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“The solution for Ethiopia is not in spying over political dissenters like us, it is in listening to the people and meeting their demands” Habte said.


The Ethiopian government has allegedly carried out a spyware campaign targeting dissidents living abroad, including in the U.K., a report has claimed.

Canada-based research group Citizen Lab alleged that Ethiopian dissidents were targeted with emails containing “sophisticated commercial spyware posing as Adobe Flash updates and PDF plugins”.

The report further claimed that Ethiopia used a commercial spyware product manufactured by Israel-based Elbit Systems Ltd to spy on dissidents.

Those targeted included dissidents from the Oromo community, one of Ethiopia’s largest ethnic groups, the U.S.-based media outlet Oromo Media Network as well as one of the researchers conducting the investigation.

Etana Habte, an Oromo activist and PhD candidate and Senior Teaching Fellow at SOAS, University of London, was also targeted.

He believes the government allegedly targeted him to identify people behind protests in Ethiopia’s Oromia state, which was rocked by months-long demonstrations, some of which turned deadly.

“By spying over us they mainly want to identify a wide circle of people who communicate with us on the movement at home,” he told Newsweek.

“They wanted to break into our privacy, collect information from our communications with one another, because they believe the leadership of Oromo Protests communicates with us.

“The solution for Ethiopia is not in spying over political dissenters like us, it is in listening to the people and meeting their demands” Habte said.

The Ethiopian embassy in London has not responded to a request for a comment on the allegations.

Ethiopian Communications Minister Negeri Lencho declined to comment on the report, according to Reuters.

Researchers said their findings raised questions on Elbit’s human rights due diligence practices.

The company said in a statement: “The intelligence and defenses agencies that purchase these products are obligated to use them in accordance with the applicable law.” It added that it only sell products to defense, intelligence, national security and law enforcement agencies approved by the Israeli government.

Deadly protests explained

Oromia protests
People mourn the death of Dinka Chala who was shot by Ethiopian forces in the Yubdo Village, about 100 kilometers from Addis Ababa in the Oromia region, on December 17, 2015. Dinka Chala was accused of protesting, but his family says he was not involved. Oromia was rocked by months-long protests, some of which turned deadly.ZACHARIAS ABUBEKER/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Demonstrations started in Oromia in late 2015, where people initially protested over government plans to expand the territory of the capital Addis Ababa, with farmers raising concerns that increasing the size of the city would lead to forced evictions and loss of farming land.

The government later scrapped the plans, but protests continued. Oromo people argued for a greater inclusion in the political process and the release of political prisoners.

The protests, labelled as the biggest anti-government unrest the country has witnessed in recent history, later spread to Amhara and the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR) region.

The unrest continued throughout 2016.

Last October, the government implemented a six-month-long state of emergency, which was further extended by four months in March, to tackle the unrest.

Critics of the state of emergency claimed the government was trying to quell protests by, among other things, restricting freedoms and banning certain media outlets, including the Oromia Media Network. The government denied the allegations.

Rights groups have criticizied Ethiopia for the way it handled protests, accusing the military and the police of using excessive force to quell demonstrations.

The response to the unrest resulted in the death of at least 669 people, a figure the government confirmed in a report released in April.

While the country’s Human Rights Commission recommended prosecution of some police officers, it maintained that the overall response by security forces was adequate.



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Ethiopians may have experienced a frustrating sense of déjà vu when they tried to log on to social media or use the internet on their cellphones Wednesday.

That’s because the Ethiopian government has terminated mobile internet connectivity, a tactic the administration has used repeatedly in recent years to quell anti-government sentiment.

Ethiopia’s deputy communications minister, Zadig Abrha, confirmed to AFP on Wednesday that “mobile data has been deactivated,” but declined to provide any further information. The country’s sole telecommunications provider, the state-owned Ethio Telecom, has also refused to comment.

Preliminary data from Google showed a dramatic fall in search traffic from the Horn of Africa country from Tuesday afternoon, which did not appear to have returned to normal by Wednesday evening. It is unclear whether both mobile and fixed internet connections were blocked, but the majority of Ethiopians who do use the internet do so on mobile devices: The country has 11.95 mobile-broadband subscriptions per 100 people, compared to 0.66 fixed-broadband subscriptions, according to the International Telecommunications Union.

