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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The popular Oromo People’s uprising added a new dimension

The popular Oromo uprising that has counted more than four months continued with more commitment and a new dimension. The Oromo people’s struggle is now incorporated withholding any trade exchange with the government and its agents.

Irrespective of the mode of struggle the demands of Oromo people remain the same: respect for humanity and basic freedoms, justice through an impartial court of law, implementing the right to self-determination, the release of all political prisoners, the reinstatement of the Mecha-Tullama self-help Association, unambiguous support to OLF (their vanguard organization) and addressing the grievances of the Oromo people through a peaceful political means rather than through repression. However, the government is becoming more aggressive towards the peaceful demonstrators showing its frustration and incapability to administer the Oromo people and others in Ethiopia. Particularly, the renewed protest of the Oromo people in a more coordinated and systematic approach created a huge panic among the local government cadres. At the moment most of the schools in Oromia are closed in fear of more protest.

The new strategy used by the Oromo people is to withhold their entire agricultural and other resources from local markets. This freshly coordinated remonstration in parallel to the street protest has been taking place in many regions of Oromia. The government agents who have understood the tremendous economic impact of such a protest are trying their best to bribe some Oromos. In most of the meetings that are organized by force, the people either ask questions that the cadres do not want to hear/answer. In some instances the people left the meeting hall just after the arrival of the government appointees. There were also cases where protesters from the meeting burned both the federal and OPDO flags and replaced it with OLF flag and banner. There are also reports that disagreements are brewing among OPDO cadres regarding the response to the people’s request.

The government, panicked by the continued determination and the ever escalating protest of Oromo people, retort to the peaceful people in its usual way of indiscriminate killing, torture, harassment, detention, and rape. Since the last report 91 people have been massacred while 292 disappeared from different parts of Oromia. Reliable sources have also confirmed that tens of thousands have been detained and interrogated by security agents while most of them sustained serious physical injuries from the torture during interrogation. In some places women are arrested in mass with a pretext that their men are members or supporters of OLF who organized the protests. We have received reports that all of these women are gang-raped by military forces at the detention camps. On the other hand intelligence coming from home also indicated that the security forces are intimidating the detainees to join the OPDO and expose operation cells of OLF that have engulfed the whole region of Oromia. Irrespective of the harsh measures taken by the security agents to recruit members, the response given by the people is one and the same: Only OLF is legitimate in Oromia.

At this time when millions of people are dying from hunger and HIV/AIDS; and children are suffering from malnutrition and absence of basic vaccination, the Ethiopian government is diverting donors money to buy huge military hardware and importing through the port of Djibouti. Reports indicate that within the month of February alone more than 30 heavy weight trucks loaded with military equipments have been spotted on their way to one of the military warehouses in eastern Oromia.

Not heeding to the repeated call from Amnesty International, Human Right Watch and other human right groups, the Ethiopian government continued to indiscriminately kill, torture and haphazardly abduct peaceful protesters. We urge the international community to put necessary pressure on the Meles regime to end the tragedy going on in Oromia in particular and Ethiopia in general. We, call upon all concerned, the United States of America, the European Union, the African Union, the UN, and other government and non-governmental agencies to stop supporting the dictatorial regime and rather swiftly seek a comprehensive political solution to thwart the growing tension between the peoples and the regime in Ethiopia.

Victory to the Oromo People!
March 14, 2006
External Information Division Foreign Relations Department Oromo Liberation Front

The EPRDF’s new diplomatic team

March 11, 2005 (ION) - The Ethiopian government, which is having a hard time getting its post-election policies accepted by the international community, is to constitute a new team of ambassadors to defend this regime in a diplomatic atmosphere not always favourable to it. A rotation of diplomatic posts is under way, with the appointment of some twenty new ambassadors, many of who were unsuccessful pro-government candidates in the May 2005 legislative election and others are loyal top civil servants. At the same time, a handful of ambassadors are to be recalled to Addis Ababa to take up functions under close scrutiny within the ministry of foreign affairs or in regional governments. We investigate the likely appointments in the pipeline.

Europe. The head of expatriate Ethiopian affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Wubishet Demissie T/Mariam, of the Gurage ethnic group and a veterant diplomat, will probably become the next Ambassador to Paris, replacing Sahle-Work Zewde. The latter, after having spent many long years abroad (Djibouti and later Paris) may be called to take up the head of the Africa department of the MFA in Addis Ababa. She will hence replace another woman, Konjit Sinegiorgis, who will probably be posted as Ambassador to Vienna (Austria). The head of the Europe and America department of the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Girum Abbay, for his part should become Ambassador to Italy. Meanwhile Zerihun Retta, a former representative to the United Nations, could be posted to Ireland. For her part, the former Minister of Education, defeated in the election, Genet Zewde, should be sent as Ambassador to London. Finally, Siraj Rashid is about to become number two in the Ethiopian Embassy to Germany.

Americas. The former Speaker of the Ethiopian Parliament, also defeated in the recent elections, Dawit Yohannes, should become the new Ethiopian Ambassador to the United Nations in New York, while Taye Izkesilassie already on post as chief of the Ethiopian Consulate in Los Angeles, will be given the rank of Ambassador. Getachew Hamussa, former chief of the finance and economic development bureau of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s Region (SNNPR), who was defeated in the May 2005 Parliamentary election at Arba Minch, will be sent as Ambassador to Canada. For his part, the Vice President of Addis-Abeba University (AAU), Samuel Assefa, who did not succeed in obtaining the post he coveted of President of this university (ION 1165), should be offered the post of Ambassador to Washington.

Africa. The former Ethiopian special envoy to the peace negotiations on Somalia, Abdulaziz Ahmed Adem, would naturally become Ambassador to this country and would be based in Jowhar. Meanwhile, the former chairman of the Addis Ababa city council, Ali Abdo, who was then recycled into the administration of the Oromia Regional State, could be sent as Ambassador to Sudan. Suleiman Dedefo, the current chief of staff of the Ethiopian minister of foreign affairs, Seyoum Mesfin, will become Ambassador to Nigeria. For his part, the former deputy chairman of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s Region, Melese Marimo, should get the same functions in Pretoria (South Africa). Disasa Derbissa, Terfa Mengesha and Hassen Abdilkadir (the present head of the State Justice Bureau) will become respectively Ambassadors to Kenya, Uganda and Senegal.

Middle East. A Tigrayan career diplomat, Fisseha Asgedom, who in the past has been in the post of number two in Ethiopia’s delegation to the United Nations in New York, is expected to become the new Ethiopian Ambassador to Israel. A law expert, the current director of legal affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ibrahim Idris, will become the ambassador to Egypt. Finally, Tekleab Kebede, the former spoekesman for the Relief Society of Tigray (Rest) and who has been Consul in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) since 1996, will keep his post with the rank of Ambassador while Tewfik Abdulahi will be posted as Ethiopian Ambassador to Yemen.

Map of oromia

Map of oromia