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UNKNOWN NUMBER OF PEOPLE KILLED IN ONGOING VIOLENCE IN OROMIA SPECIAL ZONE AND NORTH SHEWA ZONE, AMHARA REGION AS WARRING FACTIONS TRADE BLAME

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BY BILEH JELAN @BILEHJELAN

Addis Abeba March 22, 2021 – Reports of an ongoing conflict between Amhara residents backed by Amhara Special Forces (Liyu Hail), a claim by Oromo witnesses and Oromo residents of both Oromia Special Zone and North Shewa Zone in Amhara Regional State flooded social media over the weekend. The number of victims and injured are yet to be specified but graphic pictures allegedly from the clashes have been circulating social media. The conflict was first reported on Friday March 19, 2021 night and according to sources on the ground that spoke to Addis Standard, is still ongoing. The violence saw the burning down of religious institution as reports have been suggesting, something Addis Standard was able to confirm through North Shewa Zone Peace and Security bureau head, Abera Mekonnen who said, “A mosque and a church have been burned down in Ataye as a result of the violence, I can’t give more details as investigations on the matter are ongoing.”

“A MOSQUE AND A CHURCH HAVE BEEN BURNED DOWN IN ATAYE AS A RESULT OF THE VIOLENCE, I CAN’T GIVE MORE DETAILS AS INVESTIGATIONS ON THE MATTER ARE ONGOING.”

ABERA MEKONNEN , NORTH SHEWA ZONE PEACE AND SECURITY BUREAU HEAD
On March 21, the Amhara Regional State issued a statement through the facebook page of its communication bureau where it acknowledged the occurrence of violence without specifying the number of dead and injured and blamed the violence on the Oromo Liberation Army (often referred by the government as OLF/Shene) and ‘remnants of TPLF. The statement read, “The regional government will launch an investigation into the violence, get information on the human cost and property damage and make the information available to the public.” The statement also offered condolences and promised to bring perpetrators to justice, “We would like to inform the regional government that it is deeply saddened by the loss of life and property caused by the clashes in Jile Tumuga and North Shewa Zone of the regional state and will bring to justice the perpetrators of this heinous crime and all their accomplices. Our people must stand by the government in order to prevent attacks by the TPLF and the rest of the TPLF in the area where these attacks took place and in other parts of the region.”

Sisay Damte, the head of peace and security bureau of the regional state corroborated the statement by Amhara Regional State and explained that the violence broke out after the shooting of one individual. He didn’t specify the nature of the attacks but went on saying that the attack is carried out by unspecified armed groups. He said that additional militia, special forces and the federal police were deployed to the area as of Saturday, March 20, 2021. The peace and security bureau urged the community to stay patient and vigilant and promised to issue an update as to who is behind the conflict and the amount of damage.

However, Hassan Hadiya, a resident of Kemise who spoke to Addis Standard tells a different story. According to Hassan, the violence started after Amhara Special police shot an individual in front of the grand mosque in Ataye after night prayers (Isha). He said, “The conflict started four days ago, it started Friday night and it is still ongoing especially in Kemise town. It started in Ataye as a result of Amhara Special Forces shooting an individual at the doorsteps of the grand mosque there.” When he was asked about the numbers of casualties and injuries, he said, “The conflict is still ongoing and there are a lot of reported casualties, I can’t give you an exact number but it is high. There is severe damage to properties, a whole compound of houses were burned down, there is damage to farms and vehicles.” He explained that clashes between Oromo residents and Amhara Special Forces are not new and have been a recurring sight for the last two years. He added, “Oromos have always suffered in this region. They attack us merely because we are Oromo.” He concludes, “We heard there are similar attacks in North Shewa, what I heard is two injured, were taken out of the ambulance and shot at close range, I have no way of confirming that but that is what is reaching us here in Kemise.”