Read more: Ethiopian athlete urges the world to help stop “persecution of Oromo people”

Julie Owono, the director of Paris-based internet freedom organization Internet Sans Frontières (ISF), says that the latest reports she has received were that internet connectivity had returned by Thursday morning, but that connectivity was not stable or fast. Owono tells Newsweek that access to some social media websites remains restricted.

Despite being one of Africa’s fastest-developing economies, Ethiopia has an extremely low internet penetration rate of just 2.9 percent, according to U.S. NGO Freedom House; in neighboring Kenya, penetration stands at 43 percent.

Internet access has been patchy since the government imposed a six-month state of emergency following a year of protests that were concentrated in the Oromia region, surrounding the capital Addis Ababa, and resulted in hundreds of protesters being killed by security forces. (The state of emergency was extended by four months in March.)

Ethiopia telecoms office

A woman walks past an Ethio Telecom office in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, on November 9, 2015. Ethiopia only has one telecommunications provider and a very low internet penetration rate.TIKSA NEGERI/REUTERS

This time, the internet shutdown appears to be linked to university entrance exams taking place across the country this week. Around the same time in 2016, Ethiopia blocked access to social media sites—including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram— after copies of the exams were leaked online.

The Ethiopian government has not confirmed whether the exam period, which ends on Friday, is the reason for the shutdown. Newsweek contacted the Ethiopian embassy in London for a comment, but received no immediate reply.

But Owono says that the risk of an exam leak does not justify shutting down mobile internet for the entire population, and that the Ethiopian government’s repeated use of the tactic shows that it “fears connectivity.”

“For the wrong reasons, [it] sees the internet as a threat rather than as an opportunity,” says Owono. She points out that increasing internet connectivity and availability is part of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, a global agenda for development. “The reaction of the Ethiopian regime is contrary to this global aim.”

Ethiopia is not alone in Africa in closing down the internet to deal with social issues. In April, Cameroon lifted a three-month internet blackout in the country’s English-speaking regions, home to about one-fifth of the population, following mass protests there in late 2016. Egyptian authorities have ordered internet service providers to block access to 21 news websites, claiming that they backed terrorism or reported fake news, in a move criticized by press freedom activists.

Internet blackouts have also proven to be financially costly to countries. Between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016, the internet was shut down for a period of 30 days in Ethiopia; this cost the country’s economy $8.6 million, according to a report by the Brookings Institution.

Related Articles:

Global Voices:Ethiopia Imposes Nationwide Internet Blackout



ENCA:Ethiopia shuts off mobile internet without explanation



Ethiopia said on Wednesday it had deactivated mobile internet service, but offered no explanation for the countrywide outage that also briefly affected the African Union headquarters and a massive UN facility.

This is the second time in recent months that Africa’s second most populous country has turned off its mobile data service, which most businesses and consumers rely on for internet access.

RSF slams Ethiopian govt over nationwide internet blackout


The media advocacy group, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has slammed the Ethiopian government for an internet shutdown believed to be linked with upcoming national exams.

According to RSF, the action was “a danger to freedom of information and press freedom.” The nationwide blackout started late Tuesday without formal communication.

A deputy communications minister later confirmed to the AFP news agency, Zadig Abrha as simply saying “mobile date has been deactivated.” It is not known when services will be restored.

The shutdown is aimed at preventing a repeat of leaks that occurred last year. We are being proactive. We want our students to concentrate and be free of the psychological pressure and distractions that this brings.

3rd day of nationwide mobile internet blackout in : a danger for freedom of information and !

The government subsequently confirmed the shutdown and said it was to protect the integrity of high school exams. Thousands of students will take the Grade 10 exams between May 31 until June 2 whiles Grade 12 papers will be taken between June 5 and June 8.

The respective exams are for university entrance purposes and also for enrollment into national vocational courses. “The shutdown is aimed at preventing a repeat of leaks that occurred last year,” Mohammed Seid, public relations director of Ethiopia’s Office for Government Communications Affairs, told Reuters.

“We are being proactive. We want our students to concentrate and be free of the psychological pressure and distractions that this brings.”

There was a widespread leak of exams papers last year leading to a cancellation of papers. Beside shutdowns related to education, the government has also blocked internet in the wake of anti-government protests that hit the country last year.

