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Dozens killed in Kobo as Agazi forces brutally suppress protest

Kobo is exploding finally but what the regime is doing could aggravate it in the long-term

Kobo attack
Among destroyed government property
Source : Social Media

January 25, 2018

Loyal military forces of TPLF, Agazi, led an operation to suppress a protest in Kobo, about 570 kilometers North of the capital Addis Ababa. So far, at least nine civilians were killed and several others are injured, according to anonymous sources from Kobo Town. The confrontation between Agazi and residents happened yesterday in the afternoon.

The source added that people are responding to Agazi forces the attack which was supplemented by Federal special forces.

People from the nearby Werekiye and Gobeye rural villages reached Kobo and exchanged fire with Agazi forces.

One member of the Agazi force is killed and two others are injured according to local sources who sent a message on condition of anonymity.

Three vehicles that belong to the government are burned, local administration office ( it is known as Kebele) is burned and four trucks loaded with beer from a government-affiliated factory (Dashen) are destroyed by the protestors.

Heavy military enforcement is sent to Kobo. The town was rocked by gunfire for the most part of Wednesday afternoon.

Other sources, mainly on social media, add that there is a heavy military presence in Kobo.

Kobo is 50 Kilometers north east of Woldia where TPLF regime forces unleashed a brutal attack on residents who were on the religious festival, Kanazegelia, last Saturday and killed more than seven civilians including a nine years old boy. It is located on the way to Tigray.

Following the protest yesterday, roads to and from Tigray are blocked with rocks, according to the US-based Ethiopian News broadcaster, Ethiopian Satellite Television.

Public transportation to Tigray by Selam Bus ( the company is owned by TPLF affiliates) is reportedly avoiding Kobo and use roads further east through Samara, in the arid parts of Ethiopia.

Since protests are spreading fast across Ethiopia, there are views that passage to Tigray through Samara could soon be crippled due to resistance from Afar opposition.

Kobo attack
Scenes from Kobo attack
Source : Social Media

Origin of Kobo discontent

The discontent in Kobo has a long history under the current administration as a greater part of Raya and Kobo, what used to be proper Wollo, was forcefully incorporated as part of Tigray region, ethnic base of the ruling TPLF, after the fall of Colonel Mengistu Hailemariam’s government in 1991.

Raya, just like Wolkait in North West Ethiopia used to be part of Gonder, was part of Wollo before it became part of Tigray – something that critics in the opposition see as a manifestation of Tigray’s expansionist agenda should the domination agenda over Ethiopia fail.

After weeks of EPRDF party executives meeting, the party admitted that it has failed to address the needs of Ethiopians and the issue of TPLF domination over the ruling coalition and government was meant to be addressed.

What rather seem to happen after is that the TPLF is re-consolidating itself systematically buying time. At times the party takes bold belligerent action. For example, Abay Woldu, who used to be chairman of TPLF and president of Tigray until he was removed in December 2017 on grounds of incompetence is appointed last week as Ethiopian Ambassador; the government didn’t disclose the country.

Alamata town which used to be a cherished expression of Kobo provincial identity is now part of Tigray and had to accept a Tigray identity – which is a sort of an ethno-nationalistic identity.

Protest in other parts of the country

The anti-government protest is continuing in other parts of Ethiopia. Yesterday, Wolkite city in Guragre region of Ethiopia protested against the government.

Many towns across Oromo region of Ethiopia are also protesting.

The country has become ungovernable for TPLF but there seems to be intransigence to accept an apparent reality that Ethiopia would never be the same again for TPLF without major political changes that could address people’s demand.

A recently released opposition leader, Merera Gudina, is calling for dialogue for the sake of national reconciliation but the focus of the government is to gain control again through extensive repression.

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