By Worku Gadissa, Mary 4, 2020
This report exposes how the government of Ethiopia uses Coronavirus to punish and defeat the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). For nearly two years Colonel Abiy Ahmed’s government has been waging a war of attrition against the Oromo people in Wallga, Guji, Borana and Western Showa where the Oromo Liberation army (OLA) is operating. With the intention of crushing OLA, Abiy’s government launched massive military operation. At the start of the operation, Col. Abiy prophesized that he would crush and end the war withing in a period of two weeks. Despite that prophecy, it is now exactly two years since the war started. Contrary to Abiy’s prophecy, the war is still going-on, with Abiy’s army losing ground to OLA. As his ability to win the war gets remote by the day, anger and desperation of Abiy is raised. Abiy’s ax of anger and desperation fell on the wrong people. As Abiy’s ax of revenge fell on peaceful and innocent civilian population by burning their houses, crops and forest and taking away their cattle and personal property as a spoil of war. Abiy’s government does these atrocities on peaceful civilians with the allegation that they support the OLF.
The irony is that every year more than 3 million people are getting food aids from USA and EU. Burning crops inviting more hunger and famine in the country.
How significant is the war with OLA? Virtually the entire Oromia is now under Command Post and full-scale war. With more than 60% of country`s estimated armed forces of 200,000 strong now actively engaging in war, at the different locations mentioned above, one can safely conclude that war is indeed significant. Additionally, twenty thousand paramilitary forces in police uniform were sent to Western Oromia. What makes this war more significant is the army training plan. To further increase boots on the ground in Oromia, Abiy’s government currently setting-up new military camps in Walagaa, in Gindeberet Western Showa and other regions across Oromia.
The state of emergency is uprooting people from their villages, in millions. In Oromia today a state of emergency has been declared and tens of thousands of innocent civilians are accused for being sympathasers with OLF and arrested, tortured, imprisoned and killed. The military operation has forced tens of thousands to flee their villages. Consequently, in Oromia alone, there are more than two million uprooted displaced people from their ancestral lands, and hundreds of thousands in exile as refugees, internally and externally.
Abiy is engaged in tactical war policy, where nothing of use or value is left, so that survivors are weakened to the least possible. The reason Abiy does these atrocities deals with draining the sea by killing of the masses of people for supporting OLF, so that no place to rest and no source of food and weapon obtained. That is the same tactics USA used in Vietnam and we all know the result of the Vietnam war proved the opposite of what it was intended for.
One of the strategies Abiy’s government used to hide the atrocities, his army is conducting in parts of Oromia u nder the command-post, was blocking the Internet and phone systems. Shutting off all communication including internet, in order to hide the atrocities being carried out against the civilian population.
Abiy’s plan is to recycle old repressive strategy. The murderous TPLF regime before Abiy was engaged in the destruction of everything including burning crops and forests and caused misery, pain and suffering to our people. If you remember, decade ago Meles Zenawi, to flush out OLF from the forested area in Bale Province, he set fire and burnt hundreds of thousands of hectares of forested land. At the early stages of the burning of the forest, Oromo-university students went to Bale to help contain the fire. The burning continued for more than three months until help come from South Africa and German governments and put out the fire. Today, Col. Abiy has become desperate and he fall back to the same pattern of his predecessor, Meles Zenawi.
In addition to the war of attrition of indiscriminate massacres killing and destruction of economic structure the government is now employing Coronavirus as war tactics to defeat the Oromo liberation forces. It is now more than four months since Western and South Oromia virtually cut of electric power supply and all sort of social media. They say that an estimated of more than 15 million people are not getting any sort of information through radio, TV and internet. In certain regions land transport except for military convoys is impossible and supplies and business activities and services are altogether stopped.
In contradiction to the declaration of the United Nations, not to use the coronavirus pandemic for political purposes, Abiy’s government does exactly the opposite. You will remember what Obo Taye Dandana the spokesperson of Prosperity Party said that he will use Coronavirus to win the war with OLF. Can you imagine a government that denies and blocks vital information about COVID-19? Without information it is hard to know and prevent the spread of the disease. Every country in the world are now trying to reach their people and stop the spread of the pandemic disease but in Ethiopian the government doing just the opposite using COVID-19 as offensive weapon to fight war in the country. Abiy’s government holds public meetings without keeping physical-distance norms. On the other hand, when people stay at home to minimize virus infection, the army goes to homes of people and bit them by alleging them as OLF supporters.
Two years ago, the Qeerroo movement for peace, freedom and equality has removed the dictatorial regime of TPLF and brought Col. Abiy himself to power. The reason Qeerroo brought Dr. Abiy to power was, for him to find answers to all Oromo questions. Unfortunately, that trust was not honored. On the contrary, Abiy hijacked and sabotaged the Qeerroo demand. It has now become crystal clear that Abiy is working to bring back the old imperial unitary feudal system of government into Oromia.