Even though it is not known exactly when services will be restored the government says only access to social media was blocked and that other essential services like airline bookings and banking outfits had access to internet. Diplomatic outfits and international organizations operating in the country also have connection.



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Political change, separatist insurgencies and a possible genocide project a tough year for the continent.

Like much of the world, 2016 has been a struggle for sub-Saharan Africa.

The region recorded its slowest overall growth in more than two decades, as low commodity prices and political uncertainty elsewhere put the brakes on economic progress. Civil conflicts have continued raging in countries including South Sudan and the Central African Republic, while extremist and Islamist groups have posed significant threats in nations including Nigeria, Somalia.

As 2017 approaches, Newsweek looks ahead to six stories that could shape the next year on the continent.

The Risk of Genocide in South Sudan

“The stage is being set for a repeat of what happened in Rwanda.” That was the stark warning from Yasmin Sooka, the head of a U.N. human rights commission that reported at the end of a 10-day fact-finding mission to South Sudan in November. Sooka was, of course, referring to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, when extremists from the Hutu ethnic majority killed more than 800,000 members of the Tutsi minority and moderate Hutus.

Since fighting broke out between President Salva Kiir and former vice-president Riek Machar’s forces in December 2013, South Sudan’s civil war has had a devastating impact on the world’s youngest nation. Thousands have been killed; 3 million have been displaced; the economy has gone into freefall. The signing of a peace agreement in August 2015, and the return of rebel leader Machar to the capital Juba in April, provided tantalizing glimmers of hope. But these were washed away as fresh blood was spilled in July; Machar and his troops fled, and the country reverted to a situation of war, alleged human rights abuses and large-scale displacement.

South Sudan soldiersSouth Sudanese government soldiers celebrate while standing in trenches in Lelo, outside Malakal, South Sudan, October 16. Tens of thousands of people have been killed since civil war broke out in the country in December 2013, and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged the country’s leaders to avoid a possible genocide.ALBERT GONZALEZ FARRAN/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

In Rwanda in 1994, the international community looked on as extremist Hutus carried out ethnic cleansing on a scale not seen before in Africa. The outgoing U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, writing in Newsweek, urged the world not to let the same thing happen in South Sudan. “Time is running out as the warring parties ready themselves for another vicious cycle of violence,” said Ban. “If [the South Sudanese leaders] fail [to restart an inclusive dialogue], the international community, the region, and the Security Council in particular, must impose penalties on the leadership on both sides. We owe this to the people of South Sudan, who have suffered far too much, for far too long.”

The African National Congress Reinvents Itself

Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president, was vigilant about putting party loyalty to his African National Congress (ANC) ahead of justice for South Africa’s people. “If the ANC does to you what the apartheid government did to you, then you must do to the ANC what you did to the apartheid government,” Mandela told a trade union congress in 1993.

It has been 22 years since the ANC came to power, bringing to an end decades of racial segregation and heralding a liberated South Africa. 2016 must rank as one of the party’s worst years since that pivotal moment. South African students have risen up against the party, accusing it of marginalizing them with expensive tuition fees; the party leader, Jacob Zuma, has been dogged by seemingly endless scandals; and in August’s local elections, the ANC lost control of key metropolitan areas, including the commercial hub Johannesburg, as urban voters made clear their disillusionment with the party.

Those results gave rise to factional infighting within the party and calls for Zuma to resign before the expiration of his second, and final, presidential term in 2019. The ANC is due to hold its elective conference in December 2017; if he survives until then, Zuma is expected to bow out at the conference. There are several prominent candidates to succeed him—his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa, and outgoing African Union chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who happens to be Zuma’s ex-wife, seem the most likely.

Jacob ZumaSouth African President Jacob Zuma attends a luncheon at the U.N. General Assembly, New York, September 20. A series of scandals and poor election results have heaped pressure on Zuma to step down as ANC leader.PETER FOLEY – POOL/GETTY IMAGES

The ANC is far from being on the brink of defeat: it still took 53.9 percent of the national vote in August, way ahead of the Democratic Alliance (DA) on 26.9 percent. But the choice of its next leader, and how the party negotiates a difficult economic climate and deals with tense protesters, will be important ahead of 2019. Both the DA and left-wing Economic Freedom Fighters are fronted by charismatic, if diametrically-opposed, leaders—Mmusi Maimane and Julius Malema—who will be keen to pounce on any further mistakes South Africa’s liberation party makes.

