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[l] at 1/19/22 8:58am
0 Facebook 1 Twitter 0 Telegram 0 Email African Union High Representative for the Horn of Africa, Olusegun Obasanjo during one of his meetings with Tigrays leader Debretsion G/Michael Addis Abeba The U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he had a telephone conversation with the African Union High Representative for the Horn of Africa, Olusegun Obasanjo, to exchange views with him on the conflict in Ethiopia following his latest visit to Addis Abeba and Mekelle, the capital of the regional state of Tigray. In a statement he released this afternoon, Mr. Guterres said he was delighted that after over a year of armed conflict which has affected millions of people across Ethiopia and the rest of the region, there is now a demonstrable effort to make peace. AUs Horn envoy and former Nigerian President was in Mekelle last week and met with Tigrays leadership as part of AUs efforts to bring peace in Ethiopias 15 months civil war. Mr. Obasanjo has briefed the U.N. Chief about the efforts being made by the Government of Ethiopia and the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) to move towards a resolution of the violent conflict and expressed optimism that there is now a real opportunity for political and diplomatic resolution of the conflict, the statement said. However, Mr. Guterres cautions that the ongoing military operations in some parts of Ethiopia remain a challenge to the peace process and sour the confidence building measures that we hope are being taken by all parties in the conflict. Let me reiterate my call on all parties to move rapidly towards cessation of hostilities as a critical step in the right direction for peace-making. On January 14, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said the UN was alarmed by the multiple, deeply disturbing reports we continue to receive of civilian casualties and destruction of civilian objects resulting from airstrikes in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. At least 108 civilians have reportedly been killed and 75 others injured since the year began, as a result of air strikes allegedly carried out by the Ethiopian air force. News: #UN “alarmed” by #Ethiopia airstrike in #Tigray killing at least 108, injuring more than 75 civilians since the year began https://t.co/rTlW0Eysnm Numerous other airstrikes were reported last week, hitting a private minibus traveling from Adiet to Axum city — Addis Standard (@addisstandard) January 14, 2022 Mr Guterres pledged that the United Nations stands ready to support an all-inclusive and nationally owned dialogue, peace, security, and reconciliation process in Ethiopia, and called on the international community to continue to emphasize the need for all parties to demonstrate sincerity and commitment to the peace process.   While we observe the AU-led peace process with great hope, we remain concerned about the humanitarian situation in various parts of Ethiopia affected by the war. I again call on all actors in the conflict to support and facilitate local and international efforts to provide humanitarian aid to those in need., the U.N. Chief said. AS 

[Category: Ethiopia, News, Secutity, Politics, Africa]

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[l] at 1/19/22 8:58am
0 Facebook 1 Twitter 0 Telegram 0 Email African Union High Representative for the Horn of Africa, Olusegun Obasanjo during one of his meetings with Tigrays leader Debretsion G/Michael Addis Abeba the U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he had a telephone conversation with the African Union High Representative for the Horn of Africa, Olusegun Obasanjo, to exchange views with him on the conflict in Ethiopia following his latest visit to Addis Abeba and Mekelle, the capital of the regional state of Tigray. In a statement he released this afternoon, Mr. Guterres said he was delighted that after over a year of armed conflict which has affected millions of people across Ethiopia and the rest of the region, there is now a demonstrable effort to make peace. AUs Horn envoy and former Nigerian President was in Mekelle last week and met with Tigrays leadership as part of AUs efforts to bring peace in Ethiopias 15 months civil war. Mr. Obasanjo has briefed the U.N. Chief about the efforts being made by the Government of Ethiopia and the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) to move towards a resolution of the violent conflict and expressed optimism that there is now a real opportunity for political and diplomatic resolution of the conflict, the statement said. However, Mr. Guterres cautions that the ongoing military operations in some parts of Ethiopia remain a challenge to the peace process and sour the confidence building measures that we hope are being taken by all parties in the conflict. Let me reiterate my call on all parties to move rapidly towards cessation of hostilities as a critical step in the right direction for peace-making. On January 14, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said the UN was alarmed by the multiple, deeply disturbing reports we continue to receive of civilian casualties and destruction of civilian objects resulting from airstrikes in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. At least 108 civilians have reportedly been killed and 75 others injured since the year began, as a result of air strikes allegedly carried out by the Ethiopian air force. News: #UN “alarmed” by #Ethiopia airstrike in #Tigray killing at least 108, injuring more than 75 civilians since the year began https://t.co/rTlW0Eysnm Numerous other airstrikes were reported last week, hitting a private minibus traveling from Adiet to Axum city — Addis Standard (@addisstandard) January 14, 2022 Mr Guterres pledged that the United Nations stands ready to support an all-inclusive and nationally owned dialogue, peace, security, and reconciliation process in Ethiopia, and called on the international community to continue to emphasize the need for all parties to demonstrate sincerity and commitment to the peace process.   While we observe the AU-led peace process with great hope, we remain concerned about the humanitarian situation in various parts of Ethiopia affected by the war. I again call on all actors in the conflict to support and facilitate local and international efforts to provide humanitarian aid to those in need., the U.N. Chief said. AS 

[Category: Ethiopia, News, Secutity, Politics, Africa]

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[l] at 1/19/22 7:11am
0 Facebook 0 Twitter 0 Telegram 0 Email Eyasped Tesfaye, co-founder of Ubuntu YouTube Channel Addis Abeba, January 19, 2021- Activist and co-founder of youtube channel Ubuntu , Eyasped Tesfaye was released from detention this afternoon.  Eyasped was arrested by police at his parents’ house on December 8 last year. According to his family member, security forces from Addis Abeba police searched his family home and eventually took him away ‘for questioning.’  His mother, Teshalech Bulcha told media at the time that their house was searched without a warrant due to the state of emergency.  She also added that security forces confiscated Eyasped’s personal laptop and cell phone.  Eyasped was not brought to court throughout the duration of his 43 days of detention at Addis Abeba police commission’s Sostegna police station.  AS

[Category: News, Law & Justice]

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[l] at 1/18/22 8:58am
0 Facebook 1 Twitter 0 Telegram 0 Email Journalis Meaza Mohammed Addis Abeba Journalist Meaza, the co-founder of online media outlet, Roha Media, who previously worked at Abbay media is released from detention this afternoon.Meaza was arrested while on her way to work by plain clothed security forces more in the first week of December last year. According to her husband, Robel Gebeyehu, the police neither searched her residence nor provided explanations as to why she was arrested at the time. Meaza was never brought to a court, leading to her defense team to file habeas corpus at the Federal First Instance court 2nd bench. However, at the hearing on December 23, 2021, the police failed to appear in court and explain why it will not release Meaza, Robel said. At another hearing on December 27, Addis Abeba police failed to present her to the court, according to Robel who added, “Instead they explained to the court through a letter that she can’t be brought to court since she was arrested by the state of emergency command post.” The circumstances of her release today are not clear. AS

[Category: Ethiopia, Freedom of the press, Africa, Law & Justice]

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[l] at 1/18/22 3:18am
0 Facebook 0 Twitter 0 Telegram 0 Email Assistant Secretary Molly Phee and newly appointed Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa David Satterfield. Picture: Agencies Addis Abeba During their visit to Ethiopia, Assistant Secretary Molly Phee and newly appointed Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa David Satterfield will follow up on President Bidens constructive phone call with Ethiopian Prime Minister Ahmed Abiy on January 10. They will encourage government officials to seize the current opening for peace by ending the air strikes and other hostilities, negotiating a ceasefire, releasing all political prisoners, restoring sustained humanitarian access, and laying the foundation for an inclusive national dialogue. According to U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary Phee and Special Envoy Satterfield are traveling to Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Ethiopia from January 17 to 20, 2022. While in Riyadh, Assistant Secretary Phee and Special Envoy Satterfield will attend a meeting of the Friends of Sudan, intended to marshal international support for the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission to Sudan (UNITAMS) in its efforts to facilitate a renewed civilian-led transition to democracy, the Bureau said. In Sudan, following the Friends of Sudan meeting, the Assistant Secretary and Special Envoy will travel to Khartoum where they will meet with pro-democracy activists, women and youth groups, civil society, military leaders, and political figures. Their message will be clear: the United States is committed to freedom, peace, and justice for the Sudanese people. The last leg of their visit will be to Ethiopia, where the Assistant Secretary and Special Envoy will follow up on President Bidens constructive phone call with Ethiopian Prime Minister Ahmed Abiy on January 10. They will encourage government officials to seize the current opening for peace by ending the air strikes and other hostilities, negotiating a ceasefire, releasing all political prisoners, restoring sustained humanitarian access, and laying the foundation for an inclusive national dialogue. AS

[Category: Ethiopia, News, Politics, Africa]