“….WHEN THE VIOLENT MOB BACKED BY LIYU HAIL REACHED KEMISE THE COMMUNITY PUSHED BACK AGAINST THIS AGGRESSION AND CORNERED THE AGGRESSORS INTO A CAMP THAT BELONG TO AMHARA LIYU HAIL IN AN AREA CALLED ‘GALMA ABBA GADA’ WAITING FOR THE ARRIVAL OF FEDERAL FORCES AND NOW THE FEDERAL FORCES ARE SURROUNDING THE CAMP, PREVENTING LIYU HAIL FROM ATTACKING THE COMMUNITY.”

ALI USMAN
Ahmed, who wanted to go by his first name for security reasons, said, “The situation is spiraling out of control. The Amhara Liyu Police are attacking civilians and going on a burning campaign especially in Kemise. People are leaving the city for the rural areas and it is only worsening not getting better.” Ahmed explained to Addis Standard that when Federal forces arrived the Amhara Liyu police engaged them. When asked about the immediate reaction by the Oromo community residing in Kemise Ahmed said, “We had no choice but to defend ourselves against this transgression, but let’s make something clear when I say defend ourselves, the community is lightly armed and their mechanisms of defense are closure of roads and community watch.” He continued, “I know what the other side is saying but it is a government force attacking unarmed civilians and no matter how they try to hide this truth behind any propaganda, the fact remains that Amhara Liyu Police shot the deputy imam of Ataye grand mosque and that ignited what you see now.” Ali Usman, a Kemisie resident told Addis Standard, “We were defending ourselves, the situation is very serious for us here. We had to defend ourselves against a regional government that wanted to harm us.” He explains, “There were these sentiments that suggested that they wanted to do in Wollo what they did in Raya and other places. It was premeditated, they killed that imam in Ataye and they harmed the elders.” He continues, “It is the Amhara community youth backed by the Liyu Hail. When the violent mob backed by Liyu Hail reached Kemise the community pushed back against this aggression and cornered the aggressors into a camp that belong to Amhara Liyu Hail in an area called ‘Galma Abba Gada’ waiting for the arrival of Federal forces and now the federal forces are surrounding the camp, preventing Liyu Hail from attacking the community.”

“THE FEDERAL POLICE COMMISSION IS A NEUTRAL POLICE FORCE, IT IS HELPING BOTH SOCIETIES IMPARTIALLY TO DECREASE TENSIONS AND IT IS DOING SO TO SOLVE THE CONFLICT PEACEFULLY AND TO REDUCE THE LOSS OF LIVES AND PROPERTY.”

JEYLAN ABDI, FEDERAL POLICE COMMISSION SPOKESPERSON
Ahmed and Ali’s accounts of Federal intervention are corroborated by comments from the Federal Police Commission spokesperson, Jeylan Abdi who told Addis Standard, “The claims that the Federal Police is engaged in clashes with Amhara Special Forces is not true.” He added, “The federal police commission is a neutral police force, it is helping both societies impartially to decrease tensions and It is doing so to solve the conflict peacefully and to reduce the loss of lives and property.”

On his part, Ahmed Hassan, Oromia Special Zone administrator spoke to Oromia Broadcasting Network (OBN) and corroborated Hassan’s story about the reason behind the start of the conflict, he said, “An oromo was killed when he was leaving the mosque in Ataye and his death ignited the violence.” He did not mention who was behind the attack on the individual but he added, “We tried to solve the matter by speaking to elders in the community to advise calm and patience but that did not succeed and the conflict escalated.” He explained that there are ongoing efforts by the federal police to restore calm.

Recent clashes come in the backdrop of similar incidents and show patterns of a long standing conflict that claimed lives and properties and like previous episodes of violence contradicting narratives were presented. Last time local authorities in Ataye blamed armed militiamen “affiliated with Oromo Liberation front (OLF)” for the violence, authorities in Kemise blame the regional state’s special forces as the initial cause of the violence, this time around witness testimonies blame the regional special forces while the regional government accuse both OLF-Shene and TPLF of being behind the violence.