Leaving a Dictator Behind in Gambia

2016 was a year of shock results in elections and referenda. While Brexit and Donald Trump’s victory grabbed the headlines, perhaps just as astounding was the presidential election held on December 1 in the smallest country on the African mainland.

After 22 years of authoritarian rule by Yahya Jammeh—or His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya A. J. J. Jammeh Babili Mansa, as he prefers to be known—Gambians threw off their shackles and voted for Adama Barrow, a property developer with next to no political experience.

But now comes the hard part. After graciously accepting the result on December 2—“this is the will of Allah,” Jammeh saidthe outgoing president pivoted a week later and announced he was annulling the result. Regional and international leaders went into uproar, demanding Jammeh immediately step aside.

But the former army officer, surrounded by a military whose loyalty he has cultivated for more than two decades, dug himself in. “I am not a coward. My right cannot be intimidated and violated. This is my position, Nobody can deprive me of my victory except the Almighty Allah,” he said.

Adama BarrowGambian President-elect Adama Barrow (C) arrives at a hotel in Banjul for a meeting with four African heads of state, December 13. Gambia’s outgoing president Yahya Jammeh is refusing to leave his post despite losing an election to Barrow.SEYLLOU/AFP/GETTY

What happens next is somewhat unclear. Jammeh has submitted a petition to Gambia’s Supreme Court, which hasn’t sat in over a year and would need to be reconstituted before hearing the appeal. The president of regional body ECOWAS has threatened military intervention if Jammeh refuses to relinquish power. The region and the international community seems set on making an example of Jammeh, an archetypal African strongman leader, but he appears unlikely to go without a struggle.

Ethiopia’s State of Emergency

Ethiopia has been one of sub-Saharan Africa’s economic success stories in recent years; the Horn of Africa state has averaged 10.8 percent growth between 2003/04 and 2014/15, double the regional average of 5.4 percent. But such rapid expansion has masked a delicate situation in a country with clear ethnic divisions and where much of the population still lives in poverty.

Tensions exploded in November 2015 with the outbreak of the so-called Oromo protests—led by members of the majority Oromo ethnic group—against government plans to expand the capital, Addis Ababa, which protesters said would result in forced evictions of Oromo farmers. The government abandoned the plans in January, but the fuse had been lit: security forces were heavy-handed in dealing with the protests, killing and injuring demonstrators, while the government accused protesters of damaging private property and outside forces, including Eritrea, of fueling the discontent. Amnesty International estimates that at least 800 people have been killed since the protests began, thousands have been detained, and authorities have cracked down on media freedom.

Oromo protests IrreechaDemonstrators chant slogans while making the Oromo protest gesture during Irreecha, the thanksgiving festival of the Oromo people, in Bishoftu town, Oromia region, Ethiopia, October 2. Hundreds of people have been killed since November 2015 and Ethiopia’s government has implemented a restrictive state of emergency.TIKSA NEGERI/REUTERS

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn imposed a six-month nationwide state of emergency on October 9, hoping to defuse the protest movement. The government has began releasing thousands of detained protesters, but this may simply be a way of papering over the cracks in the country. The ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), in power since 1991, is dominated by the Tigrayan ethnic minority; Oromos and other ethnic groups have complained of being discriminated against and deprived of socioeconomic opportunities. The country’s parliament is also 100 percent-controlled by the EPRDF and a coalition partner, leaving little room for opposition voices. The state of emergency may be simply a sticking plaster, rather than an antidote, for the country’s problems.

Burundi’s Increasing Isolation

A tiny, landlocked country with the lowest GDP per capita in the world, it’d be reasonable to think that Burundi would want all the friends it could get. But since President Pierre Nkurunziza’s controversial decision in April 2015 to run for a third term in office, Burundi has increasingly withdrawn from international organizations and severed regional ties.

The country has rejected attempted interventions by the United Nations, including the sending of an almost-300 strong police force; the European Union has suspended aid worth 432 million euros ($451 million) over six years to the country; and Nkurunziza announced in October that he was pulling Burundi out of the International Criminal Court, despite the court’s chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda opening a preliminary investigation into the country’s situation in April.

Closer to home, Burundi has consistently accused neighboring Rwanda of arming refugees—83,000 of the almost 330,000 Burundians who have fled the country have gone to Rwanda—in a bid to topple Nkurunziza. Rwanda has denied these allegations and expelled some Burundian refugees.

