Academic journal article Journal of Pan African Studies

The Great Displacements of 2017: Acts of Genocide in Ethiopia

Academic journal article Journal of Pan African Studies

The Great Displacements of 2017: Acts of Genocide in Ethiopia

Article excerpt

"Our human, intellectual and material resources are scattered, abused and misused, internally and externally. We must work together for our very survival." Asafa Jalata, Global Gumi Oromia Meeting October 15, 2017

Introduction

In December, 2016, well-armed Somali Region Special Forces, also known as Liyu Police, crossed the border from Somali State into Oromia State (1), and began a year of violent displacements of over 1.2 million ethnic Oromo victims. We posit that those so called "border skirmishes" (2), which took place during the year 2017, were not the usual petty disputes, but were coordinated episodes of genocidal attacks on unarmed and disarmed Oromo civilians. What was touted as ethnic clashes was merely the facade of another episode in the government pattern of perpetrating slow genocide mediated by hunger and neglect. Events may be disguised in order to cover culpability of the central government, but no matter how massive the cover-up might be, the fact remains that leaders as high in the government as Dr. Debretsion Gebremichael, advisor to then-Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, was responsible for the violent plan and also for preventing life-sustaining charity from reaching victims after coordinated displacements occurred.

There is a strong, but covert, link between the Ethiopian government and those who carried out acts of killings and forcible displacement. This link indicates that the existence of intent to destroy a group, which is the difference between genocide and other mass killings, is present at the highest level of government. In a news release, The Oromo Studies Association (OSA) confidently charged, "these conflicts are taking place with encouragement from, and an active participation of, the powerful group that currently dominates the Ethiopian government, aka the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF)." (3)

The present regime came to power in 1991 as alliance of satellite parties created by TPLF known as the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) after the fall of the Derg (Committee) regime. It consisted of four groups, however, the minority Tigrayan Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) quickly and effectively took control of the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) and the central state government. Nahome Freda elaborates, TPLF "has become indistinguishable from the government." (4) The Liyu police were formed in April 2007 as another arm of the ENDF by Abdi Mohamed Omar, aka Abdi Illy, who is known as one who is firmly allied to the central government. (5) The intial purpose of setting up Liyu Police was to use them as proxy in the counter-insurgency campaigns against the Ogaden Liberation Front in Ogaden Somali region. (6) The central government used the group against Oromo civilians in order to weaken mass protests and uprsings in easern and southern Oromia more recently. This tactic of creating a paramilitary group is commonly used by genocidal states "to establish a degree of deniablity" and to limit evidence of regime control of acts which may be understood as genocidal intent. (7) Illy is now President of Somali state and is beholden to General Gabre Dela for his rise to power. The Liyu police, who are armed minions of the Ethiopian army (ENDF) and who are funded by the UK and the US, have been at the forefront of the attacks. The resultant deaths of Oromos with forcible displacement and destitution of the remaining victims should be recognized as part of Ethiopia's continuing pattern of occult genocide.

The key to understanding TPLF behavior is that the regime is dependent on massive foreign aid of about USD 3.5 billion per year, which is 50% - 60% of its yearly budget. (8) The elite leaders are cognizant of the sensibilities of donors and foreign investors who eschew even a slight hint of genocidal atrocities. Excess deaths must be easily explained without blame to the regime, because without fungible financial aid from donors, government by the Tigray cabal would colllapse. …

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