March 22, 2018
As charitable organizations in Kenya are fearing an even more influx of refugees following a massacre in Moyale, the regime in Ethiopia is downplaying it.
In a televised statement issued on yesterday, the secretariat of the Command Post, Siraj Fergessa, not only rejects the statements of organizations that deal with refugees in Kenya who appeared to anticipate more refugee influx due to the situation in Ethiopia but also claims that “majority” of those who crossed the border to Kenya are returning. He did not give a specific figure. He also claimed that the situation in Moyale Ethiopia is restored to calm.
Soon after the Moyale massacre on March 10, the regime in Ethiopia issued a statement claiming that members of the defense force were misled with erroneous intelligence to commit the massacre.
What the residents of Moyale Ethiopia and authorities believe is quite opposite to the Command Post’s position. They point to the victims of the attack, including a school principal, and the circumstances under which they were killed to reject government claim that the killing was a “mistake.” It is to be remembered that the Command Post made arrested regional authorities like Taye Dendea over their remarks that the massacre was not a “mistake”
World Food Program spokesperson in Keya disclosed last week that nearly 10,000 Ethiopians crossed the border to Kenya and the number is expected to climb as calm is not restored in