Burundi ICC voteMembers of Burundi’s National Assembly vote to withdraw from the International Criminal Court, Bujumbura, October 12. Burundi, under the leadership of President Pierre Nkurunziza, has increasingly withdrawn from international organizations.ONESPHORE NIBIGIRA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

According to the United Nations, almost 500 people have been killed in clashes between security forces and anti-Nkurunziza protesters since April 2015. Burundi has been accused of muzzling its media and cracking down on free speech: pupils have been sent home from school for allegedly defacing pictures of Nkurunziza. The concern for Africa and the international community is, as Burundi withdraws further within itself, the conflict and human rights abuses may continue without any independent observers to record them.

Holding Things Together in Nigeria

Things are never quiet in Nigeria. But 2016 has been a busy year even by its hectic standards: the country has made huge gains in fighting Boko Haram, but a seemingly endless whack-a-mole of insurgencies and protest movements have arisen elsewhere.

Militants in the Niger Delta decimated oil production, a major factor that pushed the country into recession; government forces continued clashing with a Shiite group in northern Nigeria; roaming Fulani herdsmen have clashed with settled farmers in the Middle Belt; and separatists in the southeast kept up their campaign for an independent republic of Biafra.

At present, Muhammadu Buhari and his government seem to have a tentative grip on some of the crises. Nigeria’s military is pressing into Boko Haram’s dark heartland of the Sambisa Forest; the Niger Delta Avengers, the main aggressors in the oil-rich Delta, have not claimed an attack on oil pipelines since November. But there are still big challenges. Various states have banned the country’s main Shiite group, the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), an action that could force it underground; and human rights groups have demanded investigations into the killing of pro-Biafra activists.

Nigerian soldiers prepare a convoy in MaiduguriNigerian soldiers prepare a heavily armed convoy in Maiduguri, northeast Nigeria, March 25. The Nigerian military has made big gains against Boko Haram in 2016, but threats have emerged elsewhere in the country.STEFAN HEUNIS/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

While one of the richest countries in Africa, its resources are also limited: the military has been stretched in recent months after having to deploy to the Niger Delta while keeping up the tempo against Boko Haram. One false move by the security forces—take the clashes with the IMN in December 2015, in which almost 350 people were killed—can open up a new frontier that may push the administration beyond its limits.

And in a country with a melting pot of often-competing ethnicities, religions and political groups, things can quickly fall apart.


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Addis Standard#OromoProtests image, Addis Standardethiopia-curfew-forces-the-popular-independent-magazine-addis-standard-to-suspend-publication-after-5-yearsethiopia-curfew-forces-the-popular-independent-magazine-addis-standard-to-suspend-publication-after-5-years-p2


Vendors are too scared to sell the “Addis Standard,” its editor said.

One of Ethiopia’s few independent magazines has suspended its print edition after the government imposed a restrictive state of emergency in the country.

The editor-in-chief of the Addis Standard, Tsedale Lemma, told AFP that printers and vendors were afraid to be involved in producing the monthly publication in case the government interpreted it as dissent. “We have tried to convince them that the state of emergency only targets ‘inciteful material’ but they fear this can be interpreted and abused,” said Lemma.

Around half of the Standard’s 23 full-time staff are expected to lose their jobs. While the print edition is suspended indefinitely, Lemma said that the digital edition would continue and that new podcasts were in the pipeline. The English-language magazine had been in print continuously since February 2011.

Ethiopia newspapers

Ethiopian people read newspapers a day before the country’s general election, Addis Ababa, May 22, 2015. Most of Ethiopia’s press is state-controlled.TIKSA NEGERI/REUTERS

Ethiopia’s press is largely controlled by the government. The country is ranked 142 out of 180 nations in the 2016 World Press Freedom Index, compiled by international NGO Reporters Without Borders. Ethiopia arrested ten journalists in 2015, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn brought in the six-month state of emergency on October 9 following months of deadly clashes between security forces and anti-government protesters.

The clashes had intensified after at least 50 people died in a stampede during the Irreecha festival, an annual religious gathering held by members of the Oromo ethnic group. Protesters said that security forces provoked the stampede by firing tear gas and rubber bullets at the crowd.

