By Eoin McSweeney, Bethlehem Feleke and Schams Elwazer, CNN
Nairobi, KenyaAt least 600 civilians were killed during an attack in northern Ethiopia in early November because of their ethnicity, a state-appointed human rights commission said Tuesday.
By Eoin McSweeney, Bethlehem Feleke and Schams Elwazer, CNN
Nairobi, KenyaAt least 600 civilians were killed during an attack in northern Ethiopia in early November because of their ethnicity, a state-appointed human rights commission said Tuesday.
November 19, 2020
FBelay, PhD. [email protected]
On November 15, 2020 early in the morning, my aunt who is a mother of three young children boarded a bus in the capital city of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa. She was going to see her ailing father in Beneshangul Gumuz. She boarded the bus with medicine and supplies for her father along with 34 other passengers. Mid way through the journey, the bus was pulled over by TPLF insurgents. The passengers were ordered to leave the bus and stabbed brutally one by one. My aunt died a brutal and senseless death on the side of the road in the countryside of Ethiopia. She was an innocent, kind woman who had no political affiliations or motivations.
My aunt’s story is similar to many other atrocities, brutalities and terrorist acts that the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) has been conducting throughout Ethiopia since its inception in 1968. This organization is a major threat to Ethiopia’s and the horn of Africa’s regional stability, peace and security. Unmitigated, it will destabilize the region and create a hotspot for the proliferation of terrorist organizations like Al-Shabab. Needless to mention the social crisis, mass displacements and the security threats the region and the world encounter.
Following the downfall of the Dergue regime in 1991, TPLF managed to occupy the central power and dominated Ethiopia’s geopolitical, social and economic spaces for 27 years. Soon after assuming power, it restructured a unitary country along ethnolinguistic lines using its self-proclaimed apartheid constitution. Many argue that this imposed ethnic federalism policy is primarily responsible for today’s atrocities and tragedies in the country.
Relentless public struggles and civil disobedience in April 2018 removed the TPLF leaders from the central power and brought Dr. Abiy Ahmed to the Prime Minister’s position.
Following the reform, TPLF leaders fled to Tigray region and engaged in undermining, delegitimizing and destabilizing the Federal governments’ authorities by sponsoring ethnic and religious violence in different parts of the country.
Attack on the National Defense Army
On November the third, while the world was preoccupied by the US election, TPLF’s special force and the local militia attacked the National Defense Army Base and committed one of the worst treasonous acts in human history.
A number of the National Defense Army were brutally murdered in the middle of the night and their bodies were deliberately left to decompose in the scorching sun in a deplorable manner.
The National Defense Army has been stationed in Tigray region for 21 years serving the Tigraian communities, protecting the boarder and ensuring peace and security. However, TPLF special force callously murdered the men and women in uniforms to advance its selfish interests.
Why Attacking the National Defense Base?
TPLF attacked the National Defense Army base for 3 main reasons.
First, they attacked to raid and gain control over the heavy artilleries. It is obvious that the National Army possesses heavy weaponries including missiles (short and long range), rockets, anti-aircrafts, launchers and others. Cognizant of this, TPLF special force attacked the Military base to gain control over these heavy weaponries and bolster its military power.
Second, should their first plan be materialized, their next step would have been to disarm the National Army and destabilize Ethiopia.
The third and final goal was to regain the central power using force. However, the brave National Army and the Amhara’s special military forces recuperated shortly and averted TPLF’s heinous plans which would have created unprecedented social crisis and civil war in Ethiopia.
From its inception, TPLF has continued violating human rights and international laws, recruit and train child solders, atrocities, genocide and crimes against humanities in Ethiopia.
TPLF incited interethnic conflicts that have led to the massacres and displacements of tens of thousands of civilians. As a result, in 2019, more than 3 million Ethiopians have been internally displaced thorough the country.
On November 13, 2020, TPLF’s army and the militia massacred 585 innocent civilians in Mai-Kadra town in a horrifying manner. Men, women and children were gruesomely hacked to death using machetes, axes and knives.
TPLF’s Desperate Attempt to Internationalize
TPLF carried out a missile attack on Gonder and Bahirdar in Ethiopia and Asmara in Eritrea. This provocative attack was a desperate measure to internationalize the internal
affairs and to further destabilize the fragile region. However, Eritrea’s commendable restraint from retaliating thwarts TPLF’s attempt from externalizing the situations.
While the majority of Ethiopians at home and abroad were in shock over the Mai-Kadra’s gruesome massacres; heartless TPLF propogandists were preoccupying the news outlets and social media disinforming and deceiving the international communities.
TPLF’s paid lobbyists and ‘scholars’ in the west accused the Ethiopian government of starting ‘civil war’ against the Tigraian people. In reality, however, it is the TPLF’s special force that attacked the National Defense Army with the intention of destabilizing Ethiopia. On the other hand, the National Defense Army and the Amhara Special force are carrying out military intervention to neutralize TPLF’s aggression to save Ethiopia from slipping into civil war.
The international communities should support the Ethiopian government’s operation
to restore stability in the region while holding the TPLF terrorist groups accountable for their crimes against humanity.
Failure to effectively neutralize TPLF in a timely manner will result in unprecedented social crisis. The displacement of nearly 100 million people will destabilize the already precarious Horn of Africa and the entire continent. The region could also become a fertile ground for terrorist organizations like Al Shaba and poses significant challenges to global peace and stability
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today submitted the following statement for the Senate record condemning the escalating violence in Ethiopia between the Federal government and political leaders of the Tigray region, and calling for an immediate ceasefire to begin a sustained dialogue that settles political differences.
“I rise today to call upon the Administration to take urgent diplomatic action to address the escalating conflict in Ethiopia, a country in the midst of what many in the international community–including myself– had hoped would be a historic political transition to democracy. Instead the country is sliding into civil war. Unless the international community acts quickly to forestall further violence, I fear that bloody and protracted conflict is unavoidable.
Ethiopians have long aspired to participate in a democratic system of government. For years, their leaders let them down. But in 2018 things appeared to change when in response to peaceful popular protests centered in Ethiopia’s Oromo and Amhara regions, Ethiopia’s ruling party elevated Abiy Ahmed to Prime Minister. Prime Minister Abiy undertook dramatic political reform in the first year of his administration, releasing thousands of political prisoners, inviting exiled opposition groups back home, and allowing the press to freely operate. Repressive laws like the Charities & Societies and Anti-Terrorism proclamations, which had long been used to stifle political dissent, were revised and replaced. The new government committed itself to free and fair elections, and for the first time in Ethiopia’s history, introduced a gender-balanced cabinet. Many Ethiopians, and much of the international community rightly celebrated these achievements and looked to further democratic progress. Abiy himself was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019.
Yet transitions from autocratic rule to democracy are rarely seamless, and Ethiopia’s transition is no exception. The journey to democracy has been beset by the proliferation of ethnically motivated violence across the country. In 2018, IOM reported that Ethiopia recorded the third highest number of new IDP’s anywhere in the world, fueled by ethnic violence and displacement in Gedeo and West Guji zones. And violence has continued. In June 2019, rogue regional security forces assassinated the president of Amhara region and the head of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces, and in June 2020, the murder of popular Oromo singer Hachalu Hundessa triggered violence that killed at least 239 people. Sadly, Ethiopians of all ethnic and religious backgrounds have been victims of this endless cycle of senseless violence.
To be clear, there are some who have taken advantage of new-found freedoms to threaten or use violence to achieve political ends, engage in hate speech, and incite broader conflict. Such behavior is inconsistent with democratic practice, and has further exacerbated the country’s ethnic and political divisions in a profoundly damaging way. Ethiopian authorities have a responsibility to protect their citizens by holding the perpetrators and purveyors of such actions accountable through a transparent, credible legal process.
Yet the government’s response to these challenges has only complicated matters. In May 2020, a report from Amnesty International chronicled a long list of abuses committed by Ethiopia’s security forces since the transition began, including extra-judicial killings, torture, and arbitrary arrest. The government has engaged in a troubling crack-down on political opposition, media organizations, and civil society, particularly in the wake of Hachalu Hundessa’s death. There are growing fears that state institutions are being leveraged by the ruling party to unfairly consolidate the current government’s power, including through weaponizing law enforcement and the judicial process to attack government critics. Under these conditions, it is unlikely that Ethiopia’s next general elections can be anything approaching credible, exacerbating an already volatile political situation.
Against the backdrop of a transition in jeopardy, violence between the Federal government and political leaders of the Tigray region is escalating. Reports suggest that hundreds have already died in clashes between government and regional forces. I am particularly horrified by evidence of a civilian massacre in Mai-Kadra. I condemn this act—and all attacks on civilians—in the strongest terms, and call for a thorough and transparent investigation by a credible, neutral, independent body. Those who attack civilians must be held accountable in accordance with the rule of law. I am also concerned by reports of civilian deaths as a result of federal government air strikes, mass displacement, and discrimination and arrests based on ethnic profiling. Authorities in Tigray have confirmed that their forces fired rockets into the capital of a neighboring country, Eritrea. These rocket attacks constitute a significant escalation, are counterproductive, and should cease. They further underscore fears that the conflict will expand beyond Ethiopia’s borders. If left to continue, the conflict in Tigray will not only lead to a catastrophic loss of life and worsening humanitarian conditions, but will breed further enmity that will derail Ethiopia’s democratic progress and destabilize the entire sub-region.
We cannot afford to let that happen. Ethiopia is the second most populous African country, home to the African Union, and one of the world’s top contributors to UN peacekeeping missions—a tradition that dates back to the Korean War. It has been a pillar of US engagement in the Horn of Africa for decades, partnering with the U.S. on counter-terrorism and with the U.S. and international community to stabilize protracted conflicts in neighboring Somalia and South Sudan.
The Ethiopian people need peace, not war. And the world needs a stable, democratic and prosperous Ethiopia.
I urge the Federal government and the leaders of Tigray region to choose the path of peace. While it is tempting to assign blame for the outbreak of hostilities, our collective focus must be on how to restore order. Make no mistake, a full accounting must take place. Right now, however, both sides must agree to an immediate ceasefire, and begin a sustained dialogue to settle political differences.
