Ethiopian rebels in Gambella repulsed an attack by government soldiers who gave up the fight after about half an hour, rebel sources said on May 1st.
Government soldiers launched the attack on a travelling contingent of Ngeli O. Opiew, commander-in-chief of the Gambella Democratic Movement (GDM). The heavy fighting lasted about half an honor when the soldiers fled the area, leaving their dead behind, GDM said, whose full statement follows here:
On April 29, 2012, in Akobo District of Gambella, Meles Zenawi’s soldiers attacked the Military Wing of Gambellan Democratic Movement (GDM) force. The attack was repulsed by the Commander-in-Chief of GDM, Ngeli O. Opiew, and his small contingent troops who were traveling with him. Within 30 minutes of heavy engagement, the attackers ran away leaving their dead behind.
GDM wants to announce that unless the terms of land grab in Gambella region are reversed in favor of Gambella people, there won’t be peace in the region. GDM will fight to stop the sale of Anyuaks’ land to foreigners and for the return of displaced Anyuaks to their ancestral lands from concentration camps. GDM will not sit by ideally and allow the likes of Karuturi Global, Saudi star, and others exploit Gambellan people.
In 1991, the EPRDF regime promised Ethiopia’s ethnic groups that they could exercise their rights to self-determination in new Ethiopia. Ethiopia was divided into nine ethnically based federal states. But the EPRDF regime changed its mind overnight. It created ethnically based surrogate parties through which it could project the illusion of a multi-ethnic federal state. Those parties who wanted to assert their states’ right to “self-determination up to and including secession” were forced out. And through it puppets and surrogate parties, EPRDF managed to preserve its dominance in the political arena.
On December 13, 2003, Meles Zenawi’s regime and its puppets in Gambella killed 426 Anyuak men in front of their wives and children in broad daylight. More than 10,000 left their ancestral land and became refugees in countries such as Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, England, Norway, Holland, Australia, Canada, and the United states. Since 2003 massacre, according to 2012 human right report, more than 5000 anyuaks were either killed or imprisoned.
Again, in 2010, more than 70,000 Anyuaks were forcibly removed from their ancestral land and put to 18 concentration camps to make way for investors. Those who refused to leave were either killed or imprisoned. The government leased the land to investors for 99 years without compensations.
GDM, therefore, was formed by sons and daughters of Gambella to fight for the right of indigenous people of Gambella.