Under the state of emergency, Ethiopians are barred from using social media to contact so-called “outside forces” and are not allowed to watch certain television channels that are based outside the country. The government is also cracking down on gestures of dissent, including crossed arms above the head, which has become associated with the Oromo protests and was demonstrated at the Rio 2016 Olympics by Ethiopian marathon runner Feyisa Lilesa.

Protests begun among the Oromo, Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, in November 2015 against government plans to expand the capital Addis Ababa. The government abandoned the plans in January, but demonstrations have continued and spread to the Amhara, the country’s second-largest ethnicity.

Human Rights Watch said in June that 400 people had been killed in the course of the demonstrations, and there have been several incidents since—including the Irreecha stampede and clashes in the Amhara region in August, in which almost 100 people reportedly died. The Ethiopian government has denied that the death toll is as high as rights groups say.


OMN: ልዩ ዝግጅት LIVE (Oct 26,2016)


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#OromoProtests, #GrandOromiaMarch 6 August 2016, all over Oromia. Dhaadannoo. p4

#OromoProtests, 2nd August 2016 and continues


Almost 100 people died in recent anti-government protests, according to rights groups.

Ethiopia must admit international observers to establish the facts around deadly protests that killed scores of people over the weekend, according to the United Nations human rights chief.

Anti-government protesters took to the streets in several parts of the Horn of Africa country to demonstrate against alleged economic and political marginalization. In the Oromia region—which has seen an unprecedented wave of demonstrations in recent months—protesters marched in the capital Addis Ababa, while rallies were also held in parts of the northwestern Amhara region, including the regional capital Bahir Dar.

Amnesty International claimed that almost 100 people were killed and hundreds injured in the protests as Ethiopian security forces used live bullets on protesters. The worst violence took place in Bahir Dar, where some 30 people were killed in a single day, according to the rights group. The Ethiopian government blamed “nearby and distant foreign enemies and social media activists” for holding the protests, which it said were unauthorized, and that security forces were reacting to violence and vandalism from demonstrators. The authorities also disputed the death toll given by rights groups and opposition politicians.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, said that the use of live ammunition against protesters “would be a very serious concern for us” and said that information about the protests had been difficult to come by. Press freedom is limited in Ethiopia, with the country ranked 142out of 180 in the 2016 World Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders.

Zeid urged Ethiopian authorities to give international observers access in order to determine whether security forces had used excessive force and “promptly investigate…these allegations,” in an interview with Reuters on Wednesday.

Protests began in the Oromia region—which is home to the country’s largest ethnic group, the Oromo—in November 2015 over government plans to expand the territory of Addis Ababa, which Oromo protesters said would result in forced land seizures and displacement of farmers. The government dropped the plan in January, but protests continued, partially motivated by a brutal crackdown that had seen more than 400 people killed, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW). A spokesman for the Ethiopian Embassy in London, Abiy Berhane, told Newsweek that HRW’s death toll was “exaggerated.”

The other main group protesting the government is the Amhara, Ethiopia’s second-largest ethnic group. The Amharas have a decorated history in the country; all but one of the Ethiopian emperors were Amhara, according to IBTimes UK.

Ethiopia protesters

Protesters chant slogans during a demonstration over what they say is unfair distribution of wealth in the country at Meskel Square in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, August 6. Scores of people were reportedly killed in the protests.TIKSA NEGERI/REUTERS