The attacks come also in continuation of sporadic ethnically and religiously motivated episodes of violence that wreak havoc across Amhara Regional State since November 2019, they also come as the border conflicts between Ethiopia and Sudan intensifies, as the Ethiopian government accuses Sudan of demolishing Ethiopian administrative institutions, overtaking military camps, killing and displacing residents, and destroying their crops and properties.

Addis Standard contacted Amhara Communication Bureau for comments on the involvement of Amhara Special Forces and in turn the bureau referred Addis Standard to its facebook page. AS

4 Comments

  1. Basing our assertion on this report above
    – If the so called culprits , ie Amara regional Liyu Hayil especial forces who backed a “mob” are currently inside their camps surrounded inside their camp.
    Also -If the victimized community which were initially attacked by the “mob” who were backed by the Amara regional especial forces on their own the victimized community managed to corner such a well trained and equipped Amara military Liyu Hayil until Federal forces arrive in the area.

    Then we will have check the facts
    How is it the victimized community and the federal still unable to corner the “mob” while the victimized community without the help of the federal was able to corner the Amara regional Liyu Hayil to ts camp on its own?
    Is the “mob” more capable than the Amara Liyu Hayil ? Is that why the “mob” is so un-cornorable while the less capable Amara Liyu Hayil was cornered right away by the victimized communities?

    /==/-=
    Is this really just another mob or as many indicated are these “the freedom fighters /ALF Amara Liberation Front who fought tooth and nail to bring down Meles , Hailemariam Desalegn and maybe are still fighting tooth and nail to bring down Abiy too” ?
    Or is the “mob” the group known as the Querro?
    Or is the “mob” Fano?
    Or is the “mob” Arbegnoch አርበኞች
    Or is the “mob” Balderas ባልዶራስ

    Or is the “mob” all ALF, ፋኖ, Querro , Balderas ባልደራስ and Arbegnoch አርበኞች all together?

  2. I am reading the following tweets on the activist Seenaa twitter page. There are other similar tweets on other individuals’ pages. I am reading a different account as to what happened and who started this latest bloodshed. I am not sure who is telling nothing but the truth. That is why I am strongly advocating for an independent investigative body consisting of reputable foreign and domestic experts who will work under oath. I am in no way questioning the integrity of my dear editors but the story is taking place thousands of miles away. I am not also discrediting the claim by Seenaa bint Jimjimo either. The debate is becoming a pissing contest where one is saying a certain militia started all and the other side saying it is the other armed group that began killing innocent civilians. Take a look at these tweets.

    1) D Amhara barbaric liyu force, militias&elites work hand in hand. They kill& claim the body. In dc last year, they shot at our youth but They went on d media to claim they were shot at. Now in Wallo, they are killing Oromos &burning houses. Yet claim it happened to them. Coexist??

    2) Amhara force = heartless and mindless force/animals. They go after the weak and defenseless like women, children and injured.
    I think Ethiopians are happy such barbarism is no longer being acted under the name of Ethiopia rather pure and cold truth, the Amhara national force/mil

    3) Amhara regional forces are burning housing, destroy properties, killing anyone who speaks afaan oromo. In normal scenarios you call on federal force to step in but d federal force does seem to be okay wth what’s happening. Those of you in oromia regional force w/conscious 2stp in

    So who is telling the truth? I’m totally lost here and I believe so are many among the Diaspora like me.

  3. Ato Mujib Jamal , Director of The Vital Events agency of Ethiopia who also happens to be the main person overseeing the Immigration and Nationality agency of Ethiopia recently said “This upcoming Ethiopia’s election is the first perfect , legal and fair voting registertion of it’s kind in Ethiopia .” .

    There is no vital event taking place except the national election this year in Ethiopia. Or is there?

    1)Two pastors beheaded as violence against Christians flares in Ethiopia November 13, 2019 | NewsAdmin
    https://www.zehabesha.com/wp-content/uploads/abiy-ahmed-4×3.jpg

    Two Ethiopian pastors have been beheaded in Sebeta, near the capital Addis Ababa, in an outburst of violence against Christians at the end of October, reported a Barnabas Fund contact.