Interestingly enough there are groups and political parties in Ethiopia supporting and justifying Col. Abbey’s war of destruction and genocide in Oromia. Abbey’s war scheme in Wollega and Guji, Showa and some part Wollo is serious and dangerous and will put the entire country at risk.
The expression, “united we win, divided we lose” transcends centuries. Martin Niemoller a Lutheran pastor in Nazi Germany during World War II, saw the sin being committed against Jewish people and at first decided not to object. Only later did he begin to speak out against what he had seen. Words attributed to Niemoeller movingly expresses his analysis of the situation. “First they came for the Communist and I did not speak up, because I was not communist. Then they came for the Jews and I did not speak up because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the Catholics and I did not speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me and by that times, there was no one left to speak up.
One segment of the Ethiopian population considers Abiy as a unifying leader who brings back Ethiopia to the good old days of glory. They have even gone so far, to the extent of comparing him with King Menelik. The real fact however that is Abiy is losing momentum in the political land scape. Compounded with the political crisis and internal conflicts in the country Abiy, is further aggravating the problem thru his army. Tens of thousands of civilians are indiscriminately imprisoned or massacred in Oromia and other regions. As the result of the military aggression, people are living in constant fear, uncertainty and their daily lives are accompanied with arrest, torture, imprisonment and death. This aggression is not limited to Oromia. If Abiy is successful to crush the Qeerroo aspirational movement for justice and equality in Oromia, I have no doubt, these atrocities will expand to other regions.
What Abiy is doing to Oromo people today is similar what Nazi leader Hitler did to minority races in Europe. Nazi experimented genocide on minorities. Similarly, Abiy used war to punish and exterminate the Oromo people. Abiy’s strategy is the same with the feutaile effort Nefxegnoch have used for a century and half. Luckily, those strategies did not work. Although, the causalities we hear every day is heart breaking, our sons and daughters have shown their unparalleled heroism combating in confronting Col. Abbey’s regular army, security forces, including Nefxegna mercenaries and Oromo collaborators.
Let us hope that those, individuals and groups, who support and promote “medemer” myth may learn from the Lutheran pastor to stop: who finally had to face genocide himself, for not extending support when the Nazis were performing on others. Those who stand with “medemer” will get Abiy’s ax of genocide in a not too-far period-of-time. Remember the quotation, from the eighteenth-century philosopher and politician Edmund Burke “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is when good men to do nothing”. If you let Abiy to triumph, by keeping silent and doing nothing when he kills innocent people, the consequence will affect the peace and unity of the entire country.
With the purpose of having access to lifesaving COVID 19 information from online resources, there was immense pressure on the government to reopen Internet in five zones (of the 11 zones) of the Oromia Regional State. It was on March 31, 2020, after nearly five months of cutting off the internet connection that the government finally lifted the blockage and allowed normal operation of media. However, people tell that the blockage is partial and there are towns and cities that are still not getting internet at all.
Abiy`s state terrorism and human right violations will not stop and the worst is yet to come. Col. Abiy’s Apartheid system of rule in Oromia will continue for a while. Ultimately he is going to reap what he sow. It is certain that the war he is sowing can`t earn him peace. Col Abiy is doing everything within his power to dismantle and derail the Oromo march for freedom. Today, everywhere in Oromia, the army together with special terror forces, displace people from their villages, burn homes, crops, forest and take cattle and personal property as spoils of war.
Abiy Mohamed is a wolf in sheep cloths. He is mentally and morally deficient and a corrupt “leader” trying using everything possible to him to destroy the Oromo people and entire country. Realizing that he is incapable of winning the war with OLF, Abiy became desperate. Currently, he is intensely mobilizing his military gadgets to crush OLF.
Lastly, the prisons in Ethiopia are 90% filled with Oromo political prisoners. All of which are imprisoned for no crime other than being Oromo only. I am worried and thinking of the heroic Oromos, falsely arrested and thrown into over-crowded prisons in Kilinxoo, Xolaay, and Ziway. This is a deliberate action taken to exposed Oromos to coronavirus. First, I do not think that there is provision given by government to protect them from contracting the pandemic in such crowded prisons. The people being thrown to prisons are the best and brightest of the Oromo people. It is important to keep these heroic people in mind especially during this Coronavirus period. This is not the first time Oromos are exposed to virus. Years back, during Menelik reign, hundreds of thousands, Oromos were intentionally exposed, to pandemic smallpox. Consequently, millions contracted the virus and died in Wollega and Ilu Aba Boraa regions.
Furthermore, I want Col. Abiy Ahmed to learn one thing. If he does not learn from Menelik, Haile Silasse, Mengistu H. Mariam and Melese Zenawi, then he will learn nothing. He ought to learn from those unproductive 150 years of wars of suppression.
Finally, here is an important message people should know: Oromia is an occupied territory. Col. Abiy has actively engaged his cruel and malicious war of genocide on the Oromo people. He slaughtered innocent people every single day. The one thing Abiy Ahmed should know is, the fact that our people are pushed hard to the dead-end. They have no choice other than fighting back and continue doing so until the final victory.
Remember, freedom is taken and never given.