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The Dictatorial and Predatory Ethiopian TPLF Regime Will Never Succeed in Instigating Conflicts Between The Sisterly Oromo And Sidama Nations! September 13, 2017

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

The Dictatorial and Predatory Ethiopian TPLF Regime Will Never Succeed in Instigating Conflicts Between The Sisterly Oromo And Sidama Nations!

SNLF Press Release, 12 September 2017

Sidama Nation Flag

 

The predatory Tigre Ethiopian Empire is crumbling from within and without. It is destroying itself from endemic economic and political corruption from within. The demise of the brutal regime is precipitated from without by the mass uprising of the majority Oromo nation who are demanding an end to the over a century of political and economic marginalization, and restoration of freedom, justice and self-rule in their vast Oromia land. The Oromo uprising has been continuing since 2015.

Instead of answering the legitimate question of the Oromo nation by granting them their inalienable democratic rights to self-determination, the TPLF regime embarked on desperate measures to cling onto illegitimate political power. It has also monopolised the economic aspects of the entire country. The political aspects in Oromia alone included, brutal massacre of over 1,500 peaceful Oromo protesters since 2015; mass imprisonment of over 60,000 Oromo civilians; imprisonments of the entire leadership of the Oromo Federalist Congress including the renowned Professor of Political Science, Marara Gudina and prominent politician, Bekele Gerba, as well as a dozen Sidama political activists including a prominent business person, Solomon Naayu, and Dawassa Daaka, most of whom are languishing in Qilinxo prison today.

When the regime realized its genocidal measures were insufficient to quell the mass uprising engulfing the entire country, it resorted to yet other barbaric measures of divide and rule among the sisterly oppressed nations. First, the TPLF trained, armed, aided and abetted the Somali militia to attack the innocent Oromo civilians causing death of hundreds of our Oromo brothers and sisters and destruction of properties since 2016. Using a mercenary puppet Ogadeni Somali regional renegade leader, the TPLF regime continues to relentlessly instigate conflicts between the two sisterly Ogadeni Somali and the Oromo nations as we speak. The TPLF regime is also perpetrating similar crime by mobilising a similarly downtrodden Gambella civilians to fight the Oromo nation.

Moreover, having failed to stir conflict between the Sidama and Oromo nations, the TPLF recently attempted to ignite instability in the border between the Sidama and Wolayita nations. The regime attempted to sow discord between the two nations over the 6 disputed villages (Kebeles) where the Sidama people lived for hundreds of years in peace with their Wolayita neighbours. The people on both sides understood and rejected the relentless attempt by the TPLF rogue empire to sow seeds of hatred and conflict among the two nations that lived side by side in peace for millennia.

The desperate and crumbling Tigre Ethiopian Empire seems to neither give in to the popular demands nor give up its genocidal acts of stirring conflicts among the various oppressed nations of the south. We also understand that the TPLF regime is instigating such conflicts in northern part of Ethiopia. In the past two months, the TPLF went deep into the eastern Sidama land where the people have lived together with their Oromo neighbours in peace and harmony for generations and attempted to ignite conflicts between the two peoples. TPLF’s attempts to ignite such conflicts between the Sidama and Oromo cousins have been foiled time and again, with wise and sensitive management of these attempts by the elders of both nations. Both nations have time and again rejected the plots of the TPLF regime as they wholly denounce its interference in their affairs.

However, in the past two months, the TPLF managed to cause unnecessary deaths and damage to the properties of the Sidama residents in eastern Sidama by aiding and abetting its local surrogates in Oromia as well as Sidama region to commit crimes against the will of the two sisterly peoples. Dozens of the Sidama citizens have been displaced from their homes.

The primary objective of the TPLF’s primitive divide and rule measures are sustaining the crumbling Tigre Empire by undermining the unity among the oppressed nations of the south. Therefore, the Sidama National Liberation Front (SNLF) understands that these measures are, further aimed specifically at weakening the Peoples’ Alliance for Freedom and Democracy (PAFD), the political movement that encompasses the Oromo, Sidama, Ogadeni Somali, Gambella and Banishangul and Gumuz nations that accounts for over 60% of the population and 70% of land mass of the empire.  However, we assure the TPLF regime that the unity among the oppressed nations of the south is rock solid, thus will never be dented by its primitive tactics of divide and rule.

Finally, the SNLF unconditionally condemns in the strongest possible terms the barbaric and relentless attempts by the Ethiopian TPLF regime to aid and abet genocide among the oppressed nations of the south. The sisterly Sidama and the Oromo nations will conquer once again any attempt to divide them. Our wise elders will ensure peace, stability and harmony not only between the sisterly Sidama and Oromo nations but among all Cushitic and other oppressed nations of the south and work hand in hand to hasten the demise of the predatory TPLF regime that has been plundering their resources and massacring their peoples for far too long.

Sidama National Liberation Front (SNLF),

September 12, 2017

Related:-

ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE: THE CURRENT STAGE OF THE TPLF-FASCISTS OF FAKE ETHIOPIA

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Morning Star: The Ethiopian Government Proxy war Retaliation against Oromo: Boarder Attacks September 7, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests, Uncategorized.
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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

