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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Somalia War, a cover for genocide against the Oromos

By Siddise Abamagal -
Dec 4, 2006 — The current development in the Horn seems to be eclipsing the Oromo people’s quest for freedom, justice, democracy and self determination. This is exactly what the Zenawi minority regime has been planning for years. It is an open secret that Oromos have been the major victims of this regime. Oromo political forces, haven been the main opponents and challengers of the Tigrain People Liberation Front (TPLF) misrule. The rise of Oromo nationalism combined with awareness about the increasing human rights abuses and lootings of the Oromian resources by TPLF-managed companies are posing serious challenges to the dictatorial regime of Meles Zenawi. At a time when the Oromo plight and their struggle for justice are gaining international recognition, the regime is seeking various methods to continue unleashing its anti-Oromo policies by diverting the attention of the international community.
In 2004, when prominent human right groups such is Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch produced detailed reports about the gross human rights violations against Oromos, the regime, instead of addressing those concerns, changed focus to the election which Oromos know from the outset that it would be a sham election which the regime would not only rig it but also identify its main opponents among the citizens. In the run up for the 1992 election, the regime purposely excluded the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), the vanguard Oromo political force, knowing that OLF could win the election in a land slide victory in Oromia. The same method has been applied during the 2005 election. Since OLF was declared "illegal", it could not participate in the election. To over shadow the plight of Oromo people, the regime allowed smaller and new political parties to participate. Strangely enough, to give a semblance of free and democratic election, the regime allowed these new parties to gain access to government owned media. By doing so, it was able to temporarily dupe the world and peace loving Ethiopians that Ethiopia is entering a new era. However, the Zenawi failed to understand that it was rejected by Ethiopian people until the residents of Finfinne (Addis Ababa), on May 8, 2005, marched to show their support to opposition parties and their preparedness to oust him through ballot.
Having caught up red handed while cheating the vote, Zenawi unleashed his secret weapon against those who were peacefully demanding their vote to be respected. An elected Oromo member of the parliament Tasfaye Adane was killed in broad day light by government security forces. The entire leadership of the opposition parties, mainly from the Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD), were put in prison and charged with treason and genocide. The entire free press in the country has been silenced and journalists have been jailed. His Western friends who once praised him of being one of the "African new generations of democrats" were forced to see the true nature of Zenawi’s regime.
Now a year and half after the election, the regime is trying to come with a new cover up to unleash new wave of genocide against the Oromo dissents. For those who are following the development, hundreds of Oromo members of the army were compelled to defect and several othe rs including high ranking Oromo military and police officers were sacked and replaced by those who are less competent to speak against the regime. Hundreds of Oromo soldiers, led by Brig. General Kemal Gelchu, Brig. General Hailu Gonfa, Colonel Gammachu Ayana, Colonel Ababa Garesu and many other high ranking officers have defected to OLF after realizing the unwavering anti-Oromo, anti-democratic and dictatorial stand of the regime. The commander of Ethiopian air force, the only remaining senior Oromo military official, General Alemishet Degife and army Brig General Kumera have been sacked. Military sources close to the regime disclosed that at least 41 Oromo members of the military above the ranks of major, including General Aloo, have been sacked and immediately put under detention. The regime has forced prominent Oromo lawyers, such us judge Tashale Abara to exile so that they cannot defend the rights of their people in the court of law. It has also threatened to death Oromo members of parliament such as Dr Getachew Jigii who fled the country leaving their constituency without representation. Any potential Oromo within the country who can be a potential treat is eliminated one by one. Now the regime is ready, the preparations over. This time around it declared "an illegal, immoral and senseless war" against Somalia as Tadesse Tadele wrote few days back. Such a declaration of war was also simultaneously made against OLF and Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF).
The TPLF’s rubber stamp parliament has approved Zenawi’s war declaration. This should no come as a surprise because those MPs were not elected by the people, they were rather appointed by Zenawi since the election was deemed null and void. Almost each and every MPs who belong to opposition parties had condemned and opposed the war and as a result has been accused of been enemy of the state. Zenawi’s declaration of war on OLF and other armed groups under legal pretext is nothing other than trying to give his planned genocide a legal cover up.
Therefore in the upcoming weeks and months we will be witnessing a nationwide campaign of arrest and killing against Oromos. While officially telling the world it evades Somalia to fight terrorism, Zenawi will unleash it lethal force against Oromos whom it view as the worst threat to its authoritarian rule. The major victims of this brand-new genocide will be those Oromo nationalists within the army, students and scholars. A high raking Oromo who is serving TPLF security has disclosed that the government has been planning to murder some leaders of "Oromo People Democratic Organization (OPDO), the brain child of TPLF, and blame it on OLF. In addition to that, the regime will continue detonating explosive in several crowded Oromian towns to terrorize and murder Oromo civilians. The goal is not only to eliminate those OPDO members who sympathize with the Oromo cause but also to mislead the world in to labeling OLF as terrorist group.
It is sad to see that the international community is turning a blind eye on Zenawi’s preparation to turn the Horn in to a complete chaos. It is a shame for the United States of America to try to side with this regime’s war on Somalia. This regime has misinformed and misled the US into supporting Somali warlords in the name of war on terror. While US poured millions of dollars to Zenawi’s account which he used to finance his meddling militia, the Somali people are being betrayed in their effort to once again re-unify their country. The Union of Islamic Courts is a byproduct of the misguided US policy in the horn and the frustration of Somali people against the blood-sucking warlords organized by Zenawi and financed by America. Hence, the US should revisit its policy on the Horn. It should stop financing Zenawi’s regime that has murdered 15- 20,000 Oromos in the past 15 years, according to the Oromia Supreme Court president who recently fled the country. The US should engage the UIC in dialogue for the betterment of the Somali people and for long term peace and stability. They should be careful not to create another Iraq in the Horn.
Zenawi’s declaration of war should be seen not only against that of the Somali people, but also against all people in the region including Ethiopians, Kenyans, Eritrean, and Sudanese. The Oromos cannot be a part of this regime’s war against our Somali neighbors and condemn it earnestly.
* The author is a Public Policy student and lives in North America. She can be reached at sabagalo@gmail.com

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