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Oromia Today

Independent Voice of Oromia

Ethiopian government accused of deadly air strikes on Oromiya region

Source: Reuters


Oromo groups say hundreds killed in air strike
No comment from government and army spokespersons
Alleged strikes come as Tigray peace talks start
NAIROBI, Oct 27 (Reuters) - Two organisations from Ethiopia's Oromiya region have accused the army of conducting air strikes there in recent days which they said had killed hundreds of civilians, just as peace talks on the separate Tigray conflict were about to start.

Government and army spokespersons did not respond on Thursday to requests for comment on the accusations made by the opposition Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and outlawed armed splinter group the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA).

Reuters also spoke to a civilian in Oromiya, which is located in western Ethiopia and surrounds the federal capital Addis Ababa, who said he witnessed an air raid on Sunday in which about 60 people including his uncle were killed. [More]

Oromiyaa: Abiy’s War of Attrition and the Oromo National Struggle

By: Itana Gammada, June 29, 2021

A people under colonial occupation have a maximum of two choices, either stand up and fight for their freedom and dignity or accept humiliation, subjugation, victimization and perpetual slavery. Throughout human history, colonialism has never been an option. Rather, oppressed people worldwide make the necessary sacrifices to achieve their national objective and fulfill their destiny. It is important to bear in mind that the colonized and repressed people do not remain here for perceived beliefs or temporary economic, piecemeal material gains, but for a fundamental national freedom. They stand for justice, democracy, and human dignity that guarantees their future existence in peace and progress. [More]

Ethiopia Votes, But Balloting Will Not Ease the Country’s Deep Crisis

Q&A / AFRICA 17 JUNE 2021
Ethiopia Votes, But Balloting Will Not Ease the Country’s Deep Crisis
Elections delayed from 2020 due to COVID-19 are set to take place on 21 June amid mounting crises across Ethiopia, including a grinding, brutal war in Tigray. In this Q&A, Crisis Group expert William Davison outlines what to expect.

William Davison
Senior Analyst, Ethiopia

Source: https://www.crisisgroup.org/africa/horn-africa/ethiopia/ethiopia-votes-balloting-will-not-ease-countrys-deep-crisis?fbclid=IwAR1Te3qGdGpPdbUpiXVMBAdWyonDJPu6ftfqC4RWeLw7WSWgbdmutGeWoPY

Conflict in Oromia, a region of around 40 million people, has also been fuelled by tensions between the incumbent and supporters of Ethiopia’s ethnic federalist system. Prior to the pandemic, elections for Oromia’s governing council and the 178 federal parliament seats in the region were set to be competitive, with popular opposition leaders and parties due to mount serious challenges to the Prosperity Party. Oromo nationalist forces gained a significant boost after activist Jawar Mohammed – a driving force of the protest movement that catalysed Abiy’s own rise to power in 2018 – joined the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) in December 2019, the same month the Prosperity Party was created. The OFC allied within days with the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), a formerly banned movement – the leaders re-entered the country as part of an amnesty Abiy accelerated after taking office – revered by many Oromo nationalists, creating a potent opposition force. [More]

Ethiopia: Boy Publicly Executed in Oromia

Ethiopia: Boy Publicly Executed in Oromia
Hold Abusive Officials, Security Forces Accountable

(Nairobi) – Ethiopian government forces summarily executed a 17-year-old boy in Ethiopia’s Oromia region in broad daylight, Human Rights Watch said today. The public execution of Amanuel Wondimu Kebede underscores the lack of accountability for security force abuses in the country.

On May 11, 2021, government forces apprehended and beat Amanuel in Dembi Dollo, a town in the Kellem Wellega zone of western Oromia. A video posted on social media by the town’s administration shows security forces taunting a bloodied Amanuel with a handgun tied around his neck. He was executed in public that day. In the ensuing weeks, the authorities intimidated and arbitrarily arrested other Dembi Dollo residents, including Amanuel’s family members.

Source: https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/06/10/ethiopia-boy-publicly-executed-oromiafbclid=IwAR2LNlbodwPWRQGpimifHDgfdtXaJ4ThVivQ95_EGLsja6N52xHhh6lDBUw [More]

Abiy Ahmed Has Condemned Ethiopia to Dissolution


May 16, 2021

By choosing unilateralism over negotiation, Abiy may have cemented his legacy not as a Nobel Peace Laureate, but rather as the man who ended a country whose history dates back millennia.

by Michael Rubin

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/abiy-ahmed-has-condemned-ethiopia-dissolution-185149 [More]

Ethiopia’s Tigray War Is Fueling Amhara Expansionism

Source: FP

Abiy Ahmed depends on the support of ethnic Amhara leaders and militias whose goal is to reconquer what they consider lost territories—from Tigray to Sudan.

By Kjetil Tronvoll, an anthropologist and professor at Bjorknes University College in Oslo.