I also call on Prime Minister Abiy to take a series of actions to facilitate a successful democratic transition. First, barring immediate and incontrovertible evidence of serious crimes, he should release all members of the political opposition. Their continued detention is unacceptable, and I am troubled by reports that their judicial proceedings are being politicized. Second, media and digital rights must be respected. Arresting journalists and imposing internet blackouts harkens back to the dark days of the previous regime. Mr. Prime Minister, such practices must end. You and your colleagues have taken bold action to chart a new course for the country, and I urge you to continue along the difficult path of reform.
Third, the Prime Minister should empower an independent and impartial body to investigate and ascertain responsibility for past acts of violence beyond those related to current hostilities in Tigray. Finally, I call on the Prime Minister to engage in an inclusive dialogue with relevant stakeholders in advance of elections to ensure there is a level playing field and buy-in to the electoral process from all stakeholders.
Although resolving the current crisis requires Ethiopian commitment and action, the United States, along with others in the international community, have a critical role to play. I therefore urge the Administration to do the following:
Lead international diplomatic efforts. The Administration must reach out to multilateral institutions, allies and partners in the region, the Gulf, and elsewhere to ensure unity around a single message to the Federal government and officials in Tigray: there is no military solution to the conflict between the Federal government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front. Dialogue is the only path forward. A joint delegation should demarche the Prime Minister with this message, and reach out to leaders in Tigray with the same.
Increase support for Ethiopia’s democratic transition. The Administration should redouble its efforts to support the transition by providing the Embassy and USAID mission with more staff to provide increased monitoring in the areas of democracy and human rights and increased technical assistance in the area of election administration. Funding for grassroots conflict mitigation and reconciliation is critical given ongoing tensions. And the United States must also engage all Ethiopian stakeholders, including traditionally marginalized populations, without favor or bias, with the goal of encouraging dialogue between the country’s rival political forces. Political disagreements must be settled through peaceful means.
Take an informed, organized and holistic approach. Civil war in Ethiopia will destabilize the Horn of Africa, and has implications for U.S. geostrategic interests in the Horn of Africa and Red Sea corridor writ large. It is critical that the U.S. approach diplomatic engagement in a holistic manner, recognizing the potential ripple effects of prolonged conflict. Negotiations between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt relative to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) are only one example of how the conflict could impact stability in the sub-region. Progress on the GERD talks is highly unlikely in the face of civil war, since Ethiopia is likely to remain focused on its domestic problems.
Unfortunately, the U.S. approach is currently fractured. The Administration has engaged in GERD negotiations as though they are unfolding in a vacuum, divorced from our interests in a strong bilateral partnership with Ethiopia, and absent a broader strategy for the Horn of Africa and Red Sea corridor. And even in the parochial context in which we have engaged in GERD negotiations, the Administration’s actions have, quite frankly, been unhelpful. Having Treasury Department lead the talks was never wise. Treasury lacks the deep regional knowledge and expertise to lead such sensitive negotiations, and there is no evidence that its actions were developed as part of an interagency strategy or policy approach informed by such expertise. It is imperative that a sound strategy be developed, and that the State Department take the lead on an integrated diplomatic approach to both the country, and the sub-region.
Ethiopia faces historic challenges. These challenges can only be met through diplomacy, dialogue and compromise. The country has a once in a generation opportunity that we must not let slip away. I urge the Administration to act, while there is still time.”
Juan Pachon (202) 224-4651
November 13, 2020
More than 500 unarmed civilians, mostly Amhara slaughtered.
MAYKADRA (Mai Kadra) is located in the North of Gondar, the North Western region of Ethiopia. Even though Maykadra’s surrounding region was an integral part of Gondar over the millennia, it had been forcefully annexed by the TPLF (Tigray People’s Liberation Front) decades ago, upon its victorious overthrow of the Derg. Following TPLF’s instigation of war with the central government by launching a surprise attack on the Ethiopian National Defense Force, Northern Division, the Federal Government responded with a counterattack. The TPLF was using the Special Forces of Tigray Federal Region and local militia that it built to a formidable force over the last two years since loosing power in Addis Ababa. It is reported that TPLF’s ground forces outnumber the national ground forces. By using Tigrayan turncoats inside the army, TPLF was able to liquidate the unsuspecting Northern Division. In this instance also, TPLF agents selectively massacred Amhara members of the defense forces. The Northern Division has been stationed in Tigray for more than two decades, defending Tigray from a possible attack from the north.
In the Maykadra region, bordering North Sudan, TPLF forces were defeated, being forced to flee from the area. Before they left though, in a premeditated night attack, they slaughtered all non-Tigrayan, mostly Amhara civilian and unarmed residents of the small town. Over 200 bodies were recovered, according to reports. People were stabbed with knives, choked with ropes, beheaded with axes, sliced with machetes, or cut-down with spades. Apparently, TPLF Special Forces were planning to use tractors to gather the bodies and dump them in a mass grave. They could not finish this task as the victorious army of volunteers and Amhara Special force closed in on them. Survivors of this genocidal attack on the Amhara reported that the killing was done by an organization called Samre that TPLF specifically organized for this purpose. Census data for the fake elections in Tigray were allegedly used to identify ethnicities of residents. There is a need for an independent investigation into this massacre.
The manner of killing (with sharp weapons) and the special unit organized for the purpose are both reminiscent of the Fascist Italian massacre in Addis Ababa. Axes and spades were the main weapons then and the special forces called the Chamisa Negra (Black Shirts) were the perpetrators. Both massacres were committed on unarmed civilians. No wonder the TPLF leaders are called grandsons of Banda (Ethiopian word for traitors/ Ascaris, Native mercenaries of Fascist Italy).
Amnesty International UK
Hundreds killed and wounded in knife and machete attacks on night of 9 November
Witnesses say Tigray People’s Liberation Front responsible
‘This is a horrific tragedy’ – Deprose Muchena
Amnesty International has verified video footage and photographs that show scores of people were killed and wounded in knife and machete attacks in Ethiopia’s Tigray Region on the night of 9 November.
The gruesome evidence shows bodies being carried away on stretchers or strewn across the town of Mai-Kadra (May Cadera) in the South West Zone of Ethiopia. Amnesty’s Crisis Evidence Lab used satellite imagery to geolocate and confirm the exact location where the crimes were committed (14.071008, 36.564681).
Amnesty spoke to witnesses providing food and supplies to the Ethiopian Defense Forces immediately after the deadly attack, on the morning of 10 November, who found dead bodies and injured survivors strewn across the town. Witnesses confirmed that the majority of dead bodies were found in the town centre, near the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, and along a road that exits to the neighbouring town of Humera.
Gaping wounds confirm use of knives and machetes
Witnesses told Amnesty that victims had gaping wounds which appear to have been inflicted by sharp weapons such as knives and machetes. Amnesty has confirmed these reports after commissioning an independent pathologist to verify the claims.
One distraught witness told Amnesty:
“Those wounded told me they were attacked with machetes, axes and knives. You can also tell from the wounds that those who died were attacked by sharp objects. It is horrible and I am really sad that I witnessed this in my life.”
‘Soaked in blood”
Amnesty has not yet been able to confirm who was responsible for the killings, but has spoken to witnesses who said forces loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front were responsible – apparently carrying out the killings after they suffered a defeat at the hands of federal Ethiopian Defense Forces. Three people told Amnesty that survivors of the massacre said they were attacked by members of the Tigray Special Police Force and other Tigray People’s Liberation Front members.
A civilian who entered the town after it was retaken told Amnesty:
“There was a military operation by the Ethiopian Defense Forces and Amhara Special Force against the Tigray Special Police and militia during the daytime on 9 November. After they defeated the Tigray forces, the Ethiopian Defense Forces spent the night on the outskirts of Mai-Kadra town.
“When we entered, we saw a lot of dead bodies, soaked in blood, on the streets and rental dormitories frequented by seasonal workers. I am still in shock struggling to cope with the experience.”
This was corroborated by another eyewitness, who said:
“We went to the town immediately after the army and the Amhara Special Force took control of Mai-Kadra town on 10 November at around 10 am. The army entered … after encircling the town overnight. There was no exchange of fire for the army to take over the town. But when we entered the town, what we saw was devastating. The roads were strewn with dead bodies especially in the centre of the town, and on the road that connects the town to Humera.”
While the official death toll in Mai-Kadra is not yet known, the Amhara regional government’s media agency AMMA reported there were around 500 victims, adding that they were primarily non-Tigrayan residents of the town. A man who is helping to clear the bodies from the streets told Amnesty that he had looked at the state-issued identification cards of some victims, and most were Amhara.
Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s East and Southern Africa Director, said:
“We have confirmed the massacre of a very large number of civilians, who appear to have been day labourers in no way involved in the ongoing military offensive.
“This is a horrific tragedy whose true extent only time will tell as communication in Tigray remains shut down.
“The government must restore all communication to Tigray as an act of accountability and transparency for its military operations in the region, as well as ensure unfettered access to humanitarian organisations and human rights monitors.
“The Ethiopian authorities must immediately, thoroughly, impartially and effectively investigate this blatant attack on civilians and bring those responsible to justice in fair trials.
“The Tigray People’s Liberation Front commanders and officials must make clear to their forces and their supporters that deliberate attacks on civilians are absolutely prohibited and constitute war crimes.
“All parties in the Tigray conflict must ensure full respect for international humanitarian law and human rights law in their operations. The safety and protection of civilians must be paramount.”
2 November 2020
Amnesty International can reveal that at least 54 people from the Amhara ethnic group were killed in an attack late on 1 November by suspected members of the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) armed group.
The attack on Gawa Qanqa village in Guliso District of West Wellega Zone took place just a day after Ethiopian Defense Forces troops withdrew from the area unexpectedly and without explanation. Witnesses said dozens of men, women and children were killed, property looted and what the militants could not carry away, they set on fire.
“This senseless attack is the latest in a series of killings in the country in which members of ethnic minorities have been deliberately targeted. The fact that this horrendous incident occurred shortly after government troops abruptly withdrew from the area in unexplained circumstances raises questions that must be answered,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and Southern Africa.