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[l] at 1/17/22 7:30am
0 Facebook 3 Twitter 0 Telegram 0 Email Some of Karrayyus Gadda Michille leaders, Councilors and Qallu (Spiritual leaders) who were executed on December 1, 2021 By Siyanne Mekonnen @Siyaanne Addis Abeba, January 17, 2021-  Six of the jailed members of the Karrayyu Gadaa leadership who were initially said to have gone missing after the unlawful deaths of 14 members of the Karrayyu Gadaa Michilee leaders were released on December 31, 2021 reports said. A survivor of killings, who was later jailed alongside 22 others, for the first time gave Addis Standard first-hand accounts of the incident that unfolded at Karra, where a prayer ceremony, Waaq Kadhaa was being held on December 1. Weeks after the incident, members of the ruling party accused the Oromia police of having involvement in the execution Karrayyu Abba Gadaas. “We were unsuspecting when Oromia police arrived and immediately encircled us. We’ve always had a good relationship with government officials,” said the survivor who didn’t want his name to be disclosed for fear of retribution. He recalled, “They provided no explanation as they unexpectedly showed up and began searching homes, looting properties, and confiscating weapons and traditional armaments.”   They told us that we were going to die in a few hours. They even asked us to give them our money before we die.A survivor of the execution “They rounded up 39 of us then loaded us on the cargo bed of a pick-up truck. We trusted that they meant no harm. Soon after, they started threatening us and accusing us of killing their members. We didn’t know what they were talking about. There hadn’t been any violence in our area,” he continued, “They were intimidating us the entire drive. They told us that we were going to die in a few hours. They even asked us to give them our money before we die.”  The survivor recalled that after we arrived at a remote area, they were asked who among them was from Haro Kersa Kebele. According to him, 16 people were identified and were ordered to lay on the ground face down and shot. “Some of them started beating us while others shot those who were lying down. We were forced back on the cargo bed of the truck,” he said, adding “I was appalled to hear that wild animals scavenged from their bodies for days.”  Weeks after the incident, members of the ruling party publicly admitted government forces’ involvement in the killings. In a live Facebook video, Hangasa Ibrahim, a member of the House of People’s Representatives accused the head of Oromia police commissions, commissioner Ararsa Merdasa of being behind the killings.  Another government official attributing the killing to government forces is the state minister of peace, Taye Dendea. On his personal Facebook page with over half a million followers, the state minister implied that the Karrayyu Gadaa leaders were killed by elements within the regional government. Repeated attempts to speak with both government officials were unsuccessful.  “Some criticized the police for failing to finish off the 39 people at once. That would have prevented criticism against the government for killing Karrayyu Abba Gadaas.”  Hangasa Ibrahim, member of the House of People’s Representatives The MP corroborated the statements Addis Standard received from eyewitnesses, including the aforementioned survivor about the sequence of events leading up to the killing of the Abba Gadaas. He also mentioned the beating and killing of one of the 23 detainees. Countering the government’s own statement, the MP went on to say that, the police shot 16 of the Gadaa leaders ‘without remorse’. “Why would anyone be killed when they can be jailed or brought to the court of law?” he asked in a live Facebook broadcast that has reached over 60,000 viewers.  The survivor recounted that the remaining people were driven to an area called Sogido where an Oromia Special Forces training camp was located. All the 23 of them were detained in what he describes as a room big enough for two people. “We were met with another round of beatings at the camp. We were beaten until we passed out,” he said.   On Friday, December 3rd, the detainees were relocated to another detention center. “We were loaded on the back of a truck and ordered to lay down face down so that we couldn’t see where they were taking us. When we arrived somewhere around Mojo, they covered our faces as we got off the back of the truck. We were then locked in a dark room,” he said. He remembers that their detainers registered their names.  He also spoke of the death of one of the captives, Jilo Borayu Hawas who died on December 8.  “Jilo succumbed to hunger in addition to the beatings. They didn’t take out his body for four nights. We shouted for help for days to no avail. They took his body out on Saturday after the elders found us. They only started giving us food after his death. Some who got too weak from starvation received medical care,” he said.   On the other hand, days after the government officials admitted the involvement of government security forces in the killings, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) sent a letter to the Oromia police commission and the regional attorney general office requesting explanations on the incident. Addis Standard received the letter which is dated December 31, 2021, from an employee of the commission who wanted to remain anonymous. The letter detailed that members of the areas administration were at the scene of the killings and that the executions were carried out following several phone calls. The commission also mentioned that the attempts made by its investigation team to visit the jailed Gadaa leaders were unsuccessful.  “We were loaded on the back of a truck and ordered to lay down face down so that we couldn’t see where they were taking us.A survivor of the execution The survivor of the killings detailed the circumstances of how two out of the 16 people managed to escape the killings. “‘Their lives were spared by some members of the security forces who pretended to shoot at them but fired in the wrong directions,” he said. The parliament member attested to this and said in his live video broadcast that two individuals ‘managed to escape and reveal the truth.’ Hangasa also said, “Some criticized the police for failing to finish off the 39 people at once. That would have prevented criticism against the government for killing Karrayyu Abba Gadaas.”  Speaking about the condition of his release from month-long detention, he explained, “They released Six of us following the elders’ plea. We don’t know why they held the remaining others.” He also mentioned an investigative committee that was sent to the woreda from the higher government bodies he could not identify. Another resident of the area, Jaarraa (Name changed for security reasons, told Addis Standard that the committee was sent to the woreda and tried to speak with eyewitnesses. According to him, the local officials prevented the committee members from traveling around the woreda citing military operations by armed groups. Jaarraa accused the local officials of attempting to prevent the truth from coming out. “They are also actively looking for the two escapees and those who were released from detention. We suspect that they might kill them,” he said. The survivor also shares this fear. He confessed that he is apprehensive of the local administrations attempts to locate him and the other survivors of the killings.  He also detailed the conditions after he was released and rejoined his community. “We were shocked to see the settlement of militias from the neighboring Amhara region in our village. We sought refuge in another village called Dodoti,” he said recalling that residents including women and children fled the area after the incident on December 1st. “They are cutting down trees and manufacturing charcoal. They are backed by the federal police whose camp is located in a nearby area called Qorke,” he explained.    His statement was corroborated by three other members of the Karrayu community who told Addis Standard that the seat of the Michile Gadda leaders and many other villages in the woreda were occupied by militiamen from the neighboring Amhara region following the execution of the Abba Gadaas. The residents talked about the continued advancement of armed groups from the neighboring region. “We were shocked to see the settlement of militias from the neighboring Amhara region in our village.”A survivor of the execution Balchaa (name changed for security reasons) said, ”They [federal forces] prevent us from using grazing lands and water sources close to the borders. The Amhara militias have recently settled in Tututi Kebele, east and south of a place called Qorke.” According to him, the advancements have become common in the last three years but it has intensified after the killing of Abba Gadaas. Large swathes of land are being pillaged for charcoal production, he said. He explained that are grazing lands and a well in an area called Gorora are now inaccessible to the Karrayyu community who is suffering from drought.   Abera, another resident of the woreda said that the militiamen opened fire on the Karrayyu community in the days leading up to the killing of the Abba Gadaas. He accused the local administration of enticing the neighboring Amhara community to defend themselves from “Shanee” (a term government officials use to refer to Oromo Liberation Army). “Our community is disarmed and has nothing to defend itself with,” he said. When asked about the measures taken by security forces of the Oromia region he said, “They tell us to defend ourselves.”  Bulchaa testified that the government forces confiscated the weapons from the community recently. “The word Shanee is being used as a pretext to attack the pastoralist  Karrayyu community who carries arms to defend its cattle from wild animals,” he said adding,  “We have no knowledge of the group the government calls Shanee, it is not possible for an armed group to hide in such a small woreda.”  “We have no knowledge of the group the government calls Shanee, it is not possible for an identified group to hide in such a small woreda.”Buclhaa, a member of the Karrayyu community Roba who wanted to go by his first name for security reasons spoke of widespread looting of cattle by militias from the Amhara region. He also recalled a recent standoff between the two communities where three people were killed.  He also narrated a recent incident where elders and Abba Gadaas of the four other Gadaa parties denounced those who have affiliation with the armed group.  “The Abba Gadaas urged those people to separate themselves from the community and called on those who want to rejoin the community, he stated, adding, “This is a testimony to the Karrayyus’ allegiance with peace. We want the killings and jailing to stop.” Commenting on the admission of the government officials, he said “It is amazing that we never heard words of condolence from the government.”   The survivor who remains apprehensive of being rearrested warned the Abba Gadaa union of what he called attempts to disfigure the truth. “Politics and Gadaa aren’t the same. We want the union and all Oromos to know our truth.” Addis Standardss several attempts to speak to the Oromia Police commissioner, the Oromia communication bureau as well as woreda officials were unsuccessful. AS

[Category: Analysis, Politics, Law & Justice]