Members of the Amhara militia stand in a street while a soldier walks past an imperial Ethiopian flag, in Mai Kadra, Ethiopia, on November 21, 2020. EDUARDO SOTERAS/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES [More]

Ethiopia’s vicious deadlock

Source: https://www.ethiopia-insight.com/2021/04/27/ethiopias-vicious-deadlock/

Beyond Tigray
Ethiopia’s civil war in Tigray is but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to conflicts ravaging the country.

It has put in the shadows another dirty conflict in Oromia. Given that the region ranks well above Tigray when it comes to population, size, and wealth, the intensifying insurgency/counter-insurgency occurring there is more critical.

The Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) has waged a blitzkrieg over the last few months. Starting in Wollega and expanding quickly into Arsi and Bale, “OLF/Shane rebels are now present in Amhara region,” stated Agegnehu Teshager, president of Amhara regional state.

Agegnehu probably wanted to exaggerate the threat so as to make his appeal for federal government intervention more pressing. Be that as it may, the OLA has now reached the Shewan part of Oromia, near Addis Ababa. If it continues to expand as fast as it did during the last few months, it could become strong enough to temporarily blockade the capital, if it decides to do so. Leader ‘Jaal Marro’ has said the OLA will prevent elections taking place in Oromia.

The OLA’s final goal is known: complete self-rule of Oromia, at the very least. But its strategy to achieve this is uncertain, and so is its willingness and conditions to come to the negotiation table. [More]

OLF and TPLF: Major Issues and Outcomes of a Decade of Negotiations since 1991

Source: From a Presentation by Abiyu Geleta, Oromo Studies Association Conference of 2002 in Washington, DC.

I. Introduction

This is a brief account of major issues and outcomes of a decade of negotiations between the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and the Tigrean People's Liberation Front (TPLF) since 1991. In those negotiations, there were always third parties involved in one form or another. Third party intervenors will be mentioned, if anything, for the purpose of identifying the structure of the negotiations. I will not attempt to analyze the dynamic process of the negotiations between the OLF and the TPLF. How far the primary parties had been cooperative or strident antagonists as negotiating partners is not considered in this account. My focus is to indicate major issues, outcomes and shifts in the issues and structures of the negotiations with changing situations.

Tacit as well as formal negotiations between the OLF and TPLF as national liberation forces had been ongoing matters even before 1991. In this paper, the year 1991 is taken as a benchmark for an obvious reason. It was the beginning of negotiations of issues of the highest state affairs--state succession and state formation--between the two parties. [More]

How rescued Ethiopian slaves came to fight for Britain in the Anglo-Boer war

Date: 28/01/2021
Author: Martin Plaut

A group of Ethiopian slaves were freed by a British warship in 1888 off the coast of Yemen, as they were being taken to the slave markets of Arabia. The freed slaves were then taken round the African coast and placed in the care of missionaries in South Africa.

All the 204 slaves freed by Commander Gissing were from the Oromo ethnic group and most were children.

The Oromo, despite being the most populous of all Ethiopian groups, had long been dominated by the country’s Amhara and Tigrayan elites and were regularly used as slaves.

Emperor Menelik II, who has been described as Ethiopia’s “greatest slave entrepreneur”, taxed the trade to pay for guns and ammunition as he battled for control of the whole country, which he ruled from 1889 to 1913.

Commander Gissing took the Oromo to Aden, where the British authorities had to decide what to do with the former slaves. The Muslim children were adopted by local families. The remaining children were placed in the care of a mission of the Free Church of Scotland – but the harsh climate took its toll and by the end of the year 11 had died.

The missionaries sought an alternative home for them, eventually settling on another of the Church’s missions, the Lovedale Institution in South Africa’s Eastern Cape – on the other side of the continent.

The children reached Lovedale on 21 August 1890.

Source: https://martinplaut.com/2021/01/28/how-rescued-ethiopian-slaves-came-to-fight-for-britain-in-the-anglo-boer-war/ [More]

Oromiyaa: The country at the crossroads of history

By Leenjiso Horo 
December, 2020 
A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin, and culture is like a tree without roots. Marcus Garvey

This article is a general summary of the conquest, resistance, and failures, betrayals, and hopes for the future. Along with these, it also points out the lack of political homogeneity among Oromo political leadership, and activists about the Oromo political question and the goal of struggle. For the last 150 years, Oromo history is filled with betrayal, traitors, turncoats, and backstabbers. Because of this, Oromiyaa today found itself at the crossroads of history. As a consequence of this inhomogeneity, many keep on asking the question as to which way Oromiyaa. This articles points out the direction for this question. [More]

'Slaughtered like chickens': Eritrea heavily involved in Tigray conflict, say eyewitnesses