“The Ethiopian authorities must investigate what happened and prosecute those responsible for the attack through fair trials.”
Amnesty International spoke to some of the survivors of the heinous attack who escaped death by hiding in a nearby forest. They said that the attackers had identified themselves as OLA and said that they “controlled” the area as soon as government troops left on 31 October.
The survivors said they had counted 54 bodies in a school compound where the militants gathered people who did not manage to flee, mainly women, children and the elderly, and killed them. One man told Amnesty International that three of his relatives were killed – his father, his sister and his wife’s grandfather. Another said he lost his brother, sister-in-law and three children including nephews and cousins. Their bodies were found in the school grounds with bullet wounds.
“The Ethiopian government must step up its efforts to end armed attacks on minority groups and protect their lives and stop the destruction of homes, not only in Oromia, but across the country,” said Deprose Muchena.
For more information or to arrange an interview please contact Catherine Mgendi on:
+254 737 197 614
email: [email protected]
Out of hours contact details
+44 20 7413 5566
email: [email protected]
Gunmen from the Oromo Liberation Army carried out the attack Sunday in an area known as Wollega, with one survivor saying he counted over 50 corpses.
An armed group in Ethiopia’s restive Oromia region has carried out a “horrendous” attack on civilians, the government said Monday, with one survivor saying dozens had died.
The incident is likely to further ramp up pressure on Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, winner of last year’s Nobel Peace Prize, to improve security in a country struggling with grisly ethnic violence.
Gunmen from the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) carried out the attack Sunday in an area of western Ethiopia known as Wollega, according to a statement from the Oromia regional government.
“Peaceful civilians were killed… in a horrendous way,” the statement said, without providing a death toll.
A survivor who spoke by phone to AFP said the violence erupted after soldiers stationed in the area abruptly and inexplicably left, allowing OLA fighters to round up civilians.
“After collecting us, they opened fire on us, and then afterwards looted cattle and burnt down houses,” said the survivor, who spoke on condition of anonymity for safety reasons.
“I have counted more than 50 corpses, and I know there were others hit by bullets,” the survivor said.
The OLA, believed to number in the low thousands, broke off from the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), an opposition party that spent years in exile but was allowed to return to Ethiopia after Abiy took office in 2018.
Abiy’s government has blamed it for a spate of assassinations, bombings, bank robberies, and kidnappings in Oromia.
The National Movement of Amhara (NAMA), an opposition party, said the perpetrators of Sunday’s attack appeared to have targeted members of the Amhara ethnic group, Ethiopia’s second-largest.
Authorities last week barred NAMA from staging demonstrations denouncing violence against the group.
Separate attacks on Amhara civilians have recently been reported in two other regions.
Dessalegn Chanie, a senior member of NAMA, said Monday that “up to 200 Amharas were ruthlessly murdered” in Sunday’s attack, though he acknowledged the precise toll was difficult to pin down.
“According to survivors from the area whom I talked to earlier today, they are not sure about the count of deaths because they just ran” into the forest, he said.
Oromia regional officials did not respond to multiple requests Monday seeking further comment.
Amnesty International can today confirm that scores, and likely hundreds, of people were stabbed or hacked to death in Mai-Kadra (May Cadera) town in the South West Zone of Ethiopia’s Tigray Region on the night of 9 November.
The organization’s Crisis Evidence Lab has examined and digitally verified gruesome photographs and videos of bodies strewn across the town or being carried away on stretchers. It confirmed the images were recent and using satellite imagery, geolocated them to Mai-Kadra in western Tigray state (14.071008, 36.564681).
“We have confirmed the massacre of a very large number of civilians, who appear to have been day labourers in no way involved in the ongoing military offensive. This is a horrific tragedy whose true extent only time will tell as communication in Tigray remains shut down,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa.
We have confirmed the massacre of a very large number of civilians, who appear to have been day labourers in no way involved in the ongoing military offensive. This is a horrific tragedy whose true extent only time will tell as communication in Tigray remains shut down.
“The government must restore all communication to Tigray as an act of accountability and transparency for its military operations in the region, as well as ensure unfettered access to humanitarian organizations and human rights monitors. Amnesty International will regardless continue to use all means available to document and expose violations by all parties to the conflict.”
The organization has also spoken to witnesses, who were providing food and other supplies to the Ethiopian Defense Forces (EDF), who visited the town immediately after the deadly attack, on the morning of 10 November, to find dead bodies strewn all over the town, as well as injured survivors.
Most of the dead bodies were found in the town centre, near the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, and along a road that exits to the neighbouring Humera town, according to the witnesses and verified images.
People who saw the dead bodies told Amnesty International that they had gaping wounds that appear to have been inflicted by sharp weapons such as knives and machetes, reports which have been confirmed by an independent pathologist commissioned by Amnesty International. Witnesses said there were no signs of gunshot wounds.
The witnesses said that together with the EDF soldiers, they found some wounded people among the dead and took them to nearby hospitals in Abreha-Jira and Gondar, before removing dead bodies from the streets.
“Those wounded told me they were attacked with machetes, axes and knives. You can also tell from the wounds that those who died were attacked by sharp objects. It is horrible and I am really sad that I witnessed this in my life,” one distraught witness said.
Amnesty International has not yet been able to confirm who was responsible for the killings, but has spoken to witnesses who said forces loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) were responsible for the mass killings, apparently after they suffered defeat from the federal EDF forces.
Three people told Amnesty International that survivors of the massacre told them that they were attacked by members of Tigray Special Police Force and other TPLF members.
“There was a military operation by the EDF and Amhara Special Force against the Tigray Special Police and militia at a place called Lugdi during the daytime on 9 November. After they defeated the Tigray forces, the EDF spent the night on the outskirts of Mai-Kadra town. When we entered, we saw a lot of dead bodies, soaked in blood, on the streets and rental dormitories frequented by seasonal workers. The view was really debasing, and I am still in shock struggling to cope with the experience,” a civilian who entered the town after it was retaken by EDF told Amnesty International.
When we entered the town, what we saw was devastating. The roads were strewn with dead bodies especially in the centre of the town, and on the road the connects the town to Humera.
This was corroborated by another who said: “We went to the town immediately after the army and the Amhara Special Force took control of Mai-Kadra town on 10 November around 10 am. The army entered … after encircling the town overnight. There was no exchange of fire for the army to take over the town. But when we entered the town, what we saw was devastating. The roads were strewn with dead bodies especially in the centre of the town, and on the road the connects the town to Humera.”
“The Ethiopian authorities must immediately, thoroughly, impartially and effectively investigate this blatant attack on civilians and bring those responsible to justice in fair trials,” said Deprose Muchena.
“TPLF commanders and officials must make clear to their forces and their supporters that deliberate attacks on civilians are absolutely prohibited and constitute war crimes. All parties in the Tigray conflict must ensure full respect for international humanitarian law and human rights law in their operations. The safety and protection of civilians must be paramount.”
While the official death toll in Mai-Kadra is not yet known, the Amhara regional government’s media agency AMMA reported there were around 500 victims, adding that they were primarily non-Tigrayan residents of the town. A man who is helping to clear the bodies from the streets told Amnesty International that he had looked at the state-issued identification cards of some victims, and most were Amhara.
On 4 November 2020, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered the Ethiopian Defence Forces (EDF) to militarily engage with the Tigray Regional Paramilitary Police and militia loyal to the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) in what he stated was a response to multiple attacks by the Tigray security forces on the EDF North Command base in Mekelle and other military camps in Tigray Region.
Since the start of the conflict, there have been armed confrontations between federal forces (Federal Army, Amhara Region’s Special Force Police and Amhara local militia) on one side and the Tigray regional forces (Tigray Special Force Police and militia) on the other side
The Ministry of Defence and the Prime Minister have announced that Ethiopian Air Force planes carried out multiple air strikes against TPLF military installations. The Prime Minister and the Army Chief of Staff pledged to continue air strikes on selected targets without endangering civilian life, advising residents to stay away from ammunition depots and other military targets.
According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), as of 11 November, some 7,000 refugees had fled western Tigray state into neighbouring Sudan.
Published first in April 14, 2012
By Tesfay Atsbeha and Kahsay Berhe
Republished October 25, 2020
The inhuman measures of expelling Ethiopians from their own country in the district of Gura Ferda should outrage all Ethiopians. How can hardworking innocent farmers, women and children who were living legally be deprived of their houses, farmland and belongings and evicted by force, simply because they are ethnic Amharas? The root cause of this crime is the backward and divisive ethnic politics of Meles Zenawi.
Since tyrants normally fear the elite of a people
whom they want to subjugate, they try to destroy or weaken the elite as Hitler and Stalin did in Poland and the Italian fascists did in Ethiopia. A similar repressive policy has been causing a brain drain in Ethiopia in the last decades. On the top of that, Meles is harassing poor and harmless people like the Amharas, Anuaks and Afars, who do not pose a threat to his power.
Gold and wax on the form of organization
According to the internal magazine of the Marxist – Leninist League of Tigray (MLLT) called: “May Day” in the late 1980s, the Amharas should not be organized as Amharas and the cadres of Meles, like Addis Alem Balema (later Ambassador, etc… ) were sent to convince the members of the MLLT in Europe of the alleged need that the Amharas should not be ethnically organized. It would have sufficed to pass orders to the members of the TPLF/MLLT in Tigray to let them accept whatever Meles wanted, but the members in Europe asked why the form of organization should not be left for the Amharas themselves to decide. They were told that the Russians who were members of the oppressor nation like the Amharas were organized as Party committees of Petrograd and Moscow by the Bolsheviks and not as Russians. The discussion grew hot. The participating members in a meeting in London told Addis Alem that they have neither the right to decide on how Amharas should organize themselves nor the duty to imitate whatever the Russians did and rejected the proposal.
The discussion looked like a combination of gold and wax. Meles seemed to see ethnicity as a source of as well as a danger for his power at the same time. Whereas ethnic division would enable him to divide and rule, he wouldn’t succeed if the Amharas and Oromos got their own respective independent organisations. The Amharas would be too strong if they organized themselves ethnically and those who opposed meddling in the rights of the Amharas suspected what Meles wanted, but they could not discuss openly to avoid being incriminated by Meles for opposing what he did not present openly. Therefore the indirect agitation (the Russian argument) was unanimously (except the cadres of Meles) opposed by the participants.