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[l] at 1/17/22 7:30am
0 Facebook 0 Twitter 0 Telegram 0 Email Some of the leaders of Karrayyu Gadaa Michilee who were executed on December 1, 2021 By Siyanne Mekonnen @Siyaanne Addis Abeba, January 17, 2021-  Six of the jailed members of the Karrayyu Gadaa leadership who were initially said to have gone missing after the unlawful deaths of 14 members of the Karrayyu Gadaa Michilee leaders were released on December 31, 2021 reports said. A survivor of killings, who was later jailed alongside 22 others, for the first time gave Addis Standard first-hand accounts of the incident that unfolded at Karra, where a prayer ceremony, Waaq Kadhaa was being held on December 1. Weeks after the incident, members of the ruling party accused the Oromia police of having executing Karrayyu Abba Gadaas. “We were unsuspecting when Oromia police arrived and immediately encircled us. We’ve always had a good relationship with government officials,” said the survivor who didn’t want his name to be disclosed for fear of retribution. He recalled, “They provided no explanation as they unexpectedly showed up and began searching homes, looting properties, and confiscating weapons and traditional armaments.”   They told us that we were going to die in a few hours. They even asked us to give them our money before we die.A survivor of the execution “They rounded up 39 of us then loaded us on the cargo bed of a pick-up truck. We trusted that they meant no hard. Soon after, they started threatening us and accusing us of killing their members. We didn’t know what they were talking about. There hadn’t been any violence in our area,” he continued, “They were intimidating us the entire drive. They told us that we were going to die in a few hours. They even asked us to give them our money before we die.”  The survivor recalled that after we arrived at a remote area, they were asked who among them was from Haro Kersa Kebele. According to him, 16 people were identified and were ordered to lay on the ground face down and shot. “Some of them started beating us while others shot those who were lying down. We were forced back on the cargo bed of the truck,” he said, adding “I was appalled to hear that wild animals scavenged from their bodies for days.”  Weeks after the incident, members of the ruling party publicly admitted government forces’ involvement in the killings. In a live Facebook video, Hangasa Ibrahim, a member of the House of People’s Representatives accused the head of Oromia police commissions, commissioner Ararsa Merdasa of being behind the killings.  Another government official attributing the killing to government forces is the state minister of peace, Taye Dendea. On his personal Facebook page with over half a million followers, the state minister implied that the Karrayyu Gadaa leaders were killed by elements within the regional government. Repeated attempts to speak with both government officials were unsuccessful.  “Some criticized the police for failing to finish off the 39 people at once. That would have prevented criticism against the government for killing Karrayyu Abba Gadaas.”  Hangasa Ibrahim, member of the House of People’s Representatives The MP corroborated the statements Addis Standard received from eyewitnesses, including the aforementioned survivor about the sequence of events leading up to the killing of the Abba Gadaas. He also mentioned the beating and killing of one of the 23 detainees. Countering the government’s own statement, the MP went on to say that, the police shot 16 of the Gadaa leaders ‘without remorse’. “Why would anyone be killed when they can be jailed or brought to the court of law?” he asked in a live Facebook broadcast that has reached over 60,000 viewers.  The survivor recounted that the remaining people were driven to an area called Sogido where an Oromia Special Forces training camp was located. All the 23 of them were detained in what he describes as a room big enough for two people. “We were met with another round of beatings at the camp. We were beaten until we passed out,” he said.   On Friday, December 3rd, the detainees were relocated to another detention center. “We were loaded on the back of a truck and ordered to lay down face down so that we couldn’t see where they were taking us. When we arrived somewhere around Mojo, they covered our faces as we got off the back of the truck. We were then locked in a dark room,” he said. He remembers that their detainers registered their names.  He also spoke of the death of one of the captives, Jilo Borayu Hawas who died on December 8.  “Jilo succumbed to hunger in addition to the beatings. They didn’t take out his body for four nights. We shouted for help for days to no avail. They took his body out on Saturday after the elders found us. They only started giving us food after his death. Some who got too weak from starvation received medical care,” he said.   On the other hand, days after the government officials admitted the involvement of government security forces in the killings, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) sent a letter to the Oromia police commission and the regional attorney general office requesting explanations on the incident. Addis Standard received the letter which is dated December 31, 2021, from an employee of the commission who wanted to remain anonymous. The letter detailed that members of the areas administration were at the scene of the killings and that the executions were carried out following several phone calls. The commission also mentioned that the attempts made by its investigation team to visit the jailed Gadaa leaders were unsuccessful.  “We were loaded on the back of a truck and ordered to lay down face down so that we couldn’t see where they were taking us.A survivor of the execution The survivor of the killings detailed the circumstances of how two out of the 16 people managed to escape the killings. “‘Their lives were spared by some members of the security forces who pretended to shoot at them but fired in the wrong directions,” he said. The parliament member attested to this and said in his live video broadcast that two individuals ‘managed to escape and reveal the truth.’ Hangasa also said, “Some criticized the police for failing to finish off the 39 people at once. That would have prevented criticism against the government for killing Karrayyu Abba Gadaas.”  Speaking about the condition of his release from month-long detention, he explained, “They released Six of us following the elders’ plea. We don’t know why they held the remaining others.” He also mentioned an investigative committee that was sent to the woreda from the higher government bodies he could not identify. Another resident of the area, Jaarraa (Name changed for security reasons, told Addis Standard that the committee was sent to the woreda and tried to speak with eyewitnesses. According to him, the local officials prevented the committee members from traveling around the woreda citing military operations by armed groups. Jaarraa accused the local officials of attempting to prevent the truth from coming out. “They are also actively looking for the two escapees and those who were released from detention. We suspect that they might kill them,” he said. The survivor also shares this fear. He confessed that he is apprehensive of the local administrations attempts to locate him and the other survivors of the killings.  He also detailed the conditions after he was released and rejoined his community. “We were shocked to see the settlement of militias from the neighboring Amhara region in our village. We sought refuge in another village called Dodoti,” he said recalling that residents including women and children fled the area after the incident on December 1st. “They are cutting down trees and manufacturing charcoal. They are backed by the federal police whose camp is located in a nearby area called Qorke,” he explained.    His statement was corroborated by three other members of the Karrayu community who told Addis Standard that the seat of the Michile Gadda leaders and many other villages in the woreda were occupied by militiamen from the neighboring Amhara region following the execution of the Abba Gadaas. The residents talked about the continued advancement of armed groups from the neighboring region. “We were shocked to see the settlement of militias from the neighboring Amhara region in our village.”A survivor of the execution Balchaa (name changed for security reasons) said, ”They [federal forces] prevent us from using grazing lands and water sources close to the borders. The Amhara militias have recently settled in Tututi Kebele, east and south of a place called Qorke.” According to him, the advancements have become common in the last three years but it has intensified after the killing of Abba Gadaas. Large swathes of land are being pillaged for charcoal production, he said. He explained that are grazing lands and a well in an area called Gorora are now inaccessible to the Karrayyu community who is suffering from drought.   Abera, another resident of the woreda said that the militiamen opened fire on the Karrayyu community in the days leading up to the killing of the Abba Gadaas. He accused the local administration of enticing the neighboring Amhara community to defend themselves from “Shanee” (a term government officials use to refer to Oromo Liberation Army). “Our community is disarmed and has nothing to defend itself with,” he said. When asked about the measures taken by security forces of the Oromia region he said, “They tell us to defend ourselves.”  Bulchaa testified that the government forces confiscated the weapons from the community recently. “The word Shanee is being used as a pretext to attack the pastoralist  Karrayyu community who carries arms to defend its cattle from wild animals,” he said adding,  “We have no knowledge of the group the government calls Shanee, it is not possible for an armed group to hide in such a small woreda.”  “We have no knowledge of the group the government calls Shanee, it is not possible for an identified group to hide in such a small woreda.”Buclhaa, a member of the Karrayyu community Roba who wanted to go by his first name for security reasons spoke of widespread looting of cattle by militias from the Amhara region. He also recalled a recent standoff between the two communities where three people were killed.  He also narrated a recent incident where elders and Abba Gadaas of the four other Gadaa parties denounced those who have affiliation with the armed group.  “The Abba Gadaas urged those people to separate themselves from the community and called on those who want to rejoin the community, he stated, adding, “This is a testimony to the Karrayyus’ allegiance with peace. We want the killings and jailing to stop.” Commenting on the admission of the government officials, he said “It is amazing that we never heard words of condolence from the government.”   The survivor who remains apprehensive of being rearrested warned the Abba Gadaa union of what he called attempts to disfigure the truth. “Politics and Gadaa aren’t the same. We want the union and all Oromos to know our truth.” Addis Standardss several attempts to speak to the Oromia Police commissioner, the Oromia communication bureau as well as woreda officials were unsuccessful. AS

[Category: Analysis, Politics, Law & Justice]

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[l] at 1/17/22 3:44am
0 Facebook 1 Twitter 0 Telegram 0 Email Armed members of Fano. PictureL Fano Amhara in Gonder.Facebook Addis Abeba: Amhara State Government Communication Bureau Head, Gizatchew Muluneh, told the Ethiopian Press Agency that the government will organize and not disarm Fano members who have paid scarifies for the survival of the country and peoples freedom. Gizatchew Muluneh said that in the history of the Amhara people, the Fano protect the Amhara “from the enemy and humiliations” as well as pay scarifies for the Amhara people to benefit fron development and political areas. Therefore, the government “will further organize” the Fano and “will not disarm them.” The Fano are armed group of thousands of young men and women in Amhara regional state who are not a part of the regular structure in both the federal and state security apparatus but have been on the side of the federal and regional forces in the ongoing armed conflict with Tigrayan forces. Gizachew said that the Fano have made great strides in thwarting the military attack by Tigrayan forces in Amhara regional state and have paid the price with their lives. The government recognizes and rewards those individuals, and has no reason to disarm them, he said further explaining that the governments intention was not to disarm the Fano, but to help those who sustained hurt while fighting for their country in a manner accorded to other security forces. His statement came in the wake of a widely circulated document allegedly prepared by the federal government detailing post-war security challenges facing different regional states including Amhara region. The document discusses the challenges of privatization of arms among civilians and irregular armed groups especially the Fano. Authorities in Amhara region have since distanced the region from the document. Gizachew further said that in addition to repelling enemy forces, Fano is an armed group that, in the event of a disaster in the region, will coordinate with other government security forces in the same manner as any other security forces to mitigate disasters. In times of peace, those who are farmers will farm, these who come from business backgrounds will return to do normal business, he said, adding at times of peace, most of the Fano members are at work. In the event that there are Fano members without jobs, the government will create ways in which they will be made to engage in works. Fano respects law and order and pays sacrifices for the benefit of the people of Amhara, according to Gizachew. The regional government would enforce the rule of law in accordance with the laws in the region. If there are unruly forces involved in looting and other acts of violence, they will be held to account, Gizachew said and assured that Fano is not a force beyond the control of the government and will be judged under the government like any other community. Anyone who deviates from this should not be called by the name of Fano, the state media quoted Gizachew as saying. However, he indicated that the regional government, starting from its political leadership, has interested to organized in an orderly manner the use of force and what to do in the event of something happening involving arms. To this end he emphasized that the attempt was not related to disarmament but a process that looks into the orderly administration of arms in the region. He criticized the use of social media to disseminate untraceable confusion to divide the people, sow hate among each other, and create uncertainties to weakening the people of Amhara. He also said that the public should only take information from the right sources without paying attention to these forces. AS

[Category: Ethiopia, News, Secutity, Politics, Africa]