    The contact said that the situation on the ground has become “quite challenging for Christians” and many churches have been burnt this year. There is also an unverified report that a group of Christians has been forced out of the majority-Muslim town of Ginir, located 303 miles south-east of the capital.

    Abiy Ahmed, prime minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

    2)The army was called in to restore order after 67 people were killed and 213 wounded in Addis Ababa and the Oromia region during several days of unrest.

    Muslim activist and high profile media mogul, Jawar Mohammed, is thought to have provoked the unrest when he announced to his supporters that the government had removed his personal security protection. Subsequent street protests against Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed erupted in violence.

    Violent ethnic clashes have led to some twenty million Ethiopians becoming internally displaced.

    The first phase was to break the arms and spirits of the Nephtegnas, as Shimeles at the Irecchaa in Finfinne announced, the breaking was done by finishing the Nephtegna’s leaders armed forces head Asaminew , Ambachew , Saere , Fano , Baldera and alike.

    Now the second phase is being implemented, by dismembering the broken Nephtegna just in time before the Nephtegna’s broken spirits and the Nephtegna’s broken arms begin to heal back, phase two is being done swiftly with the signature slick methods, since Church cannot exist without the elder leaders they will not even feel phase two, until phase three or above is implemented.. You guys are a disgrace to you race and and nation.
    why do you need to write what religion Jewar Mohammed follows. Its a kind of intimidation you guys use to eliminate from the political environment someone from the minorities or Islamic faith background.
    Make no mistake that the time of One religion, one country and one people is gone!!!
    Ethiopia is for nation and nationalities and whom respect their rite to exists.
    If you are one of those fools witting your dead kings to resurrect, that never happens. Therefore, get used it because Jawar Mohammed is going to be the first democratically elected PM Of Ethiopia!

    Some say The Amara Orthodox Christian priests extremists are responsible for perpetrating these two Evangelical Pastors death.

    The Amara Orthodox extremist Christians must be put in jail right away to ensure the safety of the Ethiopian people .

    ኢትዮጵያ የጥላቻ ንግግርና የሐሰተኛ መረጃ ስርጭትን ለመከላከልNovember 9, 2019 – .

    · .አያቶላህ ጃዋር ግራኝ መሐመድ ከወንጀሉ ለመደበቅ የሚከተላቸው ስልቶች! – አቻምየለህ ታምሩ November 14, 2019
    ጆርጅ ኦርዌል ‹‹Notes on Nationalism›› በተባለው ዝነኛ ጽሑፉ ብሔርተኛ ልሂቃን የራሳቸው ወገን የፈጸመውን ግፍ አለማውገዝ ብቻ ሳይሆን ግፉን ለመደበቅ ያላቸው ችሎታም አስገራሚ ነው ይላል። የአያቶላህ ጃዋር መሐመድ ወታደሮች በትናንትናው እለት በሐረርጌ ውስጥ በኢትዮጵያ ኦርቶዶክስ ቤተ ክርስቲያን ላይ ያደረሱትን ውድመት ለመደበቅ ኦ.ኤም.ኤን. የተባለው የአያቶላህ ጃዋር መሐመድ ቴሌቭዥን የሄደበት ርቀት ለጆርጅ ኦርዌል ጽሑፍ አይነተኛ ምሳሌ ነው።