It is a paradox. Meles seems to fear the Amharas not only because they have the experience and the potential to remove him from power, but also because they stand for Ethiopian unity. Although his history will be associated with Ethiopia as he is (mis) ruling the country, Meles is opposed to all who stand for the unity of all Ethiopians. This is the reason why Meles lumps together the multi-national organizations to bogeymen as interhamwe, chauvinists, neftegna and remnants of the Derg. Meles also hated the EPRP more than any other organization in Ethiopia not because it is an Amahra Organization, since many Tigrayans and other non-Amharas in leadership positions belonged to its founders, but because it is for the unity of Ethiopia and it was aware of his machinations. Of course, Meles used to say that the source of the dangerousness of the EPRP was the attractiveness of its program to the petty bourgeoisie.
The TPLF and the puppet organizations
When the All Amhara People’s Organization (AAPO) came into being, Meles was forced to declare the formation of his own Amhara organization called Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM) led by non -Amharas. It was the Ethiopian people’s Democratic Movement (EPDM) which was renamed to ANDM. Some members of the EPRP who didn’t want to continue the struggle as members of the EPRP, who had neither their own program nor the ability to form an independent organization went over to the TPLF. They were at first disarmed in the vicinity of Abergelle by the TPLF but not treated as POWs, because they came to the TPLF voluntarily while the fighting between the TPLF and the EPRP was going on. They might have taken a pre-emptive measure to avoid being taken prisoner. Most of them went abroad and the remaining few formed the EPDM with the help of the TPLF. To their credit, they had already struggled as members of the EPRP and they decided to continue the struggle, instead of giving up. The EPDM was created as a puppet of Meles who dissected it into ethnic components with some transplantation in its leadership. In all fairness, the difference between the members of the TPLF on the one hand and the other members of the EPRDF like the ANDM, OPDO and SEPDM is that the TPLF was formed by its own members while the others were formed by the TPLF even from prisoners of war. In other words, the TPLF was unlike the others, not a puppet in the beginning.
The homogenization of the members of the EPRDF as Puppets
The similarity of all EPRDF members (except Meles) is their homogenization as puppets. None of them has the right to express his/her own opinion, if the opinion differs from that of the tyrant. Some of the members are, owing to the fact that they are puppets, very powerful and rich puppets.
Gura Ferda and shame to the members of the EPRDF
Why are there no members of the EPRDF with a bit of courage to rescue their compatriots in Gura Ferda? Many Ethiopians would have gone to the streets to demonstrate against the inhuman treatment of Ethiopians in Gura Ferda if they had no fear of the members of the EPRDF who maintain tyranny. If there are some EPRDF members who care for their people they must first free themselves.
The perpetrators of Gura Ferda should be accused of committing crimes against humanity, because “these offences constitute a serious attack on human dignity, grave humiliation and degradation of more human beings” according to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The victims should be compensated and helped to return to their farms.
By Zecharias Zelalem
and Will Brown/ : The Telegraph
Vote kept top secret until last minute amid concerns of coercion
The European Parliament has strongly condemned Saudi Arabia for holding tens of thousands of African migrants in slave-like Covid detention camps after The Telegraph exposed horrific conditions.
The vote to censure the kingdom comes a month after an investigation by this newspaper found thousands of men, women and children locked up to stop the spread of coronavirus were being forced to sleep and eat in their own faeces.
Harrowing footage captured on smuggled phones by the migrants in August shows hundreds of emaciated Ethiopian men at various stages of dehydration, heatstroke, and starvation.
Other photos show migrants with scars and wounds from beatings and torture and disfiguring skin infections. Some images, too graphic to publish, show the bodies of migrants who appear to have died from dehydration, disease or suicide.
The condemnation is a major blow to the Gulf kingdom’s international standing.
The resolution was passed by members of the European Parliament (MEPs) in Brussels on Thursday afternoon, after a fiery debate where criticism rained down on the Gulf kingdom from across the European political spectrum.
“Imagine the cruelty of being put in detention camps with thousands and thousands, chained… and using cell floors as your bed. For migrant workers from Ethiopia in search for a better future, this is the day to day reality,” said Samira Rafaela, a Dutch MEP.
“Saudi Arabia has spent billions on PR to try and convince the world it respects human rights,” said Marie Arena, a Belgian MEP.
“We will not be fooled… this country does not know what human rights means,” she said in an impassioned speech.
Urtasun Ernest, a Spanish MEP, said that the European Parliament wanted to send a clear message and reduce cooperation with Saudi Arabia, downgrading the EU delegation at the G20 summit in Saudi Arabia next month.
“It was clear that MPs shared the belief that the continuous abuse of Ethiopians in detention centres is unacceptable.”
The Telegraph understands that the condemnation vote was kept top secret until the last minute because some EU officials feared they might be targeted by hackers.
One senior EU official said just 24 hours was enough time for powerful Saudi lobbyists to coerce some MEPs into stopping the condemnation in its tracks.
The draft version of the resolution contains a damning catalogue of egregious human rights abuse allegations by the regime of the Crown Prince, Muhammad Bin Salman.
The document calls on Saudi Arabia to “immediately end torture and other ill treatment” of tens of thousands of Ethiopian men, women and children who have been stuck in detention facilities there for months on end.
It calls for the immediate release of the migrants, demands an “independent and impartial investigation” into allegations of torture and deaths in the centres, and asks for EU representatives to be given access.
It also asks EU states to downgrade representation at the upcoming G20 summit, to avoid legitimising ongoing rights violations.
Saudi authorities pledged to investigate conditions at migrant detention centres in early September. But since then, migrants say they have been handcuffed to each other at the ankles, stripped naked and kept without food or water for 24 hours as punishment for trying to communicate with the outside world.
Last week, a report by the rights group Amnesty International said that inmates were subjected to electric shock torture and that pregnant women were also being detained in woeful conditions. The rights group said they had heard about the deaths of at least five children and newborns.
“It was evident for anyone who read the reports and watched the videos that the situation these poor migrants are in currently is unspeakably horrible,” Urmas Paet, an Estonian MEP, who is understood to be the main architect of the resolution, told the Telegraph.
Eskinder Nega, a journalist and blogger based in Addis Ababa, was sentenced on July 13, 2012, to 18 years in prison for violating anti-terrorism laws after he criticized the government for arresting journalists and anti-government activists. He was jailed for almost seven years at Kaliti Prison in Addis Ababa, where political prisoners are housed with criminals and family visits are extremely limited, before being released on February 14, 2018, as part of a larger amnesty of political prisoners. On the evening of March 25th, 2018, the Ethiopian Security Forces have re-arrested Eskinder and other journalists and politicians at a social event outside the capital, Addis Ababa. Eskinder was accused of displaying a prohibited national flag and gathering in violation of an official state of emergency but was later released without a charge on the evening of April 5th after spending 12 days of unwarranted, inhumane imprisonment.
On May 1, 2012, PEN honored Eskinder with the PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award, recognizing his struggle in the face of adversity for the right to freedom of expression. On May 18, 2017, he received the International Press Institute (IPI)’s 69th World Press Freedom Hero award.
October 01, 2020
Amnesty International UK
Thousands of Ethiopians expelled by neighbouring Yemen in March left to languish in disease-ridden Saudi cells
Reports of dead bodies in cells, with lack of soap and water creating acute COVID risk
‘It’s hell, I’ve never seen something like this …There are no toilets’ – Ethiopian detainee who spoke to Amnesty
The Saudi Arabian authorities have subjected detained Ethiopian migrants to a catalogue of “unimaginable cruelty” – including chaining detainees together in pairs, confining them 24 hours a day in unbearably-crowded, hot and disease-ridden cells, and forcing them to use their cell floors as toilets – said Amnesty International today.
The shocking findings – detailed in a 26-page report, ‘This is worse than COVID-19’: Ethiopians abandoned and abused in Saudi prisons – follow an investigation by Amnesty into the fate of thousands of Ethiopians in Saudi Arabia after they were expelled by the Huthi authorities in neighbouring Yemen in March.
Amnesty has documented the deaths of three detained Ethiopians in Saudi Arabia based on multiple eyewitness testimonies, while detainees reported at least four others deaths. The prevalence of disease and the lack of food, water and healthcare mean the true number of deaths could be significantly higher.
Two detainees reported that guards subjected them and other detainees to electric shocks as punishment for complaining about conditions.
Solomon, 28, told Amnesty: “They used this electric device … It made a small hole on my clothes. I saw a man whose nose and mouth were bleeding after that. Since then, we don’t complain anymore because we’re afraid they’ll do again the electric thing on our back.”
Eight detainees said they had experienced and seen beatings by prison guards, and shootings during escape attempts. One man said he had seen the body of a man who had been shot after trying to escape.
Amnesty interviewed 12 detained Ethiopian migrants (whose names have been changed) via messaging app between 24 June and 31 July. Their allegations have been corroborated by videos, photos and satellite imagery analysed by Amnesty’s Crisis Evidence Lab.
All of the interviewees said they were appallingly mistreated from the moment of their apprehension by the Saudi authorities. The majority have been held at Al-Dayer detention centre, Jizan central prison and prisons in Jeddah and Mecca. Conditions are especially dire in Al-Dayer and Jizan, where detainees report sharing cells with 350 people, a claim supported by videos seen by Amnesty. At Al-Dayer there are no toilets for detainees, and they are forced to use a corner of the cell as a toilet space.
Zenebe, 26, said: “It’s hell, I’ve never seen something like this … There are no toilets. We urinate on the ground, not far from where we sleep. Sometimes we had to walk on it.”
Detainees said illness was rife in the facilities, with skin infections, diarrhoea and yellow fever. Hagos, who was detained in Jizan central prison for five months, said some detainees became so weak they had to be carried to the toilets, which were overflowing and barely functioning.
Detainees said that gunshot wounds sustained at the Yemeni border were the most pressing health issue at Al-Dayer, with the Saudi authorities refusing to provide adequate treatment. Meanwhile, there are reports of dead bodies found among detainees, and of cases where people have attempted to take their own lives but have been prevented by fellow detainees (see further testimonies below).