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[l] at 1/15/22 2:59am
0 Facebook 0 Twitter 0 Telegram 0 Email By Dereje Gonfa @DerejeGonfa  Addis Abeba, January 15, 2022 In the Oromia region where drought and worsening food crisis is ravaging several woredas mainly in Borana and East Bale zones, more reports of drought have been coming out of the arid areas in East Showa zones Fentale woreda, West and East Hararghe zones in Eastern Oromia.   Roba Jilo, a resident of Fentale woreda complained about the effect of the drought on the community and their cattle, mostly camels. He explained, “The cattle are getting weak and unable to move because of lack of food and water. In some areas, the cattle are dying.” According to Roba, the farming season saw a shortage of rainfall. He added, “If the situation continues to go as it is, we are set to face a huge humanitarian disaster.” His concerns are shared by Boru Hawas, another resident who pointed that the drought is killing the communitys cattle, their main source of income. Boru highlighted the conflict over grazing areas between residents of Fentale Woreda and residents of the bordering Minjar Shenkora woreda in the Amhara region aggravated the situation. Boru argued, “Unless the border issue is resolved, we cannot move our cattle like we used to. The drought will get worse soon, we are facing hunger already. I don’t know what will happen.” Residents of the woreda also complained of a lack of assistance from regional authorities and non-governmental organizations operating in the region. Gadissa Barcho, the head of woreda’s disaster management bureau corroborated residents testimonies and added that the prolonged drought created fear among the residents.  Gadissa said, “All the 18 kebeles are experiencing drought, except for some that have the Awash river irrigation project running through.” He added, “The drought is not severe now relative to other areas, but it is getting worse. In some areas, the shortage of water and pasture is forcing the residents to migrate. The situation is worrisome.”  The woreda official said, We have assessed the impact of the drought and reported it to the concerned body, he added “We are still collecting data. We don’t have the final figures as to how many people are affected.” He further expressed his concern that the drought’s impact may be large-scale and argued that it is the case in some kebeles. Gadissa spoke about the impact inflation is having on food security. He said, “The price of cattle is going down as the price for food items is going up. It is reaching a point where residents can’t trade two heads of cattle for a Quintal of wheat.” The lowering of cattle prices is becoming rampant in drought-stricken areas. There are similar trends in other parts of Oromia Region where the plunging price of cattle is aggravating the impact of drought on the pastoralists.  The official underlined the lack of action by what he described as a concerned body despite the woreda’s plea for assistance. Nothing has reached us so far, he said.  The situation in the adjacent zones  of both West and East Hararghe is no different  8 woredas are affected by the drought in the East Hararghe zone alone. While in West Hararghe zone, Hawi Gudina, Burka Dimtu, Gumbi Bordode and Mieso districts  are also affected by the drought, according to sources.  Abdi Ibrahim, a resident of the Mayu Muluke woreda of the East Hararghe zone spoke about the effects of drought and challenges facing the community. He said, “It has not rained in a long time and all the lakes and the springs dried up. It is hard to find drinking water, including for the cattle. The animals are getting weak, unable to move and some have started dying,” he added, “People are starting to flee in search of water and grazing land. The situation is worrying if it continues like this.” Abdi described the scale of support the community is receiving as minimal. He said,“We are receiving a little support, two trucks were distributing water for several areas. But the water was not even enough for the people let alone the cattle. Now one of the trucks is not working. Providing water to an entire woreda with a single truck is unlikely.” Abdul Hasib Ahmed, another resident of the same woreda, complemented Abdis testimony by saying, “People with low income are affected the most. We hear people saying support will come but we have not seen any yet. Everyone is in need, we need larger support to survive this drought. ” The drought has affected health care facilities as well according to Abdul Hasib . He said, “Schools and health posts are on the verge of closing due to the water shortage. This is the worst drought I have ever seen in my life.” Adnan Mohammed the head of Mayi Muluke disaster management bureau shared the frastrution of the residents and said the bureau’s investigation indicated confirmed drying up of water sources.  Adnan fears the situation may get worse, “If it doesn’t rain in January around hundred thousand cattles may perish and around ten thousand people may be exposed to extreme hunger.” Currently water is provided to health posts and schools according to Adnan. He explained, “We are distributing water to health posts and schools. We are planning to dig deep wells to use the underground water. Unfortunately the plan is still in the phase of conducting research.” Mohammed Yusuf is a farmer and a resident of Chinaksen woreda in the East Hararghe zone. He said, “We planted sorghum and corn. Because the rain stopped abruptly, it didnt yield fruit. Instead it served as cattle food. The cattle survived this far with the corn and sorghum. I don’t know what the cattle will feed on in the future.” Mohammed noted that the conflict with the neighboring Somali region hindered the communitys movement in search of water. Violence and looting is forcing people to glee their homes, worsening the impact of drought making the community prone to hunger, he explained.  Here in the East Hararghe zone, the price of cattle has plummeted as the cattle become weak and unattractive for traders, Mohammed said. This coupled with inflation might lead to a multi-layered humanitarian crisis, he predicted.  Tefera Eshete, the zonal disaster and risk management bureau disclosed that the bureau confirmed through research that 8 woredas are affected by drought. We are planning to provide fodder, water and food starting from January, he said.   Contrary to residents testimonies, Miski Mohamed, the administrator of East Hararghe zone said, “The drought didn’t affect the community. We are conducting research on how to handle it, if it occurs in the future.” While the East Hararghe zone remains more affected than the West Hararghe zone, the situation in West Hararghe is no better.  Abduraman Riyadh, a public servant in Hawi Gudina district of the zone is of the opinion that the slow response to the drought is worsening its impact. Abduraman went on to talk about water shortage, “We are paying 25 to 30 ETB per liter for water fetched from the river. Abduraman argued that providing water with trucks is not a sustainable solution, “I don’t think two trucks can supply water for the entire woreda.” The drought is affecting more aspects of the lives of the residents of the two zones.  Aliyi Kedir, a resident of Burka Dimtu woreda who like many residents of West Hararghe zone told Addis Standard that he is considering fleeing the area to look for better opportunities to make ends meet elsewhere in Oromia.   Schools are on the verge of closure as a result of the worsening drought according to Lelisa Kuma, a teacher at a primary school in Burka Dimtu woreda. He explained that the dropout rate is increasing dramatically as students continue to drop out as they assist their families in search for water and cattle feed. Schools are discussing closing down all together, he said.  The administrator of West Hararghe zone, Elias corroborated the testimonies of the residents of the zone. “We have identified areas where the drought is expected to have severe impacts. We are currently providing assistance to three woredas that are affected worst. ” Elias predicted that 400,000 people could be exposed to hunger if the drought prolongs.  Reports suggests that Millions of people in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia are in dire need of humanitarian assistance due to drought killing hundreds of thousands of their cattle and damaging thousands of hectares of crops. AS

[Category: Analysis, Social Affairs]