The Ethiopian Government Proxy war Retaliation against Oromo: Boarder Attacks

The Ethiopian Government Proxy war Retaliation against Oromo: Boarder Attacks
          BY Najat Hamza
The Ethiopian Government Proxy war Retaliation against Oromo: Boarder Attacks
It is very hard to shed light on a human suffering when the world is bombarded with one tragic human history after another. The world has become a show case for various forms of violence, famine, indifference, greed and pure hate. It seems like mother nature has joined the destructive trends by unleashing the worst weather disasters known to us in recent years with more devastation to come. However, all of us come from a home, a place, people we call our own, my own place is Oromia. Oromia is a country fighting to survive. My people, Oromo have been fighting to restore their dignity and self-worth for generations under various Ethiopian regimes. The last 25 years under the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front is no different. We have fought to advance our right to life, to equality, to justice and to democracy on our own land and the fight still rages on.
In recent years Oromo people have resisted the dictatorial regime of Ethiopian in every way they can and still up in arms with it. People have taken it to the streets, they have boycotted government programs, markets, public meetings and tax hikes to show their dissent. The Ethiopian government answered their legitimate demands with more death, torture, disappearances, incarcerations, displacements and denial of necessities. These measures are taken against the Oromo people as an attempt to salience us once and for all. It is hard to care about one issue, in the world filled with nothing but chaos, nonetheless it is about unnecessary human suffering.
The complacency of Western government in this validated violence against the Oromo people and other ethnic groups all over Ethiopia will not be overlooked. The western enablers of a rotten regime unleashing unimaginable suffering on its own people is perplexing to say the least. It raises questions like, what is the geopolitical gain of the West for the complacency of this violence against innocent people? What does each Western country gain for turning a blind eye in this ethnic cleansing? How could one advocate for human rights and democracy and enable such a regime all at the same time? And many more questions that are even more harder to understand.
The boarder attack wages all over Oromia particularly East and West Hararge region is the result of retaliation against people who simply asked for their right to be respected. They are paying with their lives, limbs, incarcerations, rapes, displacements and hunger simply because they dared to ask for their God given rights. How can any of us show indifference to our brothers and sisters along the Oromian boarders while bullets rain on them daily? What would take for Oromo people to say we are in this together, we have to stand together, we must fight together and we will win together? Do we sit and wait for the bullets to come to each of our door steps to care? The suffering of one Oromo person is not enough to sound an alarm for those of us near and far? Why are Oromos on the boarder dying? You know why? Because they spoke for all of us, for Oromia, for each acre of land that makes Oromia a country that it is, that is why they are being sprayed with bullets.
The political differences between us about how to get to the mountain top should not be a hindering force for our progress nor should it be a catalyst for indifference. The current artificial bickering among us, character assassinations, name callings, and all destructive agendas will not allow us to serve the ultimate goal. The goal is to see a country we all call home from vultures of every kind past, present and the future. The goal is secure our home, so that generations that come after us will not be prosecuted simply for who they are. You can disagree, debate, and even walk away from ideas but what you should not do is turn it into smear campaign. It helps no one, particularly those we suppose to assist. Those who are standing in front of fire with their bodies to die for the same ideas we cannot even agree on.
The confusion of diaspora politics is having some effect in the way we respond to tragedies as they unfold. We suppose to help with, funds, advocacy and being moral supporters for the real heroes back home fighting for their survival. What are we doing we cannot contribute the bare minimum? What the use of our elaborate ideas if can turn to something practical that could help our people? Who is the hero? Who is dying? Why are they dying? What is our call? How do we serve the purpose? In what way can we serve the purpose? These are the questions we should ask ourselves, we are fortunate enough to be in someone else’s country, enjoying peace. We can use this advantage to help our people in an impactful way.
Oromia does not need leadership, a mouthpiece, or self-serving individuals from diaspora. What they need is a support system from us. A support system that can deliver financial, moral and political on the ground. They need a ground to stand on, to fight their own fight. We can be their ground, we can be their support, as soon as we understand it is never about us. It has always been about those who refuse to run from their country and fight try to make it better. It is about the Oromo people in Oromia. What are you going to do about that?

Related:

Najat Hamza speaking to Aljazera about the state sponsored political crackdown or Severe measure on peaceful protesters in ETHIOPIA , On Oromo people and many others ,We thank you for an amazing explanation of the crackdown by Ethiopian government within very short time!


Conversations in Ideas: Liyu Police and the Oromia-Ogaden Border Conflict August 28, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ethiopia: Elders From East Hararghe Call for an End to ‘Liyu Police Anarchy’ in Oromia – Stay-At-Home Strike Spreads Through the Region

Fascist Ethiopia’s regime (TPLF) paramilitary forces (Liyu Police) continues with its ethnic cleansing and genocide against Oromo people

New Report from State Department Details Widespread Human Rights Abuses in Ethiopia. #OromoProtests May 11, 2016

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New Report from State Department Details Widespread Human Rights Abuses in Ethiopia

Oakland Institute, 9 May 2016

Suruma people of the Omo Valley are being tortured by  fascist Ethiopia (Agazi) foreces because  they protested their land being taken for Sugar  plantation

 

Oakland, CA—The United States Department of State recently released its annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, including an in-depth account of the human rights situation in Ethiopia. The report confirmed many of the ongoing human rights violations that the Oakland Institute has detailed in Ethiopia, including: abuses associated with the Government’s villagization program; restrictions on basic freedoms of expression, assembly, association, movement, and religious affairs; restrictions on activities of civil society organizations; and more.

“The US State Department report confirms that countless human rights abuses are being perpetrated by the Ethiopian Government,” said Anuradha Mittal, Executive Director of the Oakland Institute. “It also highlights appalling issues associated with Ethiopia’s criminal system, such as the use of torture, a weak and politically influenced judiciary, life-threatening prison conditions, and the use of electric shocks and beatings to extract confessions.”

Caught in this horrific system are thousands of journalists, political opposition members, land rights defenders, students, and indigenous and religious leaders, who have been unlawfully detained and arrested under Ethiopia’s draconian Anti-Terrorism Proclamation.

Included in the State Department report are the cases of Ethiopian Muslim leaders, detained and charged under the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation for participating in protests for religious freedom; and of land rights defenders Omot Agway Okwoy, Ashinie Astin, and Jamal Oumar Hojele who were arrested en route to a food security conference in Nairobi and charged under the Anti-Terrorism law.

