Oromo-Somali conflict is consuming civilian lives. Analysts think they are orchestrated by TPLF
At last sixty Somali-Ethiopians are reportedly killed on Friday as Oromo-Somali conflict is renewed in Oromoia region, West Hararge zone, Gadulo locality. Children, women, and elders are among the victims and the number of deaths from violent and large-scale attack is expected to rise as many people have sustained life-threatening wounds.
According to Ethiopian Satellite Television report (ESAT), the attack happened hours after Ethiopian defense force withdrew from the region, which the report indicated as “deliberate.” Ethiopian army was deployed in the region following the conflict between Oromos and Ethiopia Somali’s a few months ago.
Voice of America Amharic Service noted that there was power blackout and phone lines were disconnected in the region -apparently when the conflicts were unfolding. However, they managed to place a call to Somali-region authorities in the area but there was no interest to talk to VOA apparently.
Jemal Diriye, Ethiopia-Somali activist based in Germany, told ESAT that Ethiopia-Somalis in Gadulo were separated in the village after the recent conflict between Oromo and Somali and that Defense force was protecting them.
Jemal pointed out that the region is within Oromo region of Ethiopia and Somali Ethiopians lived in the region for many many decades and are culturally intermingled with the Oromos and they speak the Oromo language too. He added that about sixty Ethio-Somalis are killed and thinks that “Woyanne” (that is a reference to TPLF) is the mastermind behind the attack as it happened hours after federal forces withdrew from the region. However, the activist also blamed Oromo regional state for not protecting Ethio-Somalis.
Analysts claim that the attacks in Gadulo region are orchestrated in order to incriminate leaders of Oromo regional state, particularly Lemma Megersa and his team who are gaining significant political support base not just in Oromo region but outside of Oromo region of Ethiopia,
It is to be remembered that Oromo regional state complained about Federal forces for causing Chelenko. But t is not clear if the withdrawal of Federal forces from Gadulo locality in West Hararge, where more than 60 Somalis are killed after a renewed Oromo-Somali conflict, is related to complaints by Oromo regional state following the killings in Chelenko.
Oromo regional state narrative about the killing of Somali Ethiopians in Gadulo
Oromo regional state communication head, Addisu Arega Kitesa, noted in his social media update today that gunmen from Hawi Gudina and Daro Lebu districts, areas Oromo region which does not share a border with Somali-Ethiopia attacked Ibssa and Ta’oo localities. 29 Oromos were killed as a result of the attack. He also added that 360 houses were burned down.
According to Addisu Arega, the massacre of Somali-Ethiopians in Gadulo region appears to be a vengeance killing Organized and coordinated by an Oromo named as Ziad Teha who lost his borther Ahmed Teha, whom Addisu Arega described as very popular in Hawi Gudina and Daro, in the attacks in Hawi and Daro region. With regard to the number of casualties in Gadulo, Addis Arega puts it to 32 which is much lower than figures reported by other media outlets.
On December 11, deployed federal government forces killed 20 Oromos in Chelenko as Oromos in the region took to the street after an Oromo was killed by Somali region Leyu force.
Oromo regional state president Lemma Megersa condemned the attack claiming that he was not aware of Federal security forces’ presence in the region. Then fresh protests unfolded across many towns in Oromo region.
Federal government communication minister, Dr. Negeri Lencho, told Fana Broadcasting ( TPLF affiliated media) that Ethiopian National Security Council is investigating the killing in Chelenko.
In the month of September, the large-scale Oromo-Somali conflict caused the death of at least 50 Oromos and more than half a million Oromos were reportedly displaced from the Somali region of Ethiopia.
Ethiopia has a federal structure based on ethnicity. Unlike many African countries that constitutionally outlawed ethnic-based politics, the regime in Ethiopia promotes political mobilization along ethnic lines. The ruling coalition itself is composed of four ethnic-based parties. Master of the coalition, Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) itself is an ethnic-based party.
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