Amnesty is calling on the Ethiopian government to urgently facilitate the voluntary repatriation of its nationals, while pressing the Saudi authorities to improve detention conditions in the interim.
Marie Forestier, Researcher on Refugee and Migrant Rights at Amnesty International, said:
“Thousands of Ethiopian migrants, who left their homes in search of a better life, have instead faced unimaginable cruelty at every turn.
“We are urging the Saudi authorities to immediately release all arbitrarily detained migrants, and significantly improve detention conditions before more lives are lost.
“If quarantine spaces remain a significant obstacle, other governments and donors must support Ethiopia to increase the number of spaces, to ensure migrants can leave these hellish conditions as soon as possible”
Lack of soap and water despite COVID risk
All those interviewed said a lack of sanitation was a problem. As their belongings were confiscated at the Yemeni border, detainees have only the clothes they were wearing when they left Yemen, and in Al Dayer and Jizan there are no showers. Despite the intense heat, water is frequently insufficient in the locations where Ethiopians are detained, especially in Al Dayer where guards reportedly only turn on taps for short periods. Even in Mecca and Jeddah prisons where there is water for showers, detainees are not provided with soap. These unsanitary conditions are especially alarming in the context of COVID-19.
Two detainees reported personally seeing the dead bodies of three people – an Ethiopian man, a Yemeni man and a Somali man – in Al-Dayer centre. However, all those interviewed said they knew of people who had died in detention, and four said they had seen bodies themselves.
Freweyni, 25, described the death of a 15-year-old boy at Al-Dayer:
“He was sleeping on the ground, covered with clothes. He was very weak. He urinated while sleeping. A boy was taking care of him […] We shouted and the guards came in to take him … Four days later, I saw this boy lying on the ground outside. He was dead. I saw another body next to him.”
Two people told Amnesty they had prevented cellmates from taking their own lives in Jizan and Jeddah prisons. They cited the uncertainty of the situation, as well as the heat and insufficient food as key factors in driving detainees to despair.
Abeba, 24, described the mental distress of some of those at Al Dayer: “Some women speak to themselves, some don’t dress up, some can’t control [themselves] when they urinate.”
Rape, trauma and deaths of new-born children
Amnesty is not aware of any mental health facilities in detention centres. Many detainees are traumatised not only by their detention, but by harrowing experiences on their journeys through Yemen.
Abeba, who travelled from Ethiopia with her 19-year-old sister, said that many women were raped during their stay in Yemen by policemen and smugglers. She said:
“My sister is five months pregnant. She was raped in Yemen. Every time I ask her by who she starts crying.”
Detainees say there are a significant number of pregnant women in detention. Roza, 20, who was six months pregnant at the time of interview, said there were 30 other pregnant women in her cell in Jizan. None of the pregnant women Amnesty talked to or heard about were receiving proper healthcare. Roza said that when women were eventually allowed to see a doctor in Jeddah, guards put metal chains on their legs and tied them in pairs. She said all the women were given the same pills, and she was denied an ultrasound – she has not had one for her entire pregnancy.
Several women have given birth during their detention. After a short stay at a medical facility they are returned to the same unsanitary conditions. Three women reported that two babies and three toddlers had died – in Al-Dayer, Jeddah and Mecca prisons.
Abeba told Amnesty: “The children became sick in Al-Dayer because we were sleeping in a dirty place, it was too hot and we didn’t receive enough food. They had diarrhoea and they were very thin. Children were taken to the hospital, where they died.”
Repatriation to Ethiopia
Almost every detainee Amnesty interviewed had seen an Ethiopian embassy or consulate official during their detention, and said that Ethiopian officials had seen the conditions first-hand. At the time of writing, none of the detainees Amnesty spoke to had been repatriated and Ethiopia has cited insufficient quarantine space for returnees as an obstacle to any repatriations. However, despite COVID-19 travel restrictions, at least 34,000 Ethiopian migrants returned home globally between April and September, including 3,998 from Saudi Arabia.
Yemen border violence
Until March, thousands of Ethiopian migrants were working in northern Yemen. When the COVID-19 pandemic escalated, the Huthi authorities ordered migrant workers to go to the Saudi border, where they were reportedly caught in crossfire between Saudi and Huthi forces. Amnesty was unable to corroborate reports of shootings, but many detainees said they had crossed the border under fire. According to the International Organisation for Migration, approximately 2,000 Ethiopians remain stranded on the Yemeni side of the border, without food, water or healthcare.
By Belayneh Abate
The Amara genocide is intensified to eliminate Amaras and Christians from the Eastern, South, Central and Western parts of Ethiopia. But most of the onetime vocal “independent” Ethiopian medias are in deafening silence. It appears these medias are joining the genocide denier rulers, who are accused of participating in the continued Amara genocides directly or indirectly.
In October 2019 and June, 20020, we saw the gruesome slaughtering of Amaras and Christians of other ethnic groups in the southern, Eastern, Western and Central Ethiopia. As Ethiopians and part of the world population know, the barbarian killers were shouting “get out Amara”, get out neftegna (a code for Amara), get out orthodox while they were killing the martyrs they identified prior to the killings. These heinous barbarians murdered even nine-month pregnant women in front of her children shouting, “kill the unborn and the would be Christian.”
In September, 2020, they identified and slaughtered Amaras including toddlers, women, and elderly in North western part of Ethiopia. How further can genocide go beyond the killing of unborn child, infants and toddlers based on his possible future identity? [2-7]
When the barbarians were slaughtering the unborn babies, children, pregnant women, the youth and the elderly, the local administrators and security forces were watching idly and, in some instances, reportedly participating in the killings. When the barbarians burned the businesses and houses of citizens in Shashemene following the lists they compiled, they first controlled the gas stations to have unrestricted access for petroleum they used to ignite the fires. The local administrates and security forces did nothing to stop the burning of the residences and business centers of the victims. These evidences confirm the already established facts that genocides do not occur without direct or indirect participation of local, regional or central governments. [2-7]
The central, the regional and local “governments” are now flatly denying genocide to complete the tenth stage of genocide and to insert sharp spears in the broad wounds of the genocide survivors and our conscience. Just like the other genocide- denier governments in history, these ruthless rulers have started their futile attempt to destroy the evidences of genocides. They are intimidating genocide survivors not to talk about their ordeals and forcing witness not to give information to the local and international medias.
Furthermore, they are incarcerating courageous and historical journalists that exposed the genocides. No doubt these courageous incarcerated journalists will be rewarded on earth and in heaven when justice prevails as those timid and liar journalists who cover up the genocides will be cursed in history and the coming generations.
As it happened during the Jewish Holocaust, the actors of the genocides are not the only heartless people who are flatly denying the full-blown Amara and Christian genocides. Many disgruntled individuals are shamefully denying these genocides. Furthermore, many radio and television stations, websites, newspapers, magazines and websites are also denying these genocides either through intentional cover ups, or through dereliction of duties.
It is an unavoidable responsibility of this generation to make the primary actors, collaborators and genocide deniers face national and international justice. This responsibility should not be left to the next generations as it happened to the current generation of the Armenians.
In the meantime, the genocide survivors need physical, mental, and emotional support to mitigate their sufferings from post-traumatic syndromes. Children who have seen their parents slaughtered like Easter lambs and dragged on streets like tree branches will never have a normal life. Parents who have seen their children beheaded and denied timely burials will never live healthily lives. Therefore, the genocide victims shall receive timely justice, and the genocide survivors should get strong assistance from the public, Churches, Mosques, psychiatrists and psychologists.
The Ethiopian independent medias please stop being the habitual spectators of genocides and make grave historical mistakes. You shall not keep quiet as nothing has happened since you do have humanistic, moral, citizenry and professional responsibility to report the genocides, and expose the individuals involved in committing the genocides.
Stop the Amara and Christian genocide now!
End notes: (all last accessed on August, 2020)
The writer can be reached at [email protected]
September 20, 2020
By Tigist Geme/VOA
September 18, 2020
The prospect of paid work and better lives lured Teshome and Kadir from their native Ethiopia, their hopes pinned on Saudi Arabia. Instead, the two young men have spent at least five months idled and anguished, confined in one of the kingdom’s migrant detention centers.
They fear they’ll never get out alive.
“Our situation is above that of the dead and below the living,” Teshome, 21, told VOA in phone interviews from a center in the Saudi port city of Jizan. Complaining of meager rations of rice, bread and water, no bedding, and crowded, unsanitary conditions, he added, “Many of us are getting sick, and some have passed away.”
VOA’s September 2 interviews with Teshome and 30-year-old Kadir echo those of recent reports. In mid-August, Human Rights Watch reported that at least hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of Ethiopians were being held in Saudi Arabia, in part because of pandemic concerns.
U.N. Migration (IOM) issued a statement Tuesday amplifying the detainees’ appeals. Saying it was “alarmed by the deteriorating situation of Ethiopian migrants detained” in Saudi Arabia, IOM called for urgent action, including access to humanitarian aid to ensure migrants’ safety.
“We cannot stress enough the importance of considering detention only as a very last resort,” IOM said, “and of improving conditions in immigrant detention.”
Searching for work
The Ethiopian migrants are among millions of foreigners, mostly from South Asia and Africa, who sought jobs in the oil-rich kingdom. As the London-based Sunday Telegraph noted in an August 30 report on detention conditions, some 6.6 million worked there as of June 2019, largely in low-wage positions involving domestic work, construction or other physical labor.
But migrants have been perceived as possible COVID-19 carriers. Weeks after the World Health Organization’s March 11 declaration of a pandemic, armed Houthi rebels in northern Yemen chased off thousands of Ethiopian migrants to the border of neighboring Saudi Arabia, killing dozens as they fled, according to testimony collected by Human Rights Watch.
Saudi border guards also allegedly shot and killed dozens more migrants, but others hid in the mountainous countryside. Within days, some migrants surrendered or were found by Saudi border guards, who took them into detention.
Teshome and Kadir, whose real names are being withheld to protect them from possible retribution, were among those detained. They told VOA they had hoped to find work after paying traffickers to help them travel from Ethiopia to and through Yemen.