Countless more stories were not included in the report, including that of indigenous Anuak leader Okello Akway Ochalla, who was abducted in South Sudan and forcibly taken to Ethiopia, in complete violation of extradition treaties and international law, for speaking out about abuses perpetrated against the people of Gambella, Ethiopia. On April 27, 2016, after more than two years in jail, Mr. Okello was handed a nine year prison sentence.

“Over the past years, countless indigenous communities have been evicted from their land to make way for large-scale land grabs in Ethiopia,” commented Mittal. “These displacements are happening without the free, prior, and informed consent of the impacted populations, and when communities resist, they are forcibly removed by means of violence, rape, imprisonment, and the denial of humanitarian assistance, including food aid. To make matters worse, the people who stand up and fight for the rights of those communities – people like Mr. Okello and Pastor Omot – are being jailed. This must stop.”

“Ethiopia is the United States’ closest ally in Africa and the second largest recipient of US overseas development assistance in Africa,” she continued. “In these unique roles, the US has both the power and the moral responsibility to ensure that basic human rights and the rule of law are upheld in the country. Through its report, the United States acknowledges the widespread human rights violations taking place in Ethiopia. The question is: when will the US finally do something to address this egregious situation?”


http://www.oaklandinstitute.org/new-report-state-department-details-widespread-human-rights-abuses-ethiopia


 

Genocide in Ethiopia: Fascist Ethiopia’s Regime (TPLF) land robbery and its barbarism against Lower Omo Basin People. #OromoProtests #Africa March 6, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Land Grabs in Africa, Omo, Omo Valley.
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Suruma people of the Omo Valley are being tortured by fascist Ethiopia (Agazi) forces because they protested their land being taken for Sugar plantationSuruma people of the Omo Valley are being tortured by fascist Ethiopia (Agazi) foreces because they protested their land being taken for Sugar plantation Suruma people of the Omo Valley are being tortured by fascist Ethiopia (Agazi) forces because they protested their land being taken for Sugar plantation. p2Suruma people of the Omo Valley are being tortured by fascist Ethiopia (Agazi) forces because they protested their land being taken for Sugar plantation. p3


 

Exposed: Forced evictions in Ethiopia – what the UK government tried to cover up September 3, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia.
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Exposed: Forced evictions in Ethiopia – what the UK government tried to cover up.

Survival International, 3 September 2015

The UK government has tried to suppress evidence of gross human rights violations in Ethiopia's Lower Omo Valley, such as the forced resettlement of the Bodi and other tribes.

The UK government has tried to suppress evidence of gross human rights violations in Ethiopia’s Lower Omo Valley, such as the forced resettlement of the Bodi and other tribes.
© Nicola Bailey/ Survival, 2015

The U.K. government tried to suppress evidence of gross human rights abuses in Ethiopia to appease the government there, a new investigation by Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples’ rights, has revealed.

The key aid donors to Ethiopia, including the U.K.’s DFID, USAID and the European Union, sent two missions to the Lower Omo Valley in the south of the country in August 2014, to investigate whether tribes there were being forced off their land to make way for commercial plantations.

The U.K. authorities refused to release the missions’ reports under the Freedom of Information Act, saying their disclosure would significantly prejudice international relations. But Survival then appealed to the European Commission, which has released them.

The reports reveal:

– That the Ethiopian government has not obtained the consent of tribes of the Lower Omo to their resettlement;

– It has pressured and threatened them into leaving their lands – in some cases in fear for their lives;

– One tribal group told the donors, “before you come back next year, the government will come to kill and finish us”;

The reports of two donors missions to the Lower Omo Valley reveal that land grabs deny the tribes access to the river banks they need for cultivation.

The reports of two donors missions to the Lower Omo Valley reveal that land grabs deny the tribes access to the river banks they need for cultivation.
© Survival

– That land grabs associated with large scale plantations deny the tribes access to ancestral grazing and farming lands on which they depend for survival, and to the river banks they need for cultivation;

– On the conditions in one resettlement site the report states, “Their situation during our visit was deplorable; the absence of sanitation means the villagers are suffering from diseases such as bloody diarrhoea, malaria and unspecified headaches … Despite the dire circumstances in [name redacted], residents say the Government does not allow this impoverished and vulnerable group to move
out”;

– Donor guidelines designed to ensure that resettlement complies with international law have been routinely ignored.

Survival International has been urging the international donors to freeze further aid to the Lower Omo Valley until the human rights abuses are stopped, but virtually no action has been taken. The U.K.’s 2014-15 aid budget to Ethiopia exceeds £360 million.

Survival’s Africa campaigner Elizabeth Hunter said today, “It took DFID almost two years to investigate allegations of serious human rights violations in the Lower Omo. The reports it desperately tried to prevent the British public from reading show just how far it will go to cover up gross human rights abuses carried out by a regime which receives hundreds of millions of pounds of UK taxpayers’ money. While entire tribes are subjected to violence, the destruction of their homes and livelihoods, and the theft of their land on a staggering scale, the UK government turns a blind eye in the name of political and economic expediency.”

Background:

Around 200,000 tribal people live in the Lower Omo. Many have suffered from brutal repression, forced relocation, and prejudice from a government that views them as “backward” and in need of “modernization.” One expert has warned that the loss of their land and resources will lead to a “humanitarian catastrophe,” and one of the mission reports warns that the influx of more than 500,000 workers into the area is “likely to significantly increase the risk of conflict.”

Survival has received reports that the Kwegu are starving following the construction of the Gibe III dam.