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[l] at 1/15/22 12:06am
0 Facebook 4 Twitter 0 Telegram 0 Email By Getahun Tsegaye @GetahunTsegay12 Addis Abeba, January 3/2022 Inflation has a huge effect on the livelihood of many in the country but has profound effects on civil servants whose salaries remain unchanged. Inflation hits harder on workers whose income is fixed, such as civil servants, pensioners, and low-income contract employees, said Abis Getachew, an independent economist.  Rabiya Yesuf, an employee of the Ministry of Agriculture, explained that the price of agricultural products such as teff, onions, potatoes, tomatoes has increased in November 2021 compared to the past couple of months. She said, “A kilo of Teff was 56 Ethiopian ETB in October then went up to 59 ETB in November.” According to her, a kilo of onion has increased by 15 ETB in one month. She expressed her concerns about the price hikes and how it is affecting her livelihood.  The Central Statistics Agency (CSA) in its latest reports disclosed that the overall rate of inflation (12 months moving average inflation at Country Level) in Ethiopia increased by 25.5% by November 2021 compared to the one observed over the same period a year ago. According to the report, food inflation was the highest, registering a surge as high as 30.1 %, while non-food inflation registered at 19.4 % in November 2021 as compared to November 2020. The CSA reported that the 12 months moving average inflation rate suggests a longer-term high inflationary projection in the country. The CSA reported that the year-on-year inflation rate in November 2021 has surged by 33 % as compared to the one observed in November 2020 while the food inflation has increased by 38.9 %. The agency also reported that the month-on-month inflation rate registered a decrease of 0.6% and the food inflation a decrease of 1.7% compared to October 2021.  The CSA also reported that in November, cereals, vegetables, and pulses registered a relative price drop while meat, dairy products. Whereas spices (mainly salt and Pepper), and edible oil prices registered a slower decline with coffee beans and non-alcoholic beverages maintaining an inflationary reaction in November. We’re not sure if we can keep paying such an amount of school fee nor do we have a plan to have another baby.” Meron Anteneh, a civil servant in Addis Abeba Sisay is a salesperson at a private company who complained about price hikes, describing it as “shocking”. She said while expressing amusement at the market movements compared to her salary, “In October a kilo of orange was 40 ETB but now it has become 75 ETB which is almost an increment of 100 percent. I don’t think I will afford to buy it anymore.”  But others say the biggest challenge facing them is securing rent payment. Like Ayele who is a civil servant residing in Addis Abeba. He said, “Following the governments declaration of banning rent increase, my landlord cannot increase the rent at least for the time being.  I however remain apprehensive that when the declaration is over, they will increase it,” he added, “My salary has almost been stagnant and hasnt shown steady growth while the house rent was increasing alarmingly.” Another civil servant whom Addis Standard spoke to was Tinsae who is currently living in a rented one-bedroom condominium at the Abado site. She said, “I have been paying 6,500 ETB monthly but my friends who were displaced from Wollo due to the ongoing conflict were asked to pay 7,500 ETB for a similar bedroom,” she added,” However because some IDPs are returning to their hometowns, rent is dropping to where it used to be a few months ago.” Meron Anteneh, another civil servant, complained about the increase in private school fees in Addis Abeba. She told Addis Standard that her only son, who is currently in 1st grade, has been enrolled in the same school for the past three years. “The previous year I was paying 4,000 ETB every quarter but I am paying 6,100 ETB. That is an increase of 2,100 ETB making it an 8,400 ETB increment a year.” She added, “Taking into account the income my husband and I make, we’re not sure if we can keep paying such an amount of school fee nor do we have a plan to have another baby.” When asked about expectations from actions taken by the government to regulate and address inflation, some expressed hope that the salary increment would address the matter. However, others complained about the supply chain, corporate greed, and irresponsibility of house owners and asked for actions to address the lack of social responsibility.  Because the wholesalers at Merkato increased the price, I don’t have any option other than to increase the retail prices too.Abdi Naje, a retail store owner Abdi Naje, a retail store owner, told Addis Standard that since the government announced punitive measures against individuals involved in creating artificial price hikes and commodity shortages, the market has been stable. According to Abdi, this trend isn’t sustainable. He said, “With the exception of some items, like edible oil, milk, and flour, the price of other edible and non-edible items started to go back where it used to be,” he added, ”Because the wholesalers at Merkato [The biggest marketplace in Africa] increased the price, I don’t have any option other than to increase the retail prices too.” Another aspect of concern is the increase in the prices of fuel products. Ashenafi, a resident of Addis Abeba expressed, “I’m scared that the cost of public transportation and other goods will increase.” It is worth mentioning that in December, federal authorities increased prices on various fuel products. According to the December adjustment, the price rose to 31.74 ETB from 25.86. Consequently, the Addis Abeba city administration Transport Bureau revised tariffs on public transport services.  Measures taken by the government Intending to help low-income residents of Addis Abeba, the city administration cabinet decided to grant loans up to 500 million ETB to offer subsidies to consumer cooperatives that will provide basic consumer goods and stabilize the market price of grain. The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE), on its part, announced its plan to provide over 100 billion ETB in loans to the private sector, agricultural inputs, and public enterprises in the current budget year. Of this amount, 25 billion ETB is for the private sector, 30 billion ETB for agricultural inputs, and the rest for public enterprises to stimulate the economy; and resulting in job creation.  Earlier in August last year, the Ethiopian Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) disclosed the governments plan to address the rising cost of living, by reducing double digits of inflation to a single digit by subsidizing basic commodities. The statement read, “A task Force, from federal to woreda level, is taking action against illegal trade activities which are causing more problems for the society by increasing prices without any valid economic reason for industrial and agricultural consumption.” The Ministry accused unnamed individuals of creating artificial shortages in basic goods and causing an increase in prices. It warned that actions will be taken against those involved in illegal activities disturbing the supply chain.   What do economists say? Abis Getachew is an independent economist and researcher who has conducted extensive studies about inflation in Ethiopia. When Addis Standard asked him how inflation has affected civil servants, who live on a fixed income, Abis stated that these sections of the society are highly vulnerable to the inevitable inflation rate in Ethiopia. “The surge of inflation is alarming while their income is fixed which makes life hard for them,” he explained. Explaining the recent government’s interventions to set fixed prices on retailers and wholesalers, Abis underlined that such measurements might only play very subtle impacts on regulating the market for a certain period. The government should endeavor to work on grand economy projects that would help minimize or alleviate such an alarming inflation rate in the country, Abis said.  Abis responded to the demands of civil servants’ salary increment queries saying, “Salary increment does not resolve the living standard of the civil servants or employees living on a fixed income. In the context of Ethiopia, it will instigate price rises on items which will create another destabilization.”   “If the National Bank of the country is directly accountable to the House of Peoples’ Representatives instead of the Council of Ministers, it will be more independent and have the freedom to design well-established policies that can help fix the existing economic problems Ethiopia is facing.” Abis Getachew, an independent economist “It is not too late to fix the inflation spikes,” the economist said, adding, “the government and concerned bodies should work on housing, transportations, and corporations projects. According to him, if these entities work on the availability of such projects at lower prices, consumers, including employees on a fixed income, would have opportunities to shop per their income. He further advised the government to come up with a policy that lets the National Bank become independent. “If the National Bank of the country is directly accountable to the House of Peoples’ Representatives instead of the Council of Ministers, it will be more independent and have the freedom to design well-established policies that can help fix the existing economic problems Ethiopia is facing.” Concerning the ongoing war in Tigray, Afar, and Amhara regions, Abis stated his speculation that the war might have resulted in shortages of supplies. “Due to the war, millions have been displaced from their homes and various industries were destroyed and burned down which have disrupted the normal living conditions of many.” He added, “Food items and other supplies have been transported from other parts of Ethiopia to the war fronts and that might have resulted in shortages and contributed to the inflation, Abis stated. He expressed his hope that the inflation rate would go down after the conflict in the north comes to an end and called upon the government and concerned bodies to come up with interventions to regulate the inflation spikes in the country. AS

[Category: Analysis, Social Affairs]

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[l] at 1/14/22 5:29am
0 Facebook 1 Twitter 0 Telegram 0 Email Tigray TV, a local TV broadcasting from Tigray state, aired grieving women who lost their loved ones in recent airstrike in the region. Picture: Screenshot Addis Abeba, January 14, 2022 Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Liz Throssell In a press briefing today sounded alarm at the targeting of civilians and the destruction of civilian projects in Tigray region. The spokesperson called on the federal government and its allies to respect international laws and ensure the protection of civilians and warned that such actions would amount to war crimes. Moreover the spokesperson sounded alarm at the continued crackdown in under the auspices of the state of emergency without due process. Full Statement: We are alarmed by the multiple, deeply disturbing reports we continue to receive of civilian casualties and destruction of civilian objects resulting from airstrikes in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. At least 108 civilians have reportedly been killed and 75 others injured since the year began, as a result of air strikes allegedly carried out by the Ethiopian air force. On Wednesday this week, an airstrike claimed the life of a 72-year-old man. The previous day, on 11 January, the state-owned Technical Vocational Education and Training institute was hit, reportedly killing three men and leaving 21 people injured – most of them women. And on Monday, 10 January, 17 civilians were reportedly killed and 21 injured – most of them women – after an airstrike, reportedly carried out by a drone, hit a flour mill where they had gathered to grind their grains into flour. The deadliest airstrike so far, which hit the Dedebit IDP camp on 7 January, left at least 56 people dead and 30 others wounded. We have since established that three of those who were critically injured later died in hospital while receiving medical treatment, pushing the death toll from that single strike to at least 59. Numerous other airstrikes were reported last week, hitting a private minibus traveling from Adiet to Axum city, Shire airport, Mai-Aini refugee camp and other areas.  We call on the Ethiopian authorities and their allies to ensure the protection of civilians and civilian objects, in line with their obligations under international law. Any attack, including airstrikes should fully respect the principles of distinction, proportionality and precautions in attack. In particular, parties to the conflict must take all feasible measure to verify that targets are indeed military objectives and suspend an attack if it becomes apparent that the target is not a military objective or that the attack would be disproportionate. Failure to respect the principles of distinction and proportionality could amount to war crimes. We are also concerned by the continuing arbitrary arrests and detention amid the state of emergency. While we welcome the recent release of several high-profile individuals, including key opposition figures who had been in detention for many months, we remain concerned that many more people – at least hundreds – remain indefinitely detained in appalling conditions and without being brought before a court of law or other tribunal to review the reasons for their detention, among other violations of procedural guarantees. Dispatch

[Category: News, Politics]

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[l] at 1/14/22 4:41am
0 Facebook 0 Twitter 0 Telegram 0 Email By Getahun Tsegaye @GetahunTsegay12 Addis Abeba, January 14, 2022- At a press briefing held on Thursday, January 13, 2022, Balderas for the Genuine Democracy Party (Balderas) whose leaders Eskindir Nega and four others were recently released criticized the federal governments order to prevent defense forces from entering the Tigray region and release TPLF’s former senior leaders. “The federal government should go as far as it can to exterminate TPLF,” the party said.   ‘’The federal government’s decision to wind up military operations before ensuring the sovereignty of the nation is very dangerous,” the party said, adding, “The TPLF still has the military capacity that threatens the nation’s integrity,” Balderas stated.  Balderas also criticized the release of top TPLF leaders who were freed on the same day as Balderas leaders. “The discontinuation of their charges defies the rule of law,” the party said.  The founder and chairman of the party leader, Eskinder Nega said,” The government can not be limited by borders.” He continued, “The ruling party might have made the decision, but the government can not be afforded this choice. The Prime Minister must keep the promise he made to protect the nation,” Eskinder said. AS 

[Category: News, Politics]

