Residents of Moyale say the massacre was deliberate and orchestrated
At least nine civilians were killed and more than dozens wounded when the Agazi forces opened fire on civilians in Borena district, Moyale town which is located along Ethio-Kenya border in Southern Ethiopia.
Other media outlets, like Oromia Media Network whose executive director, Jawar Mohammed, was briefly blocked on Facebook apparently for unspecified reasons reported thirteen deaths and more than twenty-five wounded.
Head of Oromo regional State Communication, Addisu Arega, confirmed that nine people are killed and 12 wounded, and perpetrators of the attack are reportedly in custody. Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO) a party that is running the regional government expressed condolences to the victims.
One of the victims who was a school principal in the town is identified as Temamo Nagessa, according to social media citizen report.
Horrifying images of dead bodies from the Moyale massacre was circulating in social media.
The Command Post, the body that is overseeing the state of emergency, admitted the death of civilians but claimed that the victims were “mistaken” for armed rebels a claim that residents of Moyale town dismiss outrightly. Deployment of forces to the town was meant to, according to Federal government authorities, engage armed rebels of Oromo Liberation Front who reportedly broke into the town. For residents, Command Post narrative on the Moyale massacre is untrue and claim that the killing was deliberate and orchestrated.
Last week, at least five people were killed in Wollega region of Western Ethiopia amid three days of stay at home strike called to oppose the controversial state of emergency decree.
When United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited Ethiopia this week, he remarked to the Ethiopian government that security forces should act with discipline and advised to cut the state of emergency short.
When the executives of the ruling party meeting tomorrow, the massacre in Moyale could further complicate relation with the dominant party in the ruling coalition, TPLF, which is behind the Command Post as it has still firm control over the security, intelligence, and the army.
After completing executive meeting in December 2017, the government admitted that one of its failures was a restriction of the democratic space in the country and pledged to broaden the “Democratic space” in the country in the interest of national reconciliation. Implicit in the statement was that the protest across the country has something to do with repression. The pledge to “broaden the democratic space” was accepted by many as a step in the right direction.
However, after the martial law, the Command Post developed a view that the movement across the country manifests attributes of “color revolution” and aims to control government power- an assertion that the Command Post didn’t elaborate. Framing the movement in light of “colour revolution,” according to analysts, is a readiness to intensify repressive measures against the popular movement.
In fact, regime authorities are even cracking down on zone level leadership of OPDO on alleged grounds that they are collaborating with the youth movement, Qeerro, in the region.
All these coupled with possibly another controversial decision from the executive meeting tomorrow, there are fears that it could trigger deadly confrontation with TPLF and/or Command Post.
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