Survival has received reports that the Kwegu are starving following the construction of the Gibe III dam.
© Survival International, 2012

The central findings of the donor missions were covered up in a letter to the Ethiopian government, published in February 2015. The letter sanitised the reports’ conclusions to the extent that the Ethiopian press was able to claim that the donor missions had “found no evidence of people being forced to move for either resettlement for agricultural development projects in the areas they visited,” and that it “found none of the problems claimed by Survival International or Human Rights Watch and others …”

In March 2015, Survival received disturbing reports that many of the small Kwegu tribe are starving as a result of the destruction of their forest and the death of their river following the construction of the Gibe III dam and associated irrigation schemes.

– Download the full reports of the donors’ visits to South Omo and Bench Maji in the Lower Omo Valley

http://www.survivalinternational.org/news/10894

Related:-

EU diplomats reveal devastating impact of Ethiopia dam project on remote tribes

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/sep/03/eu-diplomats-reveal-devastating-impact-of-ethiopia-dam-project-on-remote-tribes?CMP=share_btn_fb

Ecologist: USAID, the UK’s DFID and the World Bank are among those covering up for Ethiopia’s war on indigenous People July 22, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Land and Water Grabs in Oromia, Land Grabs in Africa, Land Grabs in Oromia, Omo Valley.
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???????????Gibe (Omo) valley

“The Mursi were told by government officials that if they didn’t sell off their cattle, the cattle would be injected with poison. This caused the Mursi in the north to leave their best cultivation land on the Omo River and in the grasslands in order to protect their cattle. They’ve lost three annual harvests so far as a result.”

US, UK, World Bank among aid donors complicit in Ethiopia’s war on indigenous tribes

Will Hurd, Ecologist, 22nd July 2015

USAID, the UK’s DFID and the World Bank are among those covering up for severe human rights abuses against indigenous peoples in Ethiopia’s Omo Valley, inflicted during forced evictions to make way for huge plantations, writes Will Hurd. Their complicity in these crimes appears to be rooted in US and UK partnership with Ethiopia in the ‘war on terror’.

The Mursi were told by government officials that if they didn’t sell off their cattle, the cattle would be injected with poison. This caused the Mursi in the north to leave their best cultivation land on the Omo River and in the grasslands.

In the fall of 2012 my cell phone rang. It was an official from Department for International Development, DFID – the UK government aid agency. He implored me to remove his name from a transcript of an audio recordingI’d translated. He worried he might lose his job, which would hurt his family.

I’d translated for this official and his colleagues, both from DFID and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), during a joint visit they made, in January 2012, to the Lower Omo Valley of Southwest Ethiopia.

They wanted to talk to members of the Mursi and Bodi ethnic groups about a controversial government sugar development project. DFID was indirectly helping to fund the forced eviction and resettlement of thousands of people affected by this project, through a World Bank-organized funding program called ‘Promoting Basic Services’ (PBS).

DFID was the biggest state contributor to this program, which had also been accused of indirectly funding resettlement of Anuak in the nearby Gambella region. In Gambella, vast land leases were being given to international and domestic companies. During the visit to the Omo Valley, I turned on an audio recorder.

What struck me about the phone conversation with the DFID official was how much concern he had for his own livelihood and family, and how little concern he and DFID were showing for the hundreds, or even thousands, of families in the Omo Valley.

I acted on his request and left him unnamed.

Aid to ‘help the poor’ opens the way to international agribusiness

The resettlements were happening to clear the land for industrial-scale, international and national, companies. The donors deny a connection between the resettlements and the land leases, but the connection is all too obvious.

The behemoth Gibe III dam is under construction upstream on the Omo River. Its control of the river’s water level allows irrigation dams and canals to be built in the Omo Valley for plantations.

PBS is a $4.9 billion project led by the World Bank, with UK and other funding, under the guiding hand of the Development Assistance Group (DAG). The DAG is 27 of the world’s largest donor organizations, including 21 national government aid agencies.

The full membership of the DAG comprises: the African Development Bank, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, European Union, FAO, Finland, France, Germany, IMF, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain (AECID), Sweden, Switzerland, Turkish International Cooperation Agency (TIKA), UK (DFID), UNDP, UNESCO, USAID, and the World Bank.

It is supposed to provide teacher and health worker salaries and water development in these resettlement sites. This is controversial in itself-only providing services to people who move off their land into resettlement sites – but some of the money was used by the Ethiopian government to pay for implementation of the resettlement scheme.

DFID and the DAG say that this resettlement plan is entirely about providing services to the people. If they believe this, they gravely misunderstand the aims of the Ethiopian Government, which have to do with political control.

Ethiopia’s long-standing plan to pin down the pastoralists

Most of the groups targeted in the southwest are people who depend on cattle and tend to move with the cattle-pastoralists. Pastoralists are difficult for governments to control. For the last 118 years pastoral peoples in the Omo Valley have successfully dodged many of the abuses suffered by settled agricultural tribes in the region, at the hands of the state.

The pastoralists simply gathered their cattle together and moved away, returning when government forces had left. With the help of the DAG, the government is now planning, finally, to pin the pastoralists down in resettlement sites.

David Turton, an anthropologist who has worked in the Omo Valley for more than 45 years, warned me about the possible motives of DFID and USAID for visiting the Omo at that particular time – January 2012.

“They may be reacting to the recent Human Rights Watch report which severely criticized their role in resettlement activities in Gambella”, he wrote. “It’s known that Human Rights watch is planning a report on the Omo, which is likely to be equally critical.

“So, by going to the Omo now, DFID and USAID will be able to argue that they have been keeping ‘a close eye’ on events there. In other words, their trip may have more to do with protecting their own backs against politically embarrassing revelations than with protecting the human rights of the Mursi and Bodi.”

But I’d once had a good experience with the World Bank, when it refused to give money to a conservation organization that was threatening to evict indigenous people from their land in the Omo Valley. I thought it might do good to show these aid agencies the gravity of the situation.