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[l] at 1/14/22 3:40am
0 Facebook 0 Twitter 0 Telegram 0 Email Shire hospital serves more than one million people in the area. MSF supports pediatrics, the ITFC and waste management. When MSF first arrived, we helped clean and renovate the hospital and donated food to the hospital kitchen. Shire hospital was not as badly looted as other health structures but there are many robberies after the 6.30 pm curfew. Addis Abeba: In a letter sent to the Executive Board of the World Health Organization (WHO), Ethiopia filed its “objection against the Director-General of WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom” over what it said was the DGs “moral, legal and professional standing that threatened WHOs organizational integrity.” The letter was sent to the WHO executive board after Dr. Tedros said that “a de facto blockade” imposed by the Ethiopian government has created hell in Tigray regional state, and was an insult to our humanity.” The situation is so dreadful and unimaginable during this time, the 21st century, when a government is denying its own people for more than a year food and medicine and the rest to survive, Dr. Tedros told international media on December 10. According to him the “WHO was able to dispatch 14 MT of medical supplies to Afar and 70 MT to Amhara in December last year, but “in Tigray, WHO has not been permitted to deliver medical supplies since mid-July of last year despite repeated request.” People in #Tigray #Ethiopia, living under de facto blockade for over a year, are dying from lack of medicine & food, & repeated drone attacks.@WHO & partners call for safe, unimpeded access to deliver humanitarian aid to the millions of people in great need.We need access now! pic.twitter.com/nZHa7DfRQI— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) January 13, 2022 Nowhere in the world are we witnessing hell like in Tigray, Dr. Tedros said. His statement was echoed by WHOs emergencies chief Michael Ryan, who said the current status has left the people with no access to the very basic life-saving interventions that we in the west would expect immediately, instantly. This is an insult to our humanity. Its not clear if the letter filed by Ethiopia responded to Dr. Tedros statement, but the statement issued by MoFA accused him of abusing “his position by assigning staff in WHOs country office in Ethiopia with a task of executing the plot to inflate the emergency level in Ethiopia, from 1.8 million people to 3.8 million, to warrant humanitarian intervention.” “This misrepresentation of facts is used to misinform the UN Security Council,” MoFA said, adding that Ethiopia “urges the WHO Executive Board to commission an investigation on the Director-General to identify his misconduct and violation of his professional and legal responsibility as provided under the Standards of Conduct for the International Civil Service, staff rules and regulations of WHO, and Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct of WHO.” In wars there are always many wrongs, often on both sides, but the worst is to deny food and medical care to innocent civilians—anywhere The Lancet The Lancet appeals to world leaders On January 12, a renowned global peer-reviewed general medical journal, issued an appeal to world leaders in which it described the situation in Tigray as “a medical catastrophe”. “In short a medical catastrophe is unfolding, in the background of war, famine, and a humanitarian tragedy.” “The situation at Ayder Comprehensive Specialized Hospital, a major teaching institution in Mekele in Tigray, is dire.In wars there are always many wrongs, often on both sides, but the worst is to deny food and medical care to innocent civilians—anywhere. As such, we, along with signatories of this Correspondence, appeal to the worlds medical community to demand protection of hospitals such as Ayder from attack, and furthermore we plead for assistance in ensuring the provision of food, equipment, and medications to care for the civilian population of Tigray,” The Lancent said. Ayder Hospital Doctors make desperate plea On January 04 a “Position Statement of Doctors and other health professionals of Ayder Comprehensive Specialized Hospital” issued a desperate plea to the world in which they revealed that “the availability of essential drugs, which was 79.3% a couple of years ago and 82% a year ago has now gone down to 17.5%. The availability of laboratory tests which was 93.7%, a couple of years ago and 84.2% a year ago, has now gone down to 42.1%.” The statement further said that doctors and medical professionals “have used and are still using expired drugs” and that the “neurosurgery team has decided to operate on patients with problems in the brain just based on clinical examinations, without having the support of CT scan and/or MRI images which have both been not functional for many months because spare parts could not reach our city due to the complete blockage.” The medical team “haven’t been paid our well-deserved salaries for the last seven months, our extra–time payments for nearly 13 months,” and they “are unable to withdraw whatever amount of money we have had in governmental and private banks because of the complete shutdown of banking service.We have nothing to feed our families and ourselves.” According to the Ministry of Health based on “Health Related Indicators published by MoH,” in 2020, “Tigray has 41 Hospitals, 226 Health Centers and 743 Health Posts.” Addis Standards repeated attempt to get comments from the Ministrys Public Relation bureau were to no avail. In March last year however, out of 106 health facilities visited by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) teams in Tigray from mid-December to early March, nearly 70 percent had been looted and more than 30 percent had been damaged. Only 13 percent were functioning normally. “Health facilities across Ethiopias Tigray region have been looted, vandalized, and destroyed in a deliberate and widespread attack on health care,” MSF said. AS

[Category: Ethiopia, Feature, Social Affairs]

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[l] at 1/14/22 2:33am
0 Facebook 0 Twitter 0 Telegram 0 Email Meron Kebede, founder of founder of Pink Lotus Ethiopia breast cancer support group Photo: Ministry of Health By Etenesh Abera @EteneshAb   Addis Abeba, January 8, 2022 -Breast cancer is one of the most prevalent cancer types in the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) more than 2.3 million women were diagnosed with breast cancer in the year 2020 alone with 685,000 registered deaths globally. Likewise, breast cancer is the most prevalent cancer type in Ethiopia accounting for 32 percent of total cases with more than 20,000 people being diagnosed with cancer annually. Dr. Endale Anbereber is an Oncology surgeon at Balck Lion specialized hospital. He explained that the exact cause of breast cancer is not known. However, it is possible to look out for predisposing factors such as smoking, alcohol, and obesity, “As with other cancer types, breast cancer can not be cured but early screening is the best way to detect and treat it in its early stages. According to him, the standard screening mechanism for Western countries is mammography but for countries like Ethiopia the procedure is very is expensive. He advises women to get regular clinical examinations or if that is not possible to check their breasts once a month.   The oncology surgeon is of the opinion that factors such as lack of awareness, peoples preference of traditional medicine to modern treatment, lifestyle choices, and aging are increasing the number of breast cancer cases in the country. Dr. Endale explained that the admission of patients to the hospital long after cancer has advanced is the main challenge he faces. “Most of the time the patients make it to the hospital after cancer nears the final stage which makes the treatment very difficult and unfruitful,” he said. He also discussed how most health centers lack basic cancer treatment services. “Patients are forced to get on long waiting lists until they receive treatment. It is common to see the disease advancing to worse stages while patients are on the waiting list, including at Black lion hospital,”  Dr. Endale said.  Dr. Endale disclosed the hospital’s plan to launch an initiative to open a one-stop breast cancer clinic that consists of surgery, chemotherapy, and other treatments in the same place. In collaboration with Martin Luther King college in Germany, the hospital has already started conducted clinical screening about three months ago. He underlined the need to do screening, especially for women who are predisposed and have a family history of cancer.  Meron Kebede, a survivor of stage three Breast cancer, like Dr. Endale stresses the need for early screening. She is the founder of Pink Lotus Ethiopias breast cancer support group. ‘’ I founded this support group to help those who pass through breast cancer treatment as I did,” she explained, adding, “We also work on creating awareness about early the importance of detection of breast cancer.” The support group held meetings via social media platforms including youtube to exchange information and questions during the pandemic. The Pink Lotus Ethiopia breast cancer support group has a telegram channel with over 800 followers.  The support group exchanges advice on the side effects of chemotherapy and a suitable lifestyle for cancer survivors, Meron said. She explained her ambitions to   upgrade the support group to a foundation, “Our group organizes fundraisings for cancer patients from outside Addis Abeba to get them admitted to private hospitals.”  She concluded her remarks by disclosing her additional plans to work with stakeholders to make breast cancer treatment easily available to those who can’t afford it. “We want the government to hear our pleas to provide chemotherapy free of charge, especially for patients from rural areas, she said, adding, “Other diagnosis machines like mammography should be easily accessible. The government should also increase human power in oncology departments.” AS

[Category: Analysis, Social Affairs]

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[l] at 1/13/22 7:44am
0 Facebook 1 Twitter 0 Telegram 0 Email Ambassador Dina Mufti, spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs By Getahun Tsegaye @GetahunTsegay12 Addis Abeba, January 13, 2021-  Ethiopia plans to resume the repatriation of stranded Ethiopian citizens in Saudi Arabia in the coming few days, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Dina Mufti announced. At today’s biweekly press release, ambassador Dina Mufti recalled that the repatriation of Ethiopian nationals in Saudi Arabia was interrupted in the past few weeks due to other ‘top priorities’ that the government was supposed to address timely. “A delegation has been established to facilitate the repatriation and this team will soon leave for Saudi Arabia to bring the stranded back home,” the spokesperson said. Ambassador Dina Mufti described the past few weeks as a’ successful political landscape’ for Ethiopia stating that many areas occupied by Tigrayan forces in Amhara and Afar regions have now been reclaimed by the government forces. He also mentioned that the international communities were panicking and some of them were leaving the country following the ‘false narration’ that Tigrayan forces were closing in on the capital, Addis Abeba, “The panic has now subsided and life has begun to return to normalcy in many parts of Ethiopia,” he stated. The Ambassador also discussed PM Abiy Ahmed’s phone conversation with the U.S. President, Joe Biden where the two leaders agreed to enhance further engagements and foster bilateral relationships between Ethiopia and the United States.  Ambassador Dina Mufti further talked about the meeting of Olusegun Obasanjo, the  High Representative for the Horn of Africa region,  with the TPLF leaders. “Obasanjo went to Mekelle to meet TPLF leaders and he’s engaged with the Ethiopian government as well. The Ethiopian governments stand for peace has always been aimed at attaining a bigger vision,” adding,” It is the right time for the Ethiopian government to shift from conventional war to diplomatic war and we need to settle peace. Olusegun Obasanjo’s peace talks are still ongoing and there is just nothing ripe to publicize at this moment,” the spokesperson stated at the briefing. The spokesperson was asked what is the response of the Ethiopian government concerning Egypts Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Mohamed Abdel-Ati speech on Sunday that described the negotiations over the GERD have so far failed to reach a favorable conclusion. In his speech, Abdel Ati said, “It is Ethiopias intransigence that has so far prevented the GERD negotiations from reaching a fair agreement between the three concerned countries: Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan,”  The Ambassador responded, “It is unthinkable that Ethiopia will stop its project on the GERD. In fact, in the coming few weeks or months, we’ve set forth to generate electric power. Egypt’s officials have usually been accusing us of baseless allegations. We have never intended to hurt either Egypt or Sudan. GERD, surprisingly, will benefit Sudan. The Nile riparian negotiation will resume once Sudan regains its internal peace.” AS

[Category: News, Social Affairs]