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Odaa OromooNewsweek


Ethiopia Admits it Sustained Heavy Casualties

Eeritraa moo Itoophyaattu Dhukaasa Jalqabe?Jarii lachuu Quba Walitti Qabaa Jiran


Oromia: #OromoProtests – 100 days of Public Protest March 8, 2016

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Odaa Oromoo#OromoProtests  in Mega town, Borana, Oromia,  Feb 29, 2016Solidarity message to Oromo People and #OromoProtests#OromoProtests iconic pictureXalayaa  Hawwii#OromoProtests, the Oromo Solidarity Project Concordia University, Montreal ( Canada) March 3, 2016. p2#OromoProtests against the Ethiopian regime fascist tyranny. Join the peaceful movement for justice, democracy, development and freedom of Oromo and other oppressed people in EthiopiaEritrean Soccer Team In Melbourn ,Australia Global Solidarity With Oromo Students and People . 1st January  2016Global Solidalirty rally with #OromoProtests in Oromia@Seattle 29 December 2015#OromoProtests December 28, 2015 Akkoon mormii irra jiru The struggle continuesoromoprotests-finfinnee-aau-over-kidnapping-of-two-female-students-their-name-is-lomitu-waqbulcho-3rd-year-afan-oromo-hirut-tule-2nd-year-chemical-engineering-18-december-2012#OromoProtests, healthcare professionals at Bishoftu hospital saying No! to the Master Plan, 14 December 2014‪#‎OromoProtests‬ Global Solidarity Rally Tabuk, Saudi Arabia, 11 December 2015OromoProtests @Finfinnee University  Dec. 7, 2015 picture2#OromoProtests of 7 December 2015Silent sit-ins in the campus arena seem to become the new norm of protest (#OromProtess) when physical challenge of barbarism lets nearly impossible to otherwise. Arba Minch University, Dec. 2015. image2OromoProtests, Najjoo, Oromia, November 26, 2015#OromoProtests @ Jijjiga University, 12 December 2015#OromoProtests, Malka baldho, E. Hararghe, 2nd January 2016#OromoProtests continues in Begi,  Wallaggaa, Arsi, Oromia, 14 Feb. 2016#OromoProtests, Nagelle Borana, 20 Feb. 2016Gaaffiiwwan yeroo ammaaDhaamsa#OromoProtests, Qabosoon itti fufa jedhu aayyoleen


Oromo Protests – 100 days of Public Protest


By Ethiopia Human Rights Project,  March 2016



Oromia, the largest regional State in the Ethiopian Federation, has been rocked by series of protests in the past 100 days since mid-November 2015. The protests began with the aim of having the proposed Master Plan of the capital, Addis Ababa, officially referred as the ‘Addis Ababa–Finfinne[1] Integrated Development Plan’ (‘Master Plan’) scrapped. The Master Plan was designed by Addis Ababa City Administration in collaboration with the government of Oromia Regional State and introduced early in 2014. The protestors opposed the Master Plan, which covers 1.1 million hectare of land (approximately twenty fold the current size of Addis Ababa), saying that its implementation will result in the eviction of millions of farmers and families from their land. The first protests against the Master Plan were held mainly by students of Oromia regional State in April/May/June 2014 which resulted in deaths, injuries and imprisonment of many people all over the state. The protests erupted again in November 2015 and continued up until now.

The ‘second round protests’, as it is called by activists, took wider area and longer time than its antecedent. Police brutality have reached its climax and deaths, injuries, mass arrest, kidnapping have tragically been reported in the State. In only the first hundred days of these protests, hundreds of towns and villages have witnessed mass incidents. In addition, death tolls have reportedly reached more than four hundred, thousands of people were injured and tens of thousands people were briefly arrested. Even though the Master Plan has been officially been scrapped by OPDO, ruling party in the regional State, on 13 January, 2016, fifty four days after the second round of the protest erupted, the third round of the protests have continued with a new momentum; what has started as an opposition to the Master Plan seems to end up looking for answers of political questions that have grown in the past two decades.

The Ethiopia Human Rights Project (EHRP) has actively followed the first 100 days of the protests and summarized the issues, causes, and the human rights violations perpetrated by government security forces in response to the protests in Oromia region. Click  the next line to read the  full report:-




#OromoProtests: Why Ethiopia’s Largest Ethnic Group is Demonstrating February 27, 2016

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Odaa Oromoo#OromoProtests against the Ethiopian regime fascist tyranny. Join the peaceful movement for justice, democracy, development and freedom of Oromo and other oppressed people in Ethiopia

Oromo Protests: Why Ethiopia’s Largest Ethnic Group is Demonstrating

Oromo people mourn a suspected protester who was allegedly shot dead by Ethiopian security forces, Oromia, Dec. 2015

(Newsweek, 26 Feb. 2016) — Since the Ethiopian government announced plans to expand the territory of the capital Addis Ababa in April 2014, the country’s largest region, Oromia, has been racked with protests that have led to hundreds of deaths.

Oromia, which completely surrounds the capital of the Horn of Africa country, is home to the Oromo ethnic group. Oromos constitute the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia, yet members of the community claim to havesuffered systematic discrimination and oppression at the hands of Ethiopia’s federal government.