Off to the Omo Valley

We set off in a Land Rover through the grasslands of the Omo Valley. We stopped in a small Mursi village and arranged a meeting with approximately 40 Mursi. At the beginning, a Mursi man asked me, “Did you bring these people?” meaning did I vouch for them. “Yes”, I said.

This let the Mursi feel they could speak freely. DFID and USAID heard many accounts from the Mursi of forced eviction, beatings, rape, and coercion in agreements with the government. Some of these accounts were firsthand. We went on to a Bodi village and heard much the same thing.

Here is a translator telling what the Bodi next to him said:

“This man used to live in the Usso area. In that place one was able to grow a lot of grain … The government has thrown him out of his place and he doesn’t know what to do. His former place is behind that mountain. He says they are going to give it to someone else, a plantation investor.”

The accounts were irrefutable and I thought they must cause the donors to act. Months went by and the donors said they could not substantiate human rights violations in the Gambella region. But they had refused to visit Anuak refugees, although invited by the Anuak themselves, who had been evicted from their land in Gambella.

These Anuak were now living in refugee camps in Kenya and Sudan where they could have spoken of their experiences without fear of government reprisal. I was worried that the donors would also say they could find no evidence of violations in the Omo Valley.

So, I wrote DFID and USAID asking if anything had been done. I told them I had the tape recording transcripts. Had they taken this up with the DAG? I got the above call from a DFID official, after which they stopped responding to emails.

The donors report

Later DFID and USAID said in their report that the allegations of human rights abuses they had heard during their visit to the Omo Valley “could not be substantiated”.

The then British Minister for Overseas Development, Justine Greening, reported the same to UK Parliament. DFID and USAID had used the Mursi and Bodi to protect their reputation, and the reputation of the Ethiopian government.

But I had the tape recording.

At this time, there was strong disagreement between the reports that Human Rights Watch had published out about resettlement in the Gambella region, and the accounts that members of the DAG were putting out of their investigative trips to the same region.

Human Rights Watch was on the ground as the resettlement was being implemented and they also visited Anuak who had fled to refugee camps outside Ethiopia. From both populations they received reports that forced evictions, murders, and beatings had occurred.

The DAG, on the other hand, was saying it could not substantiate any human rights abuses. So, where was the disconnect?

One of the translators for the DAG investigation in Gambella said the communities had told DAG “to their face” of the human rights abuses. But still DAG reported nothing. What was important about the audio recording I’d made was it showed the inside of this investigation process by DAG, and it wasn’t pretty.

I heard in detail about one of the subsequent DAG trips in the Omo Valley in early August, 2013. Ethiopian government representatives had gone to a village in Bodi and told them they were bringing foreigners to ask what the Bodi thought of the resettlement.

The Bodi said, “This is good. When they come we will tell them the truth! How you swindle us, what you did wrong and about the people who abused us. We will tell it straight!” Some days later the villagers saw the caravan of aid agency officials and government officials drive past, on their way to another village.

Pushback

I published the recordings, HRW published a report about abuses in the Omo Valley, the World Bank Inspection Panel investigated the Bank’s resettlement program in Ethiopia, and earlier this year the tide began to turn. DFID pulled its funding from the PBS program.

The World Bank Inspection Panel report on the PBS program was also leaked. It contained damning evidence of human rights violations, and although the World Bank rejected the report findings, World Bank president Jim Yong Kim admitted to serious flaws with its resettlement programs.

This is all to the good, as the aid agencies have been faced with the consequences of their actions, but it doesn’t mean there are any protections for the ethnic groups of Southwest Ethiopia. The plantations and dam are moving ahead as before.

In April, reports surfaced that the Kwegu, the smallest ethnic group in the Omo Valley, were starving. They were not able to grow crops below an irrigation dam the government constructed on the Omo River for its sugarcane plantations. The Kwegu were giving their children to the cattle-herding Bodi to look after, so the kids would have milk to drink.

How can a $4.9 billion program be implemented and leave people starving? The answer, I think, is aid may not be the primary function of some of these organizations. Aid often is a way of paying a foreign government to provide a service for the country ‘giving’ the aid.

The long strings attached to aid

The US government needs Ethiopia as a stable and strategic place to carry out military operations in ‘the War on Terror’ in East Africa and the Middle East. The Horn of Africa has long been Washington’s ‘back-door of the Middle East’. The US now has a drone base in Arba Minch, with range to Somalia and Yemen. Arba Minch is not so far from Mursi territory. Aid has a long history of murky dealings.

In 1990, when the US was trying to get clearance from the UN to attack Iraq in the Gulf War, it bribed many UN member states for ‘yes’ votes with debt relief, gifts of weapons, and other things. When Yemen defied US wishes and voted against the attack, a senior American diplomat declared, “That was the most expensive ‘no vote’ you ever cast.” In three days, a $70 million USAID project was cancelled to one of the world’s poorest countries.

On its website, DFID explained its decision to pull its funding from the PBS Program as follows: “Recognising Ethiopia’s growing success, the UK will now evolve its approach by transitioning support towards economic development to help generate jobs, income and growth.”

But in the UK High Court where it was fighting a case brought against it by an Anuak refugee, ‘Mr O’. DFID said that it had pulled out of the PBS Program because “of ongoing concerns related to civil and political rights at the level of the overall partnership in Ethiopia … and continued concerns about the accountability of the security services.”

The DAG published a letter to the Ethiopian government on its website in February this year, in which it reported on visits it had made in August, 2014 to the Omo Valley and Bench Maji Zone. In this letter, it announced that it had found “no evidence of the Ethiopian Government forcibly resettling people.”

The truth is very different

Many more Bodi and Mursi have been imprisoned since the plantations started. Some were imprisoned after disagreeing with plantation and resettlement plans in meetings. Bodi cultivation sites and Mursi grain stores were bulldozed against their wishes.