Riyadh deported nearly 3,000 Ethiopians in the first 10 days of April, The Telegraph reported. Almost 200,000 others were scheduled to follow suit, but the United Nations — in an internal memo leaked by Reuters news agency April 13 — asked the Saudis to suspend mass deportations to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.
Ethiopia’s Foreign Ministry said in a September 3 news release that 3,500 of its citizens had been repatriated from Saudi Arabia from April to July. Human Rights Watch told VOA these were among the most vulnerable migrants, including children and pregnant women, but said that women with small children had remained in detention.
On Thursday, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Dina Mufti told VOA that another 274 of the Ethiopian migrants had been returned to Addis Ababa earlier in the week, with another 1,440 expected by October 5. He said repatriations would continue afterward.
Mufti did not disclose how many Ethiopian migrants remained in Saudi detention.
“The number is fluid,” he said.
He also emphasized the enormity of reaching other migrants in the Mideast, then transporting and quarantining them amid the pandemic. Ethiopia, he said, was committed to bringing home its citizens.
The Saudi government did not answer any of several VOA requests for comment, including on conditions in its detention centers. Those conditions — described separately to VOA and other news media by detainees using encrypted channels — include accounts of physical and mental strain.
In the wake of negative publicity, detainees have reported that their phones are being confiscated, and that Ethiopian envoys have warned them against sharing their stories.
“I have not worn clothes for six months — it is too hot in here. We are dehydrated,” Teshome told VOA. At night in the Jizan facility, several hundred men sleep on the tile floor “just in our underwear, and even then, the heat is unbearable.”
Kadir scanned the room with Teshome’s phone camera, providing a glimpse of partially dressed men huddled on the floor or leaning against the wall. Small windows near the ceiling let in light and possibly ventilation, but not much of a view.
When toilets overflow, detainees “beg the guards to open the door just to get air,” Teshome said. “If we step out, they beat us.”
“Imagine being in a room with 360 people, not getting fresh air at all for months,” Kadir later added.
Kadir said many of the migrants have developed a mysterious facial rash.
“We’re worried we’re all going to get it,” he said, lamenting what he called a lack of health care.
Kadir said he and other migrants were tested for COVID-19 after being transported to the Jizan facility but were not told of any positive cases. He added that given the crowded conditions, “If one of us had the virus, we all would by now.”
It was unclear, without comment from Saudi officials, whether COVID-19 has been diagnosed at Jizan or any other Saudi migrant detention center. The kingdom had recorded slightly more than 328,000 cases and 4,399 deaths nationwide as of Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University researchers. Ethiopia had nearly 67,000 cases and 1,060 deaths.
Some Jizan detainees have grown despondent. Teshome and Kadir said one young man hanged himself in the bathroom, using his marto or traditional wrap as a noose. Since then, detainees have been more vigilant in checking on each other, the two men said.
Ethiopian detainees also have complained, to VOA and other news outlets, of verbal abuse and physical beatings.
“People are suffering, continue to suffer,” Nadia Hardman, the Human Rights Watch researcher who prepared the organization’s report, told VOA in a phone interview last week.
Referring to Saudi Arabia’s oil wealth, she added, “We’re talking about a country that can have the resources to do something about it.”
But Ethiopia’s Foreign Ministry, in its news release, offered thanks, not criticism, to Saudi Arabia “for the outstanding support extended to our citizens in general, and Ethiopian irregular migrants, in particular. The Ethiopian mission staff lends a hand when different problems arise and works with the Saudi authorities to resolve them,” the news release said.
The Ministry also said the Ethiopian government must work harder to stop human trafficking, control borders and alert young people to the dangerous realities of illegal migration.
“We are not doing enough,” the Ministry said.
IOM estimates that, since 2017, at least 400,000 young Ethiopians have crossed to the Arab Peninsula seeking jobs, sometimes encouraged by Saudi recruiters or brought by human traffickers. An IOM study released in May found that at least a third of young Ethiopian migrants seeking work in Saudi Arabia underestimated potential hazards along the so-called Eastern Route to the Middle East, including the risk of boats capsizing in water crossings and of encountering the armed conflict in Yemen.
Teshome came from Ethiopia’s northeastern province of Wollo. The 21-year-old said his family helped him cover the traffickers’ fee of almost 70,000 Ethiopian birr, or $1,900, to get to Saudi Arabia. In Yemen, smugglers demanded more money to complete the journey, so Teshome’s relatives obliged — before the Houthi rebels disrupted his plans, sending him fleeing. He said his family still doesn’t know he is in Saudi detention.
“I took the risk and it didn’t work,” Teshome said. “At this point, I just want to go home to my parents.”
Kadir left his home in the Oromia region’s East Harerge zone six years ago and got as far as Yemen before running out of money. He did odd jobs such as washing cars. But as Yemen’s conflict dragged on, he refocused early this year on Saudi Arabia. He paid a smuggler but was abandoned before a river crossing. He wound up in a group of at least 200 migrants, walking by night to elude the rebels on the way to the kingdom. Then he, too, was taken into the Saudi’s migrant detention.
“I regret leaving my country,” Kadir said. “If I knew then what I know now, I never would have left my home. I’d rather die there than live here in this inhumane condition.”
This report originated in VOA’s Afan Oromo service, with Eskinder Firew contributing from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and Carol Guensburg from Washington.
Targeted attacks against Amharas have occurred again in Benishangul-Gumez Region of Ethiopia. Amhara Association of America (AAA) has received reports that 89 people mainly Amhara/Agew have been killed by Gumez militias in an attack spanning several days starting September 4. We are still collecting information, but here is what we have learned from our sources in Ethiopia:
The attacks were carried out in three kebeles (sub-districts) of the Bulen District, Metekel Zone, by a militia comprised of ethnic Gumuz (which comprise about 34% of the population in Bulen). The militias seized the victims from their homes during the night in three kebeles (Eipare, Koshe Gonjie and Moji) and took them to Eipare primary school. The militias handcuffed the victims, took them one by one to a shed they built nearby, and then shot them execution-style. Some were apparently killed in other locations for refusing to be taken to the school.
The victims were displaced from their homes in these kebeles in March 2020 by unknown assailants but were resettled back to their homes in June by the government. The Gumez militia told their victims in this attack that they are being killed for not respecting their order to leave “their (Benishangul) region”. The regional government responded first to this attack by censoring information by limiting data and cellular services but has now deployed the federal army after information started spreading beyond the Region.
This latest attack follows similar attacks against Amharas in Metekel zone of Benishangul in July.
Given the increasing frequency of the attacks in B-G and the regional government’s refusal to acknowledge until information about these attacks have been leaked, there seems to be implicit permission by the local authorities for this violence to occur.
List of Victims from the Eibare Kebele
One of the survivors, Ato Setotaw Awoke lost four family members and three employees:
Additional names of individuals killed:
We are asking anyone who has information regarding this tragedy to please email AAA at [email protected]
Note: This report has been shared with international human rights organizations, U.S. Congressional officials, State Department, and media.
By Belayneh Abate
A note to Eskinder Nega: Eskinder Nega, when Christ was taken to the death chamber, almost all his followers instantly betrayed him! May that betrayed God be with you at this time when many of us are betraying you siding with your criminal accusers and the unjust Pontus Pilates.
Its September 11 edition, the New York Times reported that police arrested a criminal who killed a 14 years old child 36 years ago. The American justice system investigated the killer of one child for 36 years. Whereas, in Ethiopia, mass murders who have been killing innocents for more than three decades are still in power and living luxuries lives. In fact, these habitual murderers are still participating in genocides, ethnic cleansings, and incarcerating veteran human right fighters such as the honorable Eskinder Nega.
Shamefully, a lot of intellectuals are working with these mass murderers instead of forcing them face national or international crime courts. Ethiopia, the nation which was historically known as the Land of Justice has become the field of injustice for many decades.
For thousands of years, Ethiopia was known for its depth of religious beliefs and strong national conscience. Unfortunately, its national conscience and religious beliefs are sinking deep as time goes on because of the unholy deeds of the opportunist intellectuals and religious leaders.
It is deeply regrettable to hear and watch some intellectuals considering the current EPRDF leaders including , Abiyote Ahmed, as a savior angle and Eskinder Nega as destroyer agent of Ethiopia. As God, clean conscience, history, and the people know, Abiyot Ahmed has been the loyal cadre and the spy chief of the Ethiopian People Democratic Front (EPRDF). EPRDF was established to force the people live in ethnic barns, harass and weaken Amara, and at the end destroy Ethiopia.
Eskinder Nega has been fighting against the retarded policies of EPRDF and destruction of Ethiopia for almost 30 years. During this period, he had been spied and incarcerated many times by the spy agency Abiyote Ahmed used to lead.
Alarmed by the persistent struggle of the likes of Eskendir and the Ethiopian people at large, Westerners removed the robber rulers of the TPLF and replaced them with Abiyote Ahmed and his cadre friends. By the eve of his ascension to power, Abiyote Ahmed fabricated a fake candy and he named it Ethiopia. Licking this fake candy with childish tongues, many gullible people start to worship him more than they worship God as a savior of Ethiopia.
While these gullible Ethiopians sing the song “our savior Abiy”, the ethnic division widens more than ever! People get massacred and displaced even worse than the Legese Zenawi time. Amara genocide and burning of churches became the norm. False accusation and imprisonment continued and the MAN Eskinder Nega became again the usual and frequent victim.
Little has changed in Ethiopia! The criminals are still in power. The former cadres are still the current cadres. The former jailers are still the jailers. The former prisoners are still the current prisoners.
Despite all these catastrohies, the opportunist and immoral intellectuals are dancing with Abiyot Ahmed betraying the veteran Ethiopian fighter, Eskinder Nega. As usual, the conscienceless opportunists spit lame excuses. They yell it is OK to betray the imprisoned Eskinder Nega and stand with the jailer Abyote Ahmed to save Ethiopia.
Whether now or six thousand years ago, opportunists never had conscience to distinguish the right from the wrong. While Eskinder Nega was standing with the people and fighting relentlessly to save Ethiopia for 30 years, Abiyot Ahmed was standing on the evil side of the isle and serving TPLF to destroy Ethiopia.
