July 1st 2021
Ethiopia Slipping into Full-Scale Genocidal War and Ethnic Cleansing
The government of Ethiopia has been speaking loud and clear about its firm position to remain in power at any cost. The manipulation of the electoral board to its favor, its stern efforts to forcefully subdue opposition voices, deliberate denial of political space for genuine opposition parties is part of the grand agenda by the government to declare itself the winner of the election. Reports from the electoral board indicates that nearly half of the population did not participate in the election and in more than half of the electoral constituencies where the election has been held, including the entire Oromia region, the ruling party stood as the only contender. In other regions such as the SNNPS and the Amhara, there were reports of serious irregularities. Some regions have not held the election at all. In general, the intenational community concluded the election to have fallen short of the minimum standards. A prime minster and government that comes to power under circumstances will be a liability on the people and will simply add fuel to the already raging political fire in the country. In view of these and the continued attack on genuine opposition forces in the country, the arrest of tens of thousands of members, supporters and leaders of major Oromo opposition parties, the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) as well as the Balderas party, the precarious situation in Tigray and the ongoing war in Oromia are sources of great concern for safety of the people and security of the country. The government’s decision to invite the neighboring Eritrea to fight against its own people proves beyond doubt that it has committed treason and conspired with forign forces to attack the very same people it was sworn to serve. The HAGW is concerned that massive genocide of unprecidented proportion is already in the making in Oromia and Benishangul regions. Key developments pointing to the inevitability of this situation include:
The intensification of military operation in Oromia
In what appears to be an effort to gain access to rebel held areas prior to election, the government launched massive campaign in different parts of Oromia against the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA). The government deployed all of the military logistics at its disposal including the Oromia police, Oromia special force, Federal Police, and the ENDF to achieve its goal of alienating the OLA and the Oromo people. This operation has been going on in southern Oromia since early June, in which the government forces suffered heavy blow. Similar campaign took place in western and central Oromia where the government forces faced crushing defeat. However, for every defeat the government forces faced in the battle field, the innocent civilians paid dearly. The defeated army kept coming back to villages and outpour their anger on innocent civilians by burning homes, killing and maiming innocent civilians and displacing thousands of people from their home with many forced to cross international border into Kenya. Genocide has already taken place in different parts of Oromia. While the unilateral cease-fire in Tigray is a positive development, the government’s reason for the decision and withdrawal from Tigray which according to the Prime Minster and his Militery Chief is to intensify battle in other fronts, most likely Oromia and Benishangul Gumz regions, is deeply troubling.
The deployment of Eritrean and Amhara Forces in Oromia and Benishangul regions –
After committing atrocious genocide, rape and rampant vandalism in Tigray, the Eritrean forces and Amhara special forces have been deployed in Oromia. The presence of Eritrean forces in Oromia was confirmed through photos and videos of Eritrean soldiers captured in the battle was shared on various social media platforms in recent weeks. Information from our staff in Oromia confirm the presence of Eritrean forces in all conflict zones in the state. Credible reports coming from the country indicate that additional reinforcements including the 37th and 58th divisions of the Eritrean Army and multiple divisions of the Amhara Special Force are recently deployed in Oromia. This deployment of Eritrean forces deep into Oromia and Benishangul Gumz regions is simply an open rejection to the call by international community to cease fire and initiate dialogue among political forces in the country and withdraw the Eritrean and Amhara region forces out of the conflict zones.
The government’s rhetoric and defiance to demand by regional and international community
In weeks and months leading up to the deployment of foreign forces in Oromia and Benishangul Gumuz regions, the government has escalated the tone of its rhetoric including the prime minster himself and his senior leadership members. In the recently leaked audio, the Prime Minster spoke explicitly about the inevitability of genocide in the country. He updated his senior party members how he managed to exclude the Oromo opposition parties from the national election and alerted them of “many more deaths” during and after the election but assured them of the government’s readiness for it. Prior to this leaked video another senior official from the ruling party Mr. Fekadu Tesema, responded to a question by the Ethiopian parliament on the increasing insurgency by OLA in different parts of Oromia saying “the only way to catch the fish is by drying the lake” (https://twitter.com/getuteressa/status/1393557021887242240?s=21). Such rhetoric from top government leadership fuels anarchy and encourages government tugs to commit crime such as the mob killings recently witnessed in Jimma and Wollega zones.
The series of actions by the Ethiopian government including inviting foreign forces to the country to kill its own citizens, revenging battle field defeat on civilians, and most importantly, accusing local residents as supporters of OLA as a pretext to justify killings, and raping of women amounts to genocide. Similar crime is being committed outside Oromia and Tigray where Kimant and Oromo people in Amhara region, Gumuz people in Benishangul Gumz region and the Konso people in the SNNP are targeted for extermination. We call upon the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and the international community at large to step up the pressure on Ethiopian government to avoid the human catastrophe that is waiting to happen and make the perpetrators accountable for lives lost so far.
Horn of Africa Genocide Watch