Bodi have been in armed conflict with the police and military about the plantations. The Bodi were forbidden by the government to plant at the Omo River and told to move into the resettlement sites. When food aid didn’t arrive they went to plant against government wishes.

The Mursi were told by government officials that if they didn’t sell off their cattle, the cattle would be injected with poison. This caused the Mursi in the north to leave their best cultivation land on the Omo River and in the grasslands in order to protect their cattle. They’ve lost three annual harvests so far as a result.

Thousands of acres of Bodi territory were taken for the plantations and the Bodi ended up with small plots of land with no shade. When the Bodi left these plots, the government took them back for sugarcane. The DAG missed all of this. When are the DAG aid agencies going to start aiding the people of the Omo Valley, and Gambella, instead of participating in their demise?

Ethiopia has the right, and need, to develop its economy and industries, but impoverishing some of its most vulnerable people in the process is counterproductive.

The Mursi and Bodi have been trying to implement the Mursi-Bodi Community Conservation Area. This would capitalize on the already abundant tourism and wildlife in the area, in conjunction with Omo and Mago National Parks. If the government were to approve this, and let it be fully implemented, it may provide benefits for both local people and state.

 


 

Will Hurd lived in Ethiopia for eight years, primarily with the Mursi of the Southwest, who are now threatened by a 175,000 hectare sugar plantation. He speaks the Mursi language. He is director of the small non-profit, Cool Ground.

http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2951671/us_uk_world_bank_among_aid_donors_complicit_in_ethiopias_war_on_indigenous_tribes.html

 

“JUSTICE, FREEDOM AND EQUALITY FOR MAJENGER AND ALL NILOTIC PEOPLE OF ETHIOPIA” June 23, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley.
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???????????

“JUSTICE, FREEDOM AND EQUALITY FOR MAJENGER AND ALL NILOTIC PEOPLE OF ETHIOPIA”

Gambella
Press Release
May 22nd 2015, Gambella

Gambella Nilotes United Movement (GNUM) strongly condemns the TPLF/EPRDF killings of the Mezenger people of Southwest Ethiopia. The massacre of Mezenger people has now escalated and spread to all neighbouring villages of Sheka, Surma, Bench and Menit tribes in the Southern Nations Nationalities and People Regional State. The massacre is jointly carried out by the federal police forces, ENDF (Ethiopian National Defence Force) and the illegal settlers (highlanders) in Teppi and Metti towns Godere Zone of the Gambella region. It has started in September 2014 and so far no investigation and action taken against the perpetrators to stop the massacre. Since January 2015 the killing intensified and all villages of Majengirs and neighbouring villages destroyed and all people from these villages went into bush leaving behind their belongings without anything to support their livelihood. However, attempted to return home from the bush is killed, chanting that the monkey has come home to live with human beings.

As our sources from the ground indicates so far more than 120 Mezenger are reported dead and the killing is indiscriminate against children, women and men. It is a systematic genocide to exterminate the Mezenger people, as many of their educated ones were packed into prison without any trial in the court. To weaken the power of Mezenger people, the police forces from the local community were disarmed and they were replaced with ENDF to manoeuvre the plan successfully and take over the land from Mezenger people. In addition to this the Kwegu and Hamer people are being displaced from their land and many more killed by the Ethiopian government because of sugar plantation project of Hailemariam Desalegn. Likewise, the Hamer tribe is now engaged in full scale war with the government soldiers in resistance to land grabbing and forced displacements.

The sugar plantation project in the South Omo zone has been carried out without the consultation of local community. The people of Southern Ethiopian should not be deceived by the leadership of the current prime minister because he is from the region. As he was baptized by the deceased Prime Minister Meles for the post he should be known for his hatred against the indigenous Nilotes in the southern region for which he can manipulate the system and exterminate the tribes.

The people of Majengers and other Nilotic people of South west Ethiopian have been in constant conflicts and frustration with the Ethiopian government and illegal settlers from the north, and the loss of land has been in alarming rates as clearing of the forests by commercial investors and the illegal settlers continue to surge. Since EPRDF took over, the Mezenger people were killed in 1993, 2001 and the current one of 2014/2015. The current massacre is worst of all kind as it has devastated and destroyed the properties of people and forced people to flee their land.

GNUM will continue to fight for justice, equality and freedom of the indigenous Nilotes to ensure their full recognition and identity in their land. The TPLF/EPRDF government is a racist government that puts ethnic conflicts as means to prosper its own people to settle in the southwest regions. It is a government that cares only for its citizens from Tigrai region, and it should be resisted strongly by all means as racist and divisive.

GNUM also call upon the international community to investigate the killings of Majengers and other Nilotic people of southwest Ethiopia through their body, and force the perpetrators to be brought to justice. We call upon all the donors to withhold their funds from the TPLF government to make sure their funds are not used to perpetuate the killings against the innocent indigenous populations. Further, we also strongly ask the international community to analyse and make serious investigation toward the root cause of the increasing killings against the indigenous populations in Southwest Ethiopia and come up with strong recommendations and actions for maximum self determination as the only lasting solution to protect the life of the indigenous populations.

Therefore, GNUM would like to call upon all the indigenous Nilotes to unite themselves as one people and resist and fight the racist TPLF/EPRF government to protect their land.

In conclusion the Gambella Nilotes United Movement (GNUM) will continue it struggle for all people of Gambella and all the South-western Nilotes to ensure freedom, liberty, justice, security and prosperity are brought to people in their God given lands.