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[l] at 1/13/22 4:48am
0 Facebook 3 Twitter 0 Telegram 0 Email Community members in Afar waiting for humanitarian assistance. Picture: Afar State Communication Bureau Addis Abeba In a statement released yesterday, Afar People’s Party Executive Committee criticized shortage of the delivery of humanitarian assistance to IDPs and pointed out that aid was not being delivered timely. “Aid is not reaching hundreds of thousands of people while supplies, especially food items remain stocked in warehouses, the party said. The Party attributed the problem with delayed aid delivery to monopolization of the operation by the government for political consumption. we are receiving many complaints that the supports that are being made are not reaching the real victims beyond political image building, the statement said, adding post-war reconstruction and rehabilitation projects should be undertaken by an independent institution. Moreover, the party condemned the parties to the conflict for waging an aimless war without considering the aftermath of war. The statement recalled the party’s repeated calls for national dialogue long before the onset of war on November 3, 2020. “But the Afar people greatly suffered human and material losses in the war,” the statement reads. The party further said that the war with Tigrayan forces is still ongoing in northern parts of the region, adding the post war damage in the region was significantly greater than the level claimed by the regional government. It demanded the redoing of an investigation by experts as well as transparency in the amount of donation and the dispatches to the region. The statement also discussed the security situation in Yagundi Karoma Gewane route as well as Kelbeti Rasu areas. To this Afar Peoples Party called on regional political forces including the ruling party to convene and identify the core issues of the region prior to the planned national dialogue. “We believe there are shared agendas we need to address with our Ethiopian brothers and sisters. But there are some issues that are specific to Afaris and should be brought to the national dialogue.” It also urged the federal government to refrain from interfering in the process and to make sure that the dialogue took place in the spirit of give and take. It also cautioned that the dialogue should not be a facade meant to withstand pressure from the international community. AS/Dispatch

[Category: News, Politics]

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[l] at 1/12/22 8:38am
2 Facebook 1 Twitter 1 Telegram 0 Email How our lives turned into a joke We used to have this inside joke in my friend circle long before the war started. It started as a witty comment made to mock one of our friends who has a habit of evading splitting the bill whenever we go out together.  Our group comprises bachelors who are civil servants who regularly hang out over meals and beer. When the bills come, this friend always drags his feet to contribute his share, often successfully evading payment. Another friend who was tired of this said, “My friend do you receive your salary in the form of wheat flour? How come you never have cash on you?” The joke stuck on in our circle but we never would have imagined that it would be our reality. After the war, people from all walks of life including Professors, Doctors, Teachers, and civil servants now swell up the queues at aid agencies for rations of wheat.  Our lives turned into a joke, literally! Employees haven’t received their salaries for more than seven months since the federal government blocked all banking services and put strict control over every penny coming into Tigray. The more unfortunate ones are perishing in hunger daily. In rural areas, it’s common to see severely malnourished skinny children are everywhere. More and more elderly people are going out on the streets seeking alms. Tigray has been systematically besieged. With the cutting of basic humanitarian needs, countless innocent civilians were subjected to unbearable suffering. Supplies in the market have depleted to the last drop. Parents who cant afford the skyrocketing prices of the last few packs of baby diapers have resorted to using folded rags instead.  Not everybody is suffering out of poverty. Even well-to-do families with significant amounts of savings in the banks are going through this misery and woe because they are denied access to their hard-won resources. They are deprived of their basic rights, by design, by the very government that is supposed to protect them. It is becoming crystal clear that the Ethiopian government has neither the will nor intention to separate between the people of Tigray and the combatants in the war. This is evidenced by the continued indiscriminate aerial bombardment of civilian houses and market areas throughout Tigray, in addition to the blockade.  I believe the blockade is being used as a strategy to starve the people of Tigray into submission. It resembles the surrender or starve tactic used by previous dictatorial regimes against the people of Tigray. This strategy has not yielded fruits of military gain in the past, nor will it today. It will only bring a never-before-seen catastrophe. The more this tactic is employed, the more innocent lives are lost. Adults are dying from a lack of medical treatment, countless unvaccinated children will perish from starvation.  This tactic will only fuel stronger resistance against the government. More young people, university graduates, taxi drivers, farmers who felt breaking the siege is a matter of survival are joining the Tigray Defense Forces. The continued blockade is reinforcing people’s belief that there is an all-out effort to wipe out every single Tigrayan. For someone who saw their loved one die a preventable death from lack of medication, what is left to hope for? Chemotherapy hasn’t been available for months now. Even the most basic medical supplies like gloves have become a luxury to the point where Physicians are operating by putting on plastic bags. Very essential medications for HIV, Tuberculosis, diabetes, and hypertension are getting scarce.  I remember the incident where the realization struck me how catastrophic the situation has become in Tigray. Last week, an old acquaintance approached me while I was having coffee and asked me if the truck parked nearby belonged to me. I told him it was not mine and asked him if he was okay.  He looked disturbed and in a hurry. He then briefly told me how a man has died because he hadnt taken his HIV medication for months. A truck was needed to transport the body but it wasnt easy to find one. There is an acute shortage of fuel across Tigray. One is considered lucky to find a liter of benzene for electric generation Tigrays capital Mekelle. It’s hard to imagine how the less developed towns and cities are functioning.   Electric power suppliers were repeatedly targeted in the war leaving millions in the dark.  What is more perplexing in all this is how the world turned a blind eye to the misery of the people of Tigray. Why isnt the international community trying to do something practical apart from issuing statements of grave concern? Let me tell you another story before I conclude.  Recently I was with a group of friends at our hang-out spot. (Nowadays, people have to come to certain public places to check up on each other since there are no other means of communication)  When we were having some chit chat about current issues, one of our friends playfully twisted the arm of the other. Then she pleaded for our rescue particularly looking at the one she thought would certainly come to her rescue. But he responded by saying I am gravely concerned, dear friend. Everybody burst out into laughter and we didnt discuss it further. But it keeps coming to my mind whenever I think of the situation we are in. That is how we actually feel and understand the international communitys response to the Tigray situation. Mere expression of pity! The international community must dispose of its responsibility by stepping up action to end the suffering of the people of Tigray. A lot of time to end this violence has been wasted because of its reluctance to act in a way that matches its capacity. However, the world still has time to make things right and initiate a peaceful dialogue between all warring parties. This starts with helping to break the siege on the Tigray region. Lifting the blockade of basic services and aid would be a great start for the Ethiopian government to pave a way for dialogue and demonstrate its will for actual peace. The people of Tigray have always shown their wish and readiness for peace. No Tigrayan mother wants her child on the battlefield unless it is necessary for her and her childs survival. All the people of Tigray wanted was peace until they are left with no other option but to fight to survive.  The international community, therefore, has the responsibility to make sure that there are other options. Editors note: The author is a resident of Mekelle whose name is withheld for the time being. 

[Category: Ethiopia, Viewpoint, Politics, Letters]

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[l] at 1/12/22 5:01am
0 Facebook 1 Twitter 0 Telegram 0 Email Bikila Hurisa (PhD), head of democratic system building coordination office at the Prime Ministers office Addis Abeba, January 12/2022 Bikila Hurisa (PhD), head of the democratic system building coordination bureau at the prime ministers office said, Ethiopians need to give dialogue a chance and end their exposure to war. Speaking with a national news agency he underlined the need to create opportunities for resolving issues through dialogue without foreign interference.  He emphasized the potential that Ethiopians have to solve their problems through dialogue without foreign interference. He said,” Ethiopians have diverse cultural, religious and psychological values that enable them to tackle the contested issues that threaten the nation’s integrity,“ adding, “It is important to create the opportunity Ethiopians to sit down and discuss these contested issues.”  He stated that all the issues of contention will be laid on the table for Ethiopians to discuss and resolve. “There are contradictions, dissimilarities, and problems with perceptions,” he said, adding, I believe we can reach a consensus on most of the outstanding national issues.  Bikila finally underscored that the dialogue holds a grander agenda that transcends the clash of interests of political parties or ethnic groups. He said that the successful undertaking of this visionary project to have Ethiopians sit for discussions will be a great victory for all Ethiopians. AS

[Category: News, Politics]

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[l] at 1/11/22 8:12am
0 Facebook 2 Twitter 0 Telegram 0 Email Dr. Yilkal Kefale, Amhara State President. Picture: PP/Facebook Addis Abeba – The Amhara Regional State President, Dr. Yilkal Kefale, said the people should prepare themselves “to destroy the TPLF terrorist group” without being disturbed by divisive ideas. According to a statement posted on the ruling Prosperity Party (PP)Facebook page, during a briefing to members of local media who have been reporting on destruction in the region due to recent attacks by Tigrayan forces, questions were raised about the current state of affairs in the region. ❝Right now the public is outraged by the release of members of the terrorist group,” he said, they have the right. We believe members of the terrorist are guilty. On January 07, the government discontinued charges against top former TPLF officials who were to be released. Among the former officials include Sebhat Nega, Mulu G/Egziabher, Kidusan Nega, Ambassador Abadi Zemu, Abay Woldu. On January 10, Amhara State officials comprised of representatives from the justice, security and civil service institutions held discussions on current issues. The the discussion was attended by Amhara state President Dr. Yilikal Kefale, and senior officials of the state, including zonal administrators, justice and security sector institutions. #Ethiopia: #Amhara State officials comprised of senior representatives from the justice, security & civil service institutions are holding discussions on current issues. The discussion is being attended by state Pres. Dr. Yilikal Kefale & local officials https://t.co/1LGKqVRgVK pic.twitter.com/UTE4haVJJ3— Addis Standard (@addisstandard) January 10, 2022 Todays statement on the ruling party quoted the President as saying incursions by Tigrayan forces continued and claimed that preparations still continued. Viewed from that point, the recent release of former top TPLF socials should divert from the purpose of destroying the group and is not a cause of distress, the statement said. Although the release of the members of the group is in the interest of national unity and peace has created concerns, especially since the people of Amhara are the prime sufferers, the public shouldnt distracted from the campaign to destroy the terrorist group and ensure its existence, the statement said quoting the President. Dr. Yikal claimed that Tigrayn forces “were not attacking us alone,” but also working with the extremist armed groups especially the “Kemant, Gumuz and Shene groups” and foreign countries such as Egypt and some other countries to prevent Ethiopia from developing and and to destroy it.” Unless the “terrorist group is not eliminated, it will be a big threat to both the people of Amhara as a people and Ethiopia”. Because of that the regional government will work with federal government on ways in which the “terrorist group” will be eliminated and reconstruction of destroyed wealth is put in place. He cautioned the public to not be distracted from its main objective of destroying the “terrorist group” because of some opinions. AS