Newsweek explains who the Oromo are, why they are protesting and how the Ethiopian government is responding.

Who are the Oromos?

More than one in three Ethiopians hails from the Oromo ethnic group: Oromos constituted more than 25 million of the total 74 million population at the last census in 2007 (the population of Ethiopia has since grown to almost 100 million). The Oromo have their own language and culture distinct from the Amharic language, which is employed as Ethiopia’s official dialect.

The Oromo have been subject to human rights violations and discrimination under three successive regimes in Ethiopia, according to a 2009 report by U.S.-based Advocates for Human Rights group: the Abyssinian Empire under Haile Selassie, dissolved in 1974; the Marxist Derg military junta that seized power in 1974 and ruled until 1991; and the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, established in 1991 and existing until the present.

Oromo language was sidelined and not taught in schools for much of the 20th century and Oromo activists were often tortured or disappeared. A 2009 report by the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) stated that 594 extra-judicial killings and 43 disappearances of Oromos were recorded between 2005 and 2008 by an Oromo activist group. The ethnic group have clashed with the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), in power since 1991; an Amnesty International report in October 2014 stated that at least 5,000 Oromos were arrested between 2011 and 2014 on the basis of opposition to the government.

Why have Oromos protested against the Addis Ababa master plan?

According to the Ethiopian government, the Addis Ababa Integrated Master Plan proposed to expand the capital’s territory in order to bring better services and greater economic opportunities to the rural areas surrounding Addis. For the Oromos, however, the plan constituted an attempted land grab that could result in the forced eviction of Oromo farmers and the loss of valuable arable land in a country regularly plagued by drought.

Protests began in Oromia immediately after the plan was announced—at least nine students were killed in April and May 2014, according to the government, although eyewitnesses said the total was at least 47. The most recent round of protests began in November 2015 and have spread across the entirety of the vast Oromia region. Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported in January that at least 140 protesters had been killed in demonstrations after heavy-handed crackdowns by security forces.

The Ethiopian government announced later in January that it was abandoning the Addis expansion plans after the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO)—the ruling party in Oromia and a member of the governing EPRDF coalition—dropped its support for the scheme. Yet despite that, the crackdown has continued: HRW’s latest update on February 22 cited claims from activists that more than 200 protesters had been killed, with security forces allegedly firing on peaceful protesters and thousands detained without trial.


Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, pictured addressing a U.N. summit in New York, September 25, 2015, has vowed to crack down on “destructive forces” the government says are hijacking Oromo protests.ANDREW KELLY/REUTERS

How have the government responded to Oromo protests?

The EPRDF has come down hard on protesters, claiming that “destructive forces”—including groups designated as terrorist organizations by the Ethiopian government—are hijacking the protests for their own means. Hailemariam Desalegn, the Ethiopian prime minister, said in December 2015 that protesters had burned down government properties and killed security forces, and that “merciless legitimate action” would be taken against those causing disorder.

In a statement sent to Newsweek on February 23, the Ethiopian embassy in London said that the claims made in HRW’s February report were based on “malicious statements, false accusations and unsubstantiated allegations from opposition propaganda materials.” The embassy claimed that the Addis expansion plans were dropped after “extensive public consultations” and an investigation into killings and destruction of property was underway.

Are Oromos seeking secession from Ethiopia?

One of the designated terrorist organizations accused of involvement in the protests by the Ethiopian government is the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). The group wasestablished in 1973 to campaign for the Oromo’s right to self-determination. The OLF is now based out of Washington, D.C. and any accusations of its involvement in the Oromo protests is a means of “criminalizing protesters,” according to Etana Habte, Ethiopian author and PhD candidate at SOAS University of London. “I don’t believe the OLF has very significant influence on this protest,” says Habte. “[Claims the OLF is involved] have not any relevance or grain of truth within itself. Oromo protests are fundamentally peaceful and it carries a legitimate question.”

Habte claims that what the Oromo are seeking is self-determination, not secession.Article 39 of Ethiopia’s 1994 constitution affords “every nation, nationality or people in Ethiopia” the “unrestricted right to self-determination up to secession.” What the Oromo are asking for, says Habte, is a greater say in how their region is governed. “Oromos understand Oromia as their own territory where they have an absolute and constitutional right to self-rule,” says Habte. “The Oromo protests don’t ask for anything more than [what is provided by] the constitution.”