“All Nilotic People Should Stand Together and Fight As One to Overthrow TPLF/EPRDF Government from Their Land”

Gambella Nilotes United Movement/Army

Central Committee

Our contact:                   gambellagnuma@yahoo.com   OR

gambellagnuma@gmail.com

http://www.ayyaantuu.net/justice-freedom-and-equality-for-majenger-and-all-nilotic-people-of-ethiopia/

Survival International Reports surface of ‘massacre’ of Hamar people in Omo valley June 9, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Omo, Omo Valley.
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??????????? survival international

Without our land we are not people

Reports surface of ‘massacre’ of Hamar tribespeople in Ethiopia

 Survival International, 5 June 2015

Hamar family outside their home in Ethiopia's Lower Omo Valley

Hamar family outside their home in Ethiopia’s Lower Omo Valley
© Magda Rakita/Survival

Survival International has received reports that violent conflict between Ethiopian soldiers and Hamar pastoralists has left dozens dead. The Hamar, like the other tribes of the Lower Omo Valley, are victims of the government’s policy of “villagization.” They are being evicted to roadside villages without their consent, and their ancestral grazing lands are being sold off to investors for commercial plantations. These land grabs have already led to starvation in some parts of the Lower Omo Valley. Tensions have been rising as a result of these evictions and, at the end of May, Hamar were reportedly attacked by soldiers with mortars and semi-automatic weapons. A news blackout imposed by the government makes it impossible to know the exact number of casualties, but one expert has referred to what took place as a “massacre.”

Hamar children, Omo Valley

Hamar children, Omo Valley
© Survival

Some observers have also linked the violence to the failure of the government to investigate the alleged rape of Hamar girls by local government officials, and to the prosecution of Hamar men for hunting on their ancestral homelands. For several years, evictions have been accompanied by other serious human rights abuses in the Lower Omo Valley, including beatings, rape and arbitrary arrest. One Hamar refugee told Survival, “The government told us that if we don’t give into them we will be slaughtered in public like goats.” In response to Survival’s campaign, international donors to Ethiopia visited the region in August 2014. However, they have yet to release the reports from their investigation, despite formal requests by Survival to the European Union and the UK and US governments to do so. Reports indicate that the soldiers are still in the Lower Omo and are now threatening the Mursi and Bodi, the Hamar’s neighbors, with violence. According to one indigenous person currently in the region, “They say they will kill us. We are now crying a lot. Crying to ourselves.”

 More at: http://www.survivalinternational.org/news/10802

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Land Wars: Ethiopia Accused of Massacring Civilians to Clear Way for Foreign Farms. #Oromia for Sale November 11, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Ethnic Cleansing, Land and Water Grabs in Oromia, Land Grabs in Africa, Land Grabs in Oromia, Omo Valley, Oromia.
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OLand grab inOromiaBecause I am Oromo

“In Africa, Ethiopia is at the forefront of
handing out land.”
–Jon Abbink, Anthropologist

http://www.oaklandinstitute.org/sites/oaklandinstitute.org/files/Report_EngineeringEthnicConflict.pdf

Land Wars: Ethiopia Accused of Massacring Civilians to Clear Way for Foreign Farms

By Lara White,

Vice News

November 10, 2014

https://news.vice.com/article/land-wars-ethiopia-accused-of-massacring-civilians-to-clear-way-for-foreign-farms?utm_source=vicenewsfb

 

WARNING: This article contains disturbing images

Ethiopia, one of the world’s hungriest countries, is selling off vast chunks of its land to foreign investors who are growing food products for export — and those who get in the government’s way are being killed or silenced, according to a new investigation.

Under the country’s controversial “villagization” scheme, huge populations of farming communities are being moved out of their homes on land eyed for development and into new settlements built by the government. Residents not lured out by promises of better infrastructure and services are often forced to go against their will, and resistance often brings violence or intimidation into acquiescence or exile, US-based rights group the Oakland Institute says in a report due for release on Monday.

Now, for the first time, pictures obtained exclusively by VICE News appear to show evidence of the widespread atrocities and abuses being reported by farming communities and minority groups across the country.

An image of a Suri tribe member said to have been of the alleged February 2012 massacre

The pictures were sent to the Institute in April 2012, and are said to depict a massacre carried out by government officials and members of the ethnic Dizi group on behalf of the Ethiopian state against the Suri, one of Ethiopia’s many ethnic indigenous farming groups, in the market town of Maji in February that year.

Since 2010, it is estimated that the government’s “growth and transformation plan” has relocated 1.5 million people into village settlements, rights groups say. The areas afflicted include the Gambella, Afar, Somali, Lower Omo, and Benishangul-Gumuz regions, where local tribes do not have formal land rights. At the same time, huge tracts of land are being sold to investors for development. So far, it is estimated that the government has sold off the rights to 26 percent of Ethiopia’s farmland.

The Suri people own large amounts of cattle and travel through a rapidly shrinking area in southwestern Ethiopia grazing their animals. The land they traditionally use has been sold to investors operating the Koko plantation, a Malaysia-backed project that exports palm oil and other food and farming products. According to testimonies taken by the Oakland Institute, the dispute that led to the reported massacre stems from an incident when three government officials, policemen from the Dizi ethnic tribe, were killed as they attempted to mark areas within a Suri community into which the Koko plantation was expanding.

A few days later, in an apparent act of retaliation, between 30 and 50 Suri men and women were allegedly killed with machetes and stones at a Saturday market in the town of Maji. The bodies were then dumped in a nearby stream. The Oakland Institute said: “It has not been possible to confirm the precise numbers of dead since no police report was filed.”

The pictures prompted an investigation that is detailed in a report by the Oakland Institute scheduled for publication at 9am PST (5pm GMT) on Monday. The investigators encountered many difficulties, they said, as it was “clear that the Suri fear retaliation for speaking out against the government.”

The Institute said the alleged killings show how the state is exploiting complicated, historic ethnic tensions between the Dizi and Suri by employing men from Dizi communities as policemen and local government officials, and tasking them with clearing the Suri communities off the land they have relied on for 300 years.