[Category: Ethiopia, News, Politics, Africa]

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[l] at 1/11/22 3:31am
0 Facebook 2 Twitter 0 Telegram 0 Email Colonel Gemechu Ayana, Senior OLF Official. Picture: Mo’aa TV By Siyanne Mekonnen @Siyaanne Addis Abeba, January 11/2022 Colonel Gemechu Ayana, a senior leader of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) was yesterday arraigned at court alongside four other defendants to continue the hearing after the prosecutor filed an appeal against the charges the court dropped about seven months ago. On November 29, 2021, Colonel Gemechu was brought to the Federal Supreme Court Cassation Bench after the prosecutor filed an appeal six months after he and 13 other OLF members were acquitted of terrorism. He remained under police custody after he was briefly disappeared by security forces and taken to an undisclosed location.   The hearings in December, 2021 were postponed multiple times. At his first appearance after his acquittal, Gemechu had to attend the hearing in the absence of his defense team because they were was not made aware of his court appearance, a family member told Addis Standard at the time. The hearing was postponed until the next day but the police did not bring the defendants to court on that day either. The last hearing before yesterday’s was on December 29th. #Ethiopia News: Prosecutor files appeal against detained senior #OLF leader 6 months after his acquittal https://t.co/5ayYQyBWxK "His defense team was not made aware of his court appearance and the hearing took place in the absence of his lawyers," a family member told @Siyaanne— Addis Standard (@addisstandard) November 30, 2021 The Federal Supreme Court Cassation Bench was set to conduct hearings on the prosecutor’s appeal to overturn the decision made by the federal high court. The federal high court dismissed the prosecutor’s evidence that included tapped phone conversations which are no longer admissible in court as per the new proclamation 1176/2012.   The prosecutor argued that the new proclamation was ratified after it brought terrorism charges on the defendants. The prosecutor also complained to the cassation court that it could not find witnesses from the East and West Wollega zones due to the security situation. Therefore, the prosecutor asked the cassation court to overturn the federal high court’s decision to acquit the defendants and to be allowed to use the tapped phone conversations as evidence.   Yesterday’s hearing was adjourned until January 27, 2022. Colonel Gemechu is a member of OLFs political officer who was arrested in July 2020. Over the course of 18 months, he remained jailed after he was repeatedly granted bail and acquitted at last. He was re-arrested multiple times and transferred to several detention camps without the knowledge of his family and lawyers. In January last year, he was transferred to a division in detention center known for constant fights among inmates. The recently released leaders of Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) Jawar Mohammed and Bekele Gerba went on a hunger strike demanding the transfer of Colonel Gemechu to a safer prison cell .AS

[Category: News, Politics]

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[l] at 1/11/22 1:11am
0 Facebook 0 Twitter 0 Telegram 0 Email Jawar Mohammed and Bekele Gerba of OFC wearing t-shirt showing the late Oromo artist Haacaaluu Hundeessaa and defense lawyer Abduljebar Hussein Addis Abeba, January, 10/2022- The Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) today released a statement discussing the recent move by the government to drop the charges and release its leaders including Bekele Gerba and Jawar Mohammed as well as other opposition figures on January 7th, 2022. In the statement the OFC argued that the arrest of its leaders was politically motivated and said, “It’s also not lost on our jailers that we committed no offense and that we were held unlawfully on bogus charges designed to increase the ruling party’s electoral fortunes.” The party discussed the crisis the country was faced with following what it called ‘our forced removal from the political space’  and expressed sadness over the atrocities civilians in Oromia, Tigray, Benishangul Gumuz, Afar, and Amhara regions.  Furthermore, it said that the investigation into the assassination of prominent Oromo artist Hachalu Hundessa, which preceded the mass arrest of opposition party leaders from OFC and OLF was marred with political interference and cover- ups. The justice system has failed to provide a believable account of what happened the night that Haacaaluu was assassinated let alone prosecute the perpetrators. We, therefore, call for the establishment of an independent investigative body to uncover the truth, OFC said. The party said it was optimistic about restoring peace through reconciliation and rebuilding Ethiopia through peaceful and negotiated resolutions to the ongoing wars, particularly in Oromia, Benshangul-Gumuz, and Tigray, according to the statement. “Only a serious and genuine negotiation and dialogue among nations and nationalities of this country can lead to lasting peace and mutually advantageous coexistence.” Full statement Statement from OFC leaders upon their release from wrongful imprisonment We were released on the 7th of January 2022 after 18 months of wrongful imprisonment. It bears repeating that our arrest and detention in the aftermath of the assassination of the iconic Oromo artist, Haacaaluu Hundeessaa, was motivated by political considerations. It’s also not lost on our jailers that we committed no offense and that we were held unlawfully on bogus charges designed to increase the ruling party’s electoral fortunes. The decision to expunge us from the political space in the run up to the general elections was made because the ruling party saw us, our movement, and our causes, as a threat to its grip on power. A lot has happened in Ethiopia since our forced removal from the political space. The worst possible scenario that we desperately tried to prevent has come to pass. Not only was the hope for a democratic transition totally dashed, the country descended into a regrettable and devastating civil war. From inside our spaces of confinement, we watched in horror the plights of millions of civilians affected by the destructive war and resulting humanitarian catastrophe. As our country teetered on the brink of collapse and the social fabric shattered into pieces, all we could do from our prison cells was weep in anguish and pray for better days. We are particularly appalled and saddened by the atrocities and depredations committed against civilians in Oromia, Tigray, Benishangul Gumuz, Afar, and Amhara states. It might be too late to undo most of the damage done to the country and its people over the last 13 months. However, we believe there is still a small window of opportunity to prevent further destruction, restore peace through reconciliation, and rebuild the country. It goes without saying that such an arduous task requires a genuine political will and good-faith engagement from all stakeholders. To that end, we: Recognize the government’s recent change of tone towards seeking peace and reconciliation over conflict and confrontation that has dominated its discourse over the last two years. These encouraging promises should be followed by practical and irreversible actions. Call on all parties to seek a peaceful and negotiated resolution to the ongoing wars, particularly in Oromia, Benshangul-Gumuz, and Tigray. Until a negotiated, comprehensive ceasefire is achieved, we call on all warring groups to safeguard the safety and protection of civilians, property, and infrastructure. Call on all external actors to play a positive role to end the civil war in Ethiopia and facilitate peace and stability in the Horn of Africa region. We implore them to refrain from fuelling the conflict by providing political or material support to any of the warring parties. In particular, countries in the Red Sea area and the wider international community should with one voice apply pressure on all parties to sit for a negotiated settlement to end the war. Call on the Nations, Nationalities, and People of Ethiopia to resist the ongoing civilian militarization, hate mongering, and unbridled call to arms. We also call on the media to play its part by refraining from broadcasting partisan narratives and fanning hateful propaganda. Continue to mourn the loss of the iconic Oromo artist, Haacaaluu Hundeessaa. We reiterate our call for a thorough and credible investigation into the circumstances and motives behind Haacaaaluu’s cold-blooded murder. His family and the public at large deserve to know the truth about who planned, ordered, and carried out such a heinous attack on one of the Oromo nation’s most treasured and prolific artists of this generation. Marred with political interference and cover- ups, the justice system has failed to provide a believable account of what happened the night that Haacaaluu was assassinated let alone prosecute the perpetrators. We, therefore, call for the establishment of an independent investigative body to uncover the truth. Call for the immediate and unconditional release of many of our members and supporters, senior OLF leaders and its members, and thousands of other political prisoners, journalists, activists including those detained in ethnically targeted raids under the State of Emergency who have not been released. Continue to believe war is not a solution to Ethiopia’s complex political crisis. We hope that the events of the past year have made this truism abundantly clear for the majority of political forces in Ethiopia. Only a serious and genuine negotiation and dialogue among nations and nationalities of this country can lead to lasting peace and mutually advantageous coexistence. Finally, we would like to express our immense gratitude to the entire Oromo nation for their perseverance and tenacity in maintaining our unity and fraternity under conditions of overwhelming adversity; to those who stood by us throughout the awful ordeals of the past 18 months; to our families who cared for us with smile and optimism despite being subjected to regular harassment; our visitors who flocked every day to show their solidarity; to friends and supporters who relentlessly campaigned for our release; our lawyers who defended us passionately and bravely in the face of significant threat to their lives and career. We lack words to express our immense gratitude to the team of volunteer doctors who made regular visits to the Qaliti prison providing us with medical care during our hunger strike and beyond. We are specially indebted to Landmark Hospital and its staff who saved our lives. We would like to pay a particular tribute to one of our defense attorneys, the late Abduljebar Hussein, a selfless defender of truth and justice who paid the ultimate price in the middle of his tireless effort to establish our innocence and secure our freedom. Last but not least, it would be remiss of us not to express our appreciation to the federal police officers, and Qaliti prison guards and administrators who treated us with the utmost respect and dignity during our interactions. We sincerely hope the same is extended to all prisoners across the country.

[Category: News, Politics]

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