Come on people! Sooner or later we all are mortal! Why this degree of opportunistic behavior? Why this degree of support for injustice? Why this degree of betrayal? Where is your conscience? Where is your soul? Where is your moral standard? Where is your God?
Who has been selflessly working to save Ethiopia, EPRDF’s Abiyote Ahmed or Eskinder Nega?
Eskinder Nega, when Christ was taken to the death chamber, almost all his followers instantly betrayed him! May that betrayed God be with you at this time when many of us are betraying you siding with your criminal accusers and the unjust Pontus Pilates.
September 12, 2020
The writer can be reached at [email protected]
Zelalem Attlee (MD, MHCM, DrPH)
Attestations of the Amhara Genocide and Ethnic cleansing in Ethiopia The 20th and the 21st centuries have been marked by extreme violence and genocides globally. While the causes can be attributed to multiple factors, several subpopulations have been victims of these atrocious activities. The term genocide was first coined by Raphael Lemkin in 1944. He defines it as follows:
By “genocide” we mean the destruction of a nation or of an ethnic group.…Generally speaking, genocide does not necessarily mean the immediate destruction of a nation, except when accomplished by mass killings of all members of a nation. It is intended rather to signify a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves. The objectives of such a plan would be disintegration of the political and social institutions, of culture, language, national feelings, religion, and the economic existence of national groups, and the destruction of the personal security, liberty, health, dignity, and even the lives of the individuals belonging to such groups. Genocide is directed against the national group as an entity, and the actions involved are directed against individuals, not in their individual capacity, but as members of the national group.… Genocide has two phases: one, destruction of the national pattern of the oppressed group; the other, the imposition of the national pattern of the oppressor. This imposition, in turn, may be made upon the oppressed population which is allowed to remain, or upon the territory alone, after removal of the population and the colonization of the area by the oppressor’s own nationals.pp.79.
World War I saw the genocide of the Ottoman Armenians which subsequently led to the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923 by the push of the Entente Powers. While the perpetrators dodged prosecution, serial efforts by the UN in 1951 led to Artcle 2 regarding genocide and its legal applicability. According to the UN, Genocide as defined in Article 2 of the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide is stated as follows:
In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: (a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.pp.277.
Because, the UN definition of genocide excludes political groups and social classes as potential victims of genocide (“Genocide.” Europe Since 1914, 2006), acts of genocide in many occasions fall between the cracks definition wise either as crimes against humanity or mass killings. However, for example Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge’s killings were against ethnic and religious groups as well as the Khmers themselves. Nevertheless, some of the notable genocides of the past include the Armenian genocide by the Ottoman Turks, the genocide of the European Jews by the Nazis, The Rwandan genocide by the Hutus, the colonial genocides by the colonial powers in Africa, America and Australia, and the genocide of the Herero and Nama in German south-west Africa by the German general Lothar von Trotha (1848–1920). (Rothenberg, 2005) states the following:
In the present convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; and forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.pp.395-397.
In the twentieth century, however, genocides became more systematic, more extensive, and more deadly. They also became far more thoroughly imbued with an ideological character, with the claim, by perpetrators, that the utter destruction of an enemy group would pave the way toward a future of unlimited prosperity, uncontested power, and cultural efflorescence for the dominant group. In short, regimes that practiced genocide promised utopia to their followers (Weitz,2005). Through this utopianistic ideal of ethnocentrism, its advocates have imagined a homogeneous society of one sort or another. It is underscored through research the most genocidal perpetrators of the 20th century were revolutionary regimes of either fascist or communist commitments (Nazi Germany, the Stalinist Soviet Union, Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge) or states in the throes of some kind of uneasy revolutionary transformation (the late Ottoman Empire under the Young Turks, the former Yugoslavia under Slobodan Milosevic, Rwanda under the Hutu). Each of these regimes promised their followers a brilliant future once the enemy was destroyed (Weitz,2005).
The utopianistic rhetoric pattern followed by the EPLF-TPLF-OLF axis was similar to the Soviets, or the Nazis, which stated that the Amharas , where they were considered the extreme threats, should be eliminated by any means necessary. After the cessation of Eritrea, the TPLF-led EPRDF and OLF followed the same ideals and started the genocidal activities against Amharas all over Ethiopia. Amharas were considered outcasts: traitors, blood-suckers, parasites, neftegnas etc….Just like Soviet socialism , the TPLF-EPRDF republic , can only be saved by purging the Amharas which ranged from forced sterilization to horrifying mass genocides and displacements.
What we are witnessing today in Ethiopia is a continuation of the galla (Oromo) invasion that started in the mid 16th century. Before the mid 16th centuries the Gallas never lived in Ethiopia. They migrated from the lower east coast of Africa upwards north and resided in the current Mombasa area and sprung from there. The original Gallas are the Borenas which started expanding up north using a gangster culture called the Geda. Geda which means invasion is a criminal organization’s looting and killing strategy. According to Pankhurst (1997) the Oromos/Gallas started invading Ethiopia starting from 1521 by the first luba called Melbah. Every Luba rules for 8 years and is replaced by a new one. In order for a galla individual to become a luba he has to kill as many people as possible especially men and boys and become aba geda first and then luba. Haile G(1995) states the following in the Ye Abba Bahrey dirsetoch:
The Galla appeared from the west and crossed the river of their country, which they call gelena, to the frontier of Bali, in the time of the Hatse Wenag Segged. They are the two tribes who are called Bereytuma11 and Boren. They have neither king nor master like other peoples; rather they obey a luba for eight years. And after eight years another luba is appointed, and the first is relieved. They do so at every period. The meaning of luba is “those who are circumcised at the same time.” And the order of their circumcision is like this: when a luba steps down, the Bertuma and Boren each gives itself a name, just as the nigus’s regiments are called Sillus Hayle, Bedil Tsehay, and Giyorgis Hayle. Pp.198-201 So essentially the Aba Geda who is the head of the clan and his military wing Aba Dula are murderers who essentially killed hundreds and thousands of people. Because of the Galla invasion within 80 years 28 tribes and languages were completely wiped out due to mass genocide and mass enslavement called gerba. The Geda, which is fundamentally a murder incorporated like militaristic organization thrives by the killing of other non Galla(Oromo) tribes, confiscating and/or destroying their properties and enslaving the survivors.The mogassa system of Geda enslaved many Ethiopians of amhara, guraghe, hadiya, kembata, wolayita tribes starting from the late 16th century.
The enslavement included raping the women, killing them at will, forbidding to speak their language, changing their name and identity. This led to a massive number of slaves more than the borena and barentu galas which became a 9:1 ratio of slave to Gallas. So today those people who claim to be Oromos 90% of them have no Galla heritage, they are descendants of the enslaved non Galla (Oromo) tribes (Reyot panel discussion, 2020) . Because the Geda looting and killing strategy stayed so long it eventually became a culture that perpetuated physical and cultural genocide in Ethiopia, destroying the country’s development and civilization. In the 20th century, the rise of communism opened a new window to modify this ethnicidal culture by reducing history, killing more non Oromos and displacing millions through different maneuvers.
The Oromos came up with fabricating and reducing history by falsifying it and distorting it for propaganda purposes. They claimed they are the first human beings on earth and in Ethiopia, while they were not originally present in the horn of Africa region. They came and occupied Ethiopian provinces through mass genocides in the 16th century following the invasion of Ahmed Gragn. In the OLF rhetoric the Amharas are “culture-destroying race” and should be destroyed ultimately. According to the speeches of fanatic Oromo and Tigrian leaders , such as Ezkiel Gabissa, Jawar Mohammed, Bekele Gerba, Shimelis Abdissa and Meles Zenawi , the Amharas should be eliminated through a war of annihilation in which one side would triumph and the other would be utterly destroyed. According to these Oromo fanatics, Oromos health and prosperity would be restored and become even greater through the victorious struggle against the Amharas. With final victory Oromia as a nation would be powerful, its rule uncontested, its domination feared. As a people, Oromos would be productive and prosperous, with freely flowing water, freshly flowering plants, and smiling people. Everyone would be joined in a racially homogeneous grouping, with healthy members and the elderly well cared for.
The other element that has been used by the TPLF-led EPRDF and the Oromo fanatics on Amharas and other non Oromo tribes is disenfranchisement. West’s Encyclopedia of American Law, (2005) defines disenfranchisement as the removal of the rights and privileges inherent in an association with a group; the taking away of the rights of a free citizen, especially the right to vote, sometimes called disenfranchisement. The relinquishment of a person’s right to membership in a corporation is distinguishable from a motion, which is the act of removing an officer from an office without depriving him or her of membership in the corporate body. Most conspicuously, the Jim Crow Laws passed by Southern states effectively disfranchised African-Americans from the late nineteenth century until well into the 20th century.
There are many experiences of disenfranchisement in world history. (Golfo, 2004) states the following: … during the time of Joseph Stalin, also described as lishentsy, the disenfranchised were not only denied the ability to vote and to be elected to the local governing bodies or soviets: Under Josef Stalin the disenfranchised lost myriad rights and became effective outcasts of the Soviet state. They lost the right to work in state institutions or factories or to serve in the Red Army. They could not obtain a ration card or passport. The disenfranchised could not join a trade union or adopt a child, and they were denied all forms of public assistance, such as a state pension, aid, social insurance, medical care, and housing. Many lishentsy were deported to forced labor camps in the far north and Siberia. Rates of disenfranchisement were higher in those areas with large non-Russian populations. Although portrayed as bourgeois elements, the disenfranchised actually included a wide variety of people, such as gamblers, tax evaders, embezzlers, and ethnic minorities. The poor, the weak, and the elderly were especially vulnerable to disenfranchisement.pp.397-398
The disenfranchisement experience of Amharas was subtle. It is embedded in an ethnic cleansing strategy. The disenfranchisement experience of Amharas is aligned to party membership and loyalty in the Amhara region to non participation in any kind of political activity in other regions. Not only were the Amharas were peripheral in the political arena of the ethnic states, they were sidelined in economic activities or getting organized in associations for their rights outside of Amhara and Addis Ababa areas. This has resulted in massive exodus from the ethnic regions due to social, political and economic reasons.