Maji market, site of the alleged massacre. Image via Katie Sharp

The interviewees are identified only by their initials as the fear of reprisals is great. Activists say the penalty for smuggling this type of information out of Ethiopia can be death. Rights groups in the UK say their contacts inside the country have been arbitrarily arrested and held in torturous conditions for apparent crimes of “communications.” The electronic war Ethiopia has waged against some of its citizens has been reported by Felix Horn from Human Rights Watch.

Speaking to VICE News, Horn said the scale of intimidation is difficult to overestimate. Gaining access to the areas afflicted is almost impossible and telephone lines are problematically easy to trace.

“When you are permitted access to key areas, individuals are terrified to speak to foreign NGOs or journalists. And rightfully so — many Ethiopians are harassed or detained for doing exactly that. In addition, the CSO Law has decimated the ability of local groups to monitor rights abuses — all of which makes Ethiopia one of the most difficult countries in Africa to do meaningful human rights research.”

The use of the CSO Law as a means of denying fundamental rights, tempering freedoms and jailing journalists has been documented. Reports of massacres, rape and forced relocations have been slowly emerging over the past few years, but pictorial evidence has not existed in a credible form.

Anuradha Mittal, the executive director of the Oakland Institute, said it was clear the government’s villigization scheme was creating new tribal conflicts by exploiting old ones, as communities are being forced to compete for the remaining land and water across the country.

She told VICE News the facts were being ignored by the international community, which funds the Ethiopian regime to the tune of $3.2 billion each year.

An image purporting to show a Suri victim of the alleged Maji massacre

“The donors are well aware of the situation on the ground and have chosen to turn a blind eye to gross human rights abuses by their closest ally in Africa.”

Reports of abuses are widespread, having been documented by Human Rights WatchAmnesty International, and, most comprehensively, by those behind Monday’s report.

As a result of the growing catalogue of evidence, this year the US Senate included provisions to ensure American aid was diverted away from projects “associated with forced evictions.” Though this admission has been welcomed by campaigners, it remains painfully unclear how this will actually be achieved. Those US and UK citizens who paid their taxes last year gave approximately $600 million and £200 million to the Ethiopian government respectively. Almost 10 percent of funding in Ethiopia comes from aid.

A site on Maji’s outskirts where bodies were found following the alleged massacre. Image via Katie Sharp

There have been other accounts of similar instances of violence by the Ethiopian government against the Suri people. An unverified feature on CNN’s iReport, included pictures purported to be of an alleged December 2012 massacre which claimed the lives of 147 people. The writer described the aftermath of a dispute over land that was said to have been sold to a gold mining company:

“The dead bodies are buried in mass graves deep inside Dibdib forest and some bodies were transported to gold mining holes not far from the Dibdib forest.

Some bodies were left out and eaten by vultures and predators. Most of the children were thrown into Akobo River.

After the massacre, the army sent warnings all around the area that if anyone reports about this, the army will do things to these people who report, and more, even worse, things to the Suri.”

The CNN reported could not be verified by VICE News. The picture evidence does not appear to match the massacre described, according to researchers, and the claims have not been independently corroborated. The person who wrote the report is thought to be still inside the country.

Nyikaw Ochalla, a UK-based activist with Anywaa Survival Organization told VICE News it was important to see the alleged massacre in Maji as part of a wider assault. “I saw the pictures and I think it is the reality of what is taking place in Ethiopia right now. The pastoralists are being denied their livelihood and their land is being leased out to foreign investors without their knowledge or consent.”

An image said to show corpses piled up following the alleged market massacre

He also stressed the risks associated with reporting atrocities, both to him and others outside the country, and, most gravely, to those inside. One of his contacts from Gambella is currently being detained in a prison hundreds of miles away in Addis Ababa. “He was not told why he was detained, but (during his) torture it was revealed it was because he had been communicating with me.”

Ochalla was just one interviewee for this report who said they were concerned their communications were being monitored.

The Ethiopian embassy did not respond to questions from VICE News on the Maji market massacre allegations. A UK government spokesman issued a statement saying they “regularly raise human rights with the relevant authorities, including at the highest level of the Ethiopian government.” They also said they were limited in what they could comment on, as the UK Department for International Development (DFID), which handles aid distribution, is being taken to court by an Ethiopian man from another ethnic tribe who says that he was forced off his land and that his community endured atrocities similar to those depicted here.

The British High Court will hear the case of Mr O, now a refugee living in Kenya, early next year. His lawyer Rosa Curling told VICE News the case will challenge the government’s “ongoing failure to properly asses whether UK aid money has been involved in Ethiopia’s villagization program, a program which had a devastating effect on our client and his family.”

Ngo Hole, a member of the Suri tribe killed in the alleged massacre, who previously appeared in a Spanish reality TV show. Image via Katie Sharp.

Mittal said the pictures show how Mr O’s story is being replicated all over the country, and called on the international community to act in the face of mounting evidence. “It is time for the US government, other donors, and international institutions to take a strong stand to ensure aid in the name of development is not contributing to the ongoing atrocities nor supporting the forced displacement of people. “She stressed the Suri are not the only ones being targeted: “Anuaks, Majang in Gambella, Mursi, Bodis, Nyongtham and several other groups in lower Omo and around the country are equally impacted.”

The plantation whose operations prompted the alleged massacre is now reported to have closed down, earlier this year. It is unclear whether the Suri have been allowed back to their land to grow their food, in a country where almost half of the population is malnourished. The government of Ethiopia appears to have done a remarkable job in suppressing dissent, jailing journalists and preventing those with evidence of abuse from letting the donor community know what their taxes are funding.

See the full report of  t the Oakland Institute @ http://www.oaklandinstitute.org/sites/oaklandinstitute.org/files/Report_EngineeringEthnicConflict.pdf

See also Amnesty International’s Report, ” Because I am Oromo” @ http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AFR25/006/2014/en