mass arrests of opposition activists and supporters is a worrying signal in Ethiopia. [More]

Urgent call to UN and international community: Appeal to stop the killings of innocent civilians in Oromia/Ethiopia

Urgent call to UN and international community
January 20, 2020

To: The United Nations Security Council
Office of the Ombudsperson
Room DC2 2206
United Nations
New York, NY 10017
United States of America
Tel: +1 212 963 2671
E-mail: ombudsperson@un.org

Subject: Urgent Appeal to stop the killings of innocent civilians in Oromia/Ethiopia

We, the undersigned Oromo Civic and Professional Organizations, write this letter to you, because we are seriously concerned about the violence in Oromia/Ethiopia resulting from the government’s deliberate military aggression and occupation under the command post in Wallaga, Gujii, Wollo and Borana zones of Oromia Regional State, and the violence against Oromo students at universities in Amhara Regional State. [More]

OSA: Responding to False Accusations

January 12, 2020
Dear Mr. Secretary General,

I am writing this letter to you on behalf of the Oromo Studies Association (OSA) out of grave concern about the false accusations made against the Oromo youth – Qeeroo by Mr. Eskinder Negga and Professor Getachew Haile. OSA is an independent international scholarly organization established thirty-five years ago to advance knowledge about Oromo history, sociology, economy, politics, culture, and public health. The formation of OSA was necessary because, until the 1980s, the Oromo history was written by non-Oromos who had neither adequate knowledge about the Oromo people or respect for their culture and worldviews. OSA was organized to correct the wrong narratives crafted by those authors and foster knowledge that advances the collective and individual rights of the Oromo people. The Oromo Studies Association is alarmed to hear from the media that a group of Ethiopians led by Mr. Eskinder Negga and Professor Getachew Haile have approached the UN, accusing the Oromo youth known as Qeerroo of having committed or are intending to commit genocide on the Amhara, who live in Oromia region and its capital city Finfinnee/Addis Ababa (hereafter Finfinnee) which is also the seat of the Federal Government of the Republic of Ethiopia. [More]

Nobel Peace Prize winner accused: Civilians are murdered and tortured

Source: https://www.expressen.se/nyheter/nobel-peace-prize-winner-accused-civilians-are-murdere



Ethiopias Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed recieves the Nobel Peace Prize tomorrow in Oslo.

But at the same time the security forces of this year's Nobel Peace laureate are being accused of quietly killing and torturing people from the Mursi, Bodi and Suri tribes in southern Ethiopia.

Expressen's reporter Torbjörn Selander travelled undercover to the region as a tourist and birdwatcher to investigate the accusations of serious crimes.

He met in secret with torture victims from the Mursi people. They testified about murder and beatings by government soldiers, about how they had to spend hours without water in the open under a burning sun, about how they were hung upside down while their feet were beaten with rebars.

– They urinated on me and I was forced to drink my own urin, one elderly victim tells Expressen. [More]

Double Standards: Ethiopia Must Solve its Internal Displacement Crisis


Source: The Global Post

IDPs in Ethiopia
Refugees are often protected under international conventions, but IDPs are governed by national laws. IDPs constitute a majority of the world’s forcibly displaced, and while they have the right to receive humanitarian assistance, the sovereignty of each nation often leads to unstandardized and substandard relief realities.

Ethiopia is no stranger to the displacement of its people due to bloody strife and natural disasters. During the last decades of the 20th century, most refugees in Africa came from Ethiopia, with approximately 2 million individuals in need of humanitarian aid or resettlement. Ethiopia was a net exporter of refugees.

Today, however, the picture is very different and much direr. In 2018 alone, within mere months, over 2 million people fled their homes to neighboring districts within the country due to violence. The number goes up to nearly 3 million if environment-related reasons are counted. Let’s put this in context. Ravaged by eight years of war, Syria now counts 6 million IDPs; Ethiopia accumulated a third of that in less than one year.

While Ethiopia is now a net importer of refugees, it worryingly has more than its fair share of domestically displaced persons. [More]

Oromo Communities’ Association of North America (OCA-NA) supports Qeerroo

Oromo Communities’ Association of North America
6212 3rd St NW,
Washington, DC 20011

December 10, 2019

We, members of the Oromo Communities’ Association of North America (OCA-NA), an umbrella organization of Oromo communities in the United States, strongly condemn the provocative and divisive campaigns by the so-called Baladera (Balderas) group and its supporters against the Oromo Qeerroo (youth) and the Oromo people in general. [More]

Middleman: A prime minister torn between rival camps is increasingly acting in his own interests

Source: https://www.ethiopia-insight.com/2019/12/18/middleman/

December 18, 2019
by Mebratu Kelecha

He just keeps swinging back and forth depending on the circumstances. Such efforts will not gain him long-term acceptance. This will, in turn, continue to shape his views, actions, and role in the transition. As his legitimacy is increasingly challenged by ethno-nationalists, he may be forced to definitively take a side—but beware, the jilted camp will not take rejection lying down, and Abiy is unlikely to respond meekly to challenges to his rule. [More]

Participating in a ‘Meddemer’ Principle or Perpetrating a Reign of Terror in Oromia?

By Imiru Itana 
16 Dec 2019
The Habesha ruled Oromia for nearly one hundred and fifty years. They occupied and dominated Oromia, subjugating the Oromo people. They plundered the properties of Oromo. Thousands were taken to prison and tortured and killed whereas the whereabouts of thousands remained unknown. Our forefathers perished in the hands of the brutal enemies; our fathers followed their footsteps and now our children too are paying heavy sacrifices of life in front of our own eyes in broad day light. What crime did the Oromo people commit to face such a suffrage? Are we cursed by who it may concern? No! It cannot be like that when still we are the most worshipers of different faiths. So, what is a problem? We have the tradition of easily forgetting enemy atrocities committed against us. We show too much sympathy towards those who hurt us because that is how we are. We do not follow the principle of zero tolerance unanimously when things go against our interest one after the other. We rush to accept deal wherever there is an offer of deal or no deal before testing it. Where does this lead us to, then? [More]

OSA President's letter to the PM of Ethiopia Dr Abiy Ahmed

November 3, 2019
Dr. Abiy Ahmed
Prime Minister
Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Office of the Prime Minster

Dear Prime Minster Abiy,

The OSA has been constructing and synthesizing knowledge on matters related to Oromia and the Horn of Africa. There is ample historical evidence that King Menelik II- the founder of the Ethiopian state and his army known as Neftegna policies were driven by a racist mindset and was responsible for hand and breast mutilation, the slave trade, genocide, and ethnic cleansing. The Haile Sellasie regime followed the footsteps of Menelik and was responsible for ethnic cleansing, evictions, dispossession of lands, and forceful assimilations. Glorifying those kings is adopting their motives and allowing the revival of racist views. When you publicly glorify Menelik and Haile Selassie, you are committing a grave mistake-because you are validating their racist views. Racism/chauvinism is a chronic problem in Ethiopia, and it is settled in the minds of the group who hold that view. The holders of such backward views do not see any wrong in their biased attitudes. Racist views are widely reproduced in formal and informal schools. The consequences of validating racist views are enormous, and some of them are listed in the following paragraph. [More]