The TPLF-led EPRDF motto of ethnic federalism is based on language and randomly assigning populations in to ethnic lines. (Ethnic Cleansing: Since 1914: Encyclopedia of the Age of War and Reconstruction, 2006) states the following :
These two views (language, family origin) taken together, are usually referred to as ethnic nationalism. Ethnic cleansing is a practical reconciliation of these two ideas of the nation and power. If political legitimacy rests with the nation, and the nation is defined in ethnic terms, minority groups have a poor claim to political right. The popular explanation of ethnic cleansing, which also became current in the 1990s, can be summarized as “ancient hatred.” Yet the very idea that the groups who cleanse and are cleansed are ancient is itself an artifact of modern nationalism. At the level of society, ethnic cleansing, once it has been started, tends to self-perpetuate. Perpetrators initiated into murder and rape acquire the habit. Victims who respond with armed force, and even victims who flee, can be presented as evidence that the initial action of cleansing was justified. Since some kind of self-defense or revenge can be expected, ethnic cleansers consciously or unconsciously are targeting their own group when they attack another. Once attacks on civilians of different groups are underway, the question of blame becomes a matter of propaganda. In general, populations that are attacked will believe that they are the victims, even when organizations acting in their name initiated the violence. A situation can quickly emerge in which rival organizations kill civilians in the name of the self-defense of their own civilians. In some cases of ethnic cleansing, this moment of general violence seems to destroy older social norms of cohabitation and create fertile ground for the spread and reception of nationalist propaganda. In a situation that seems senseless, nationalism seems to provide an explanation for what is happening and a program for collective survival. In the proper conditions, an armed attack on a small number of civilians can become a war of nation against nation. PP.989-993.
As a grand strategy of ethnic federalism in Ethiopia, the strategic implementations of ethnic policies have taken turn to the worst in many regional states in the past 30 years. Ethnic cleansing and genocide on Amharas have been major problems in Ethiopia, wherever hate-filled gangster groups such as TPLF, and OLF reside. These gangster groups front themselves with a political posturing to execute their business agenda. (Naimark, 2005) states the following:
Genocide and ethnic cleansing occupy adjacent positions on a spectrum of attacks on national, religious, and ethnic groups. At one extreme, ethnic cleansing is close to forced deportation or what has been called “population transfer;” the idea is to get people to move, and the means are meant to be legal and semi-legal. At the other extreme, ethnic cleansing and genocide are distinguishable only by the ultimate intent. Here, both literally and figuratively, ethnic cleansing bleeds into genocide, as mass murder is committed in order to rid the land of a people. Further complicating the distinctions between ethnic cleansing and genocide is the fact that forced deportation often takes place in the violent context of war, civil war, or aggression. At the same time, people do not leave their homes peacefully. They often have deep roots in the locales; their families are buried in local graveyards. The result is that forced deportation, even in times of peace, quickly turns to violence, as local peoples are forcibly evicted from their native towns and villages and killed when they try to stay. Ethnic cleansing takes on genocidal overtones not only at the initial point of violence. Victims often die in transit or in refugee camps at their destinations.pp301-304.
Since PM Abiy Ahmed came to power, there is a widespread genocide and Amharas and other non Oromo groups like Guraghes, Gamos and other tribes by the Oromo fanatics in the Oromia region. The genocide has the following characteristics:
a. In the education sector: burning down schools and colleges owned by amharas primarily and guraghes. In Universities directly killing amhara students, kidanapping –raping and killing non Oromo primarily amhara girls.
c. Churches: burning and looting churches (30 Orthodox churches) so far and killing priests and attendees
d. Wiping out Ethiopian identity through
The use of the governance structure to eliminate Amharas was one of the key strategies in the architecture of amhara genocide. The Oromia regional state, Sidamo zone, Benshangul Gumuz regional state are good examples. Especially in Oromia region, the president of the region, Shimelis Abdissa, has clearly stated in many occasions in public and in conferences that the ultimate goal of the Oromos is to cripple amharas and disenfranchise and eliminate them. Through the Oromia regional state governance structure and Through TPLF-EPRDF they implemented the following:
Throughout the past 30 years and counting 90% of the killings of amhara happened in the Oromia region. However, the amharas were and still are hunted in Benshangul-Gumuz, Tigray, Wolkait-Tegede, Raya, North shoa, Sidamo, Bench-maji, Somali, and the outskirts of Addis Ababa. In Oromia all urban, peri-urban and rural towns have been the centers of mass killings in the past 30 years. However, the killings escalated in the past 2 years to a higher level resulting in the mortality of thousands and displacement of non-Oromos in the millions. PM Abiy himself came out of the Oromo wing of EPRDF and all the current officials at the top level in the Oromia Region were assigned by him. He continuously either denies the amhara genocide and states that Oromos were killed in order to save the day of blame on his Oromo compadres or he attempts to wash his hands off of the sin by stating that it is not his responsibility to stop the atrocities because he is at the federal level. One way or the other Abiy cannot escape the respondeat superior conviction, because everything happened under his government, ideology and by his party comrades. Abiy’s weak leadership and his lack of capacity to take measures have cost thousands of lives and billions of dollars of economic loss. Recently he has arrested some of the leaders of the genocide along with thousands of foot soldiers. From what it seems, the trial is going to end up as a political exercise instead of criminal court. The perpetrators who are in jail and the thousands who are at large are still wrecking havoc in Oromia in the past 2 weeks alone. This shows the loop holes in Abiy’s leadership and his measures to solve the problem. If he releases Jawar and Bekele Gerba through political negotiation, then it will further embolden the qero and the other enemies of the state and a lot of civilians will die due to the continuing genocide and ethnic cleansing. Abiy or the next leader whoever he/she might be should be swift in handling crimes against humanity in Ethiopia.
The Amahara genocide by TPLF, Oromo fanatics, Benshangul and Sidama needs a special attention by the international community. It is the culmination of a serious fracture in the ideology and structure of the EPRDF as a whole, and the Ethiopian constitution which based on ethnic fragmentation and governance and the policies that are the byproduct of it. Thousands have been killed and millions have been internally displaced by this regime in the past 30 years. A complete overhaul of the system starting from the ideology is highly imperative. The financial sources of this staggering terror should be uncovered and responsible parties should be accountable to the law. Regional foes such as Egypt and other Arab countries have been funding these terror groups to push their own regional agenda at the expense of a genocide. The perpetrators have to be accountable by law for committing genocide, crimes against humanity and mass killings of the Amharas, Orthodox Christians and Non Oromo speaking tribes such as Guraghes, Gedios, and Gamos. If justice is not served swiftly on those who led and who
ATTESTATIONS OF THE AMHARA GENOCIDE AND ETHNIC 16 committed such horrendous crimes, Ethiopia will be going into a prolonged civil war in the near future.
“Disfranchisement.” West’s Encyclopedia of American Law, edited by Shirelle Phelps and Jeffrey Lehman, 2nd ed., vol. 3, Gale, 2005, pp. 454-455. Gale eBooks, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/CX3437701425/GVRL?u=uphoenix&sid=GVRL&xid=53 0b7fb8. Accessed 21 Aug. 2020.
“Ethnic Cleansing.” Europe Since 1914: Encyclopedia of the Age of War and Reconstruction, edited
by John Merriman and Jay Winter, vol. 2, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2006, pp. 989-993. Gale
eBooks, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/CX3447000329/GVRL?u=uphoenix&sid=GVRL&xid=8712e451. Accessed 27 Aug. 2020.
“Genocide.” Europe Since 1914: Encyclopedia of the Age of War and Reconstruction, edited by John Merriman and Jay Winter, vol. 3, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2006, pp. 1194-1206. Gale eBooks, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/CX3447000391/GVRL?u=uphoenix&sid=GVRL&xid=50d645d1 . Accessed 21 Aug. 2020.
Alexopoulos, Golfo. “Disenfranchized Persons.” Encyclopedia of Russian History, edited by James R. Millar, vol. 1, Macmillan Reference USA, 2004, pp. 397-398. Gale eBooks, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/CX3404100363/GVRL?u=uphoenix&sid=GVRL&xid=ecf88664. Accessed 21 Aug. 2020.
Haile, G. (1995). Ye Abba Bahrey Dirsetoch (Rev ed.). Collegville, MN: Avon.
Naimark, Norman M. “Ethnic Cleansing.” Encyclopedia of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity, edited by Dinah L. Shelton, vol. 1, Macmillan Reference USA, 2005, pp. 301-304. Gale eBooks, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/CX3434600118/GVRL?u=uphoenix&sid=GVRL&xid=a70808b4. Accessed 27 Aug. 2020.
Pankhurst, Richard (1997). The Ethiopian Borderlands: Essays in Regional History from Ancient Times to the End of the 18th Century
Raphael Lemkin, Axis Rule in Occupied Europe: Laws of Occupation, Analysis of Government, Proposals for Redress. Washington, D.C., 1944, p. 79.
Rothenberg, Daniel. “Genocide.” Encyclopedia of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity, edited by Dinah L. Shelton, vol. 1, Macmillan Reference USA, 2005, pp. 395-397. Gale eBooks, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/CX3434600145/GVRL?u=uphoenix&sid=GVRL&xid=382e46ea. Accessed 27 Aug. 2020.
Tsegaye, T. (Facilitator)., Larebo, H. (Presenter)., Tegegne, H. (Presenter)., & Tamiru, A. (Presenter). (9/1/2020). Reyot Hasesa: Geda ena Mesert Yelesh Tiriktochu [Video podcast]. Reyot hassesa. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/2dtJB5yw-go United Nations Treaty Series, no. 1021, vol. 78 (1951), p. 277.
Weitz, Eric D. “Utopian Ideologies as Motives for Genocide.” Encyclopedia of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity, edited by Dinah L. Shelton, vol. 3, Macmillan Reference USA, 2005, pp. 1124-1127. Gale eBooks, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/CX3434600356/GVRL?u=uphoenix&sid=GVRL&xid=589fa3cf. Accessed 27 Aug. 2020.