Conflict and arms

 'Slaughtered like chickens': Eritrea heavily involved in Tigray conflict,

But according to eyewitnesses, aid workers and diplomats, the fighting has also involved many thousands of soldiers from neighbouring Eritrea, suggesting that what the Ethiopian government calls a “law enforcement operation” bears the hallmarks of a regional conflict.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/dec/21/slaughtered-like-chickens-eritrea-heavily-involved-in-tigray-conflict-say-eyewitnesses [More]

Sudan Will Decide the Outcome of the Ethiopian Civil War

Source: https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/11/14/sudan-will-decide-outcome-ethiopian-civil-war-abiy
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia—While the world girded for the U.S. election in early November, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched a war against the northern region of Tigray. The region is home to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front—the party that dominated Ethiopian politics for decades and has since been displaced and sidelined as Abiy has sought to consolidate power and made peace with the TPLF’s archenemy, Eritrea. [More]

Systemic discrimination against the Oromo people: Politicisation of an Oromo-English dictionary

Curate Ethiopia
Insights into Ethiopian Culture

Dr. Tilahun Gamta 1st August 2020
Many Oromos wonder how I was able to write and publish The Oromo-English Dictionary (OED) in Ethiopia under Mengistu’s regime, a regime that had been openly hostile to the Oromo nation. Here, I offer my reflections on the writing of the work and some of the difficulties encountered in publishing it. [More]

Family of slain Ethiopian singer mourns their 'hero like a lion'

JULY 23, 2020
Dawit Endeshaw
AMBO, Ethiopia (Reuters) - The white stone house with a paved floor stands out in the Ethiopian town of Ambo, a poor region where homes are mostly constructed of wood and mud.

But the surrounding fence is incomplete - a constant reminder to the elderly inhabitants of their most famous son, political singer Haacaaluu Hundeessaa, who was shot dead by unknown gunmen in Addis Ababa last month.

“My son was a hero like a lion, he roared about his people, but he was eaten by rats,” Gudetu Hora, Haacaaluu’s mother, tearfully told Reuters at the home.

Haacaaluu, 36, was a member of the Oromo, Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, and his songs were anthems for the young protesters who brought down one of Africa’s most repressive regime.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ethiopia-protests-family/family-of-slain-ethiopian-singer-mourns-their-hero-like-a-lion-idUSKCN24O0S5 [More]

Hachalu Hundessa: 'Eighty-one killed' in protests over Ethiopian singer's death

1 July 2020

Hachalu, 34, recently said that he had received death threats. He will be buried on Thursday.

His songs focused on the rights of the country's Oromo ethnic group and became anthems in a wave of protests that led to the downfall of the previous prime minister in 2018.

"So far 81 people have been killed, including three Oromia special police force members," Ararsa Merdasa, the Oromia police chief, said in a televised press briefing.

Many people were injured in Tuesday's protests and there was "significant destruction to property," Getachew Balcha, the spokesperson for the Oromia regional government, told the BBC. [More]

At Least 52 Killed in Ethiopia Protests Over Singer's Death

By Reuters

July 1, 2020Updated 7:01 a.m. ET
ADDIS ABABA — At least 50 people were killed in Ethiopia's Oromiya region in protests following the fatal shooting of a popular singer, a regional spokesman said on Wednesday, laying bare splits in the prime minister's political heartland ahead of next year's polls.
Musician Haacaaluu Hundeessaa was shot dead on Monday night in what police said was a targeted killing. [More]

Bridging the Divide in Ethiopia’s North

Bridging the Divide in Ethiopia’s North

Crisis Group Africa Briefing N°156

Nairobi/Addis Ababa/Brussels, 12 June 2020

Minimap Image

What’s new? Tigray and Amhara, the powerhouse regions of northern Ethiopia, are locked in a bitter land dispute exacerbated by national politicking that pits their elites against each other. Given dim prospects for a comprehensive settlement, the dispute could escalate into conflict.

Why does it matter? Ethiopia’s delayed elections will likely be sometime in 2021. Amhara nationalists could stoke sentiment against Tigray’s ruling class during the campaign. Tigray’s government is arming itself as hardliners promote secession. Confrontation between the regions would draw federal military intervention, potentially exposing ethno-regional cracks in the army’s cohesion.

What should be done? Federal leaders should provide incentives to Tigray’s ruling party to come to the table. They should urge Tigrayan and Amhara factions to temper provocative stances and explore compromise. The parties could consider an outcome in which Tigray guarantees political representation and language rights to minority populations in the disputed territories. [More]

Democracy imperiled in Africa by 'reformers' turned dictators


by Michael Rubin
| June 11, 2020 05:41 PM

It is often forgotten that the worst dictators are often, early in their careers, lauded as reformers. In Iraq, Saddam Hussein was initially embraced as a “pragmatist” by diplomats and journalists alike. In 1991, the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded Burmese dissident Aung San Suu Kyi the Nobel Peace Prize; only in subsequent decades would she expose herself as an apologist for ethnic cleansing. Of course, she is not the only figure to sully the preeminent peace prize’s legacy. [More]