    ኅዳር 3 ቀን 2011 ዓ.ም. በጃዋር መሐመድ መንጋ በሐረርጌ የኢትዮጵያ ኦርቶዶክስ ተዋህዶ ቤተ ክርስቲያኖች መቃጠላቸውን የነገረችን ባለቤቷ የኢትዮጵያ ኦርቶዶክስ ተዋህዶ ቤተ ክርስቲያን ናት። የእምነት ቤቱ ባለቤት ቤቷ መቃጠሉን የነገረችንን ነው እንግዲህ የአያቶላህ ጃዋር ቴሌቭዥን አልተቃጠለም ውሸት ነው የሚለን። ነገሩ የጊዮርጊስን መገበሪያ የበላ ተናገር ተናገር ይለዋል ነው። የኦ.ኤም.ኤን. የክህደት ዘገባ በቤተ ክርስቲያን ቃጠሎ ጀርባ ያለው አካል ወንጀሉን ለመደበቅ የሚያደርገው እቅድ አካል ነው።

    ባገራችን መንግሥት ስለሌለ ከ100 በላይ ንጹሐንን በሃይማኖታቸውና በማንነታቸው ምክንያት በግፍ ያስጨፈጨፈው ቀንደኛ ወንጀለኛ ያላንዳች ጠያቂ መንግሥት ነኝ በሚለው አካል ጠባቂ ተመድቦለት ደልቶት ተዘባኖ እየፏለለ ይገኛል። ወንጀል ከሕግ በላይ ሊሆን የሚችለው መንግሥት በሌለበት አገር ነው። በዐቢይ አሕመድ ኢትዮጵያ አያቶላህ ጃዋር ከሕግ በላይ ነው። ምንም ቢያደርግ ተጠያቂነት የለበትም። በርግጥ በዚህ ተጠያቂው ቀንደኛ ወንጀለኛው ጃዋር ሳይሆን ቀዳማዊ ተጠያቂው ወንጀለኛው አገዛዝ ነው።

    ባጭሩ አያቶላህ ጃዋር ተራራ ከሚያክለው ወንጀሉ ለመደበቅ የሚጠቀማቸው ሁለት ዋና ዋና ስልቶች አሉት። አንደኛው ጆርጅ ኦርዌል እንዳለው በሚቆጣጠረው ሚዲያና በሚያሰማራቸው እንደ በቀለ ገርባ አይነት ነውረኞች ወንጀሉን መደበቅ ሲሆን ሁለተኛው ስልት ደግሞ የሚፈጽመውን አሰቃቂ ወንጀል ከራሱ በተቃራኒ ነው በሚለው አካል እንደተፈጸመው ወደ ውጭ መግፋት [externalize ማድረግ] ወይም በተቃራኒ ያለ አካል ለመፈጸመው የተሰጠ ግብረ መልስ አድርጎ false equivalance መፍጠር ናቸው። የሐረርጌውን የቤተክርስቲያን ቃጠሎ የካደው የዛሬው የኦ.ኤም.ኤን. ዘገባ ከመጀመሪያው ስልት የሚመደብ ነው።

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  4. Ok folks! We have heard it all from the horse’s mouth. PM Abiy himself has finally admitted that serious human rights violations have been committed by soldiers of the defense forces in Tigray. He has admitted that women were raped and properties were looted by the soldiers. He has also promised that those who committed these crimes will be held accountable. I say good luck with that. Such wartime accountability will not be limited to the rank and file soldiers. It will travel all the way up in the ranks of commanding officers. You know or should expect what this entails. Mutinies that lead to a coup can be in the offing/plan right now as we speak. Remember war crimes are punishable by death and field commanders can be held responsible for allegedly widespread looting and rape. Jula and Bacha! Look out!! Abiy! Look out!!! How about Eritrean soldiers? Were they involved in the war? He did not say a word about that! He had told the world no foreign troops were involved in the war. Many have believed him. I did. Well, well, well!!! Is this the way how it still works? Ok bigots! Finally, you may be getting your wishes!!! The old country is on a silver platter just for to enjoy and pull it apart until it is unrecognizable!

    Here is what PM Abiy is saying:

    Office of the Prime Minister – Ethiopia
    @PMEthiopia
    “Reports indicate that atrocities have been committed in Tigray region. Regardless of the TPLF propaganda of exaggeration, any soldier responsible for raping our women & looting communities in the region will be held accountable as their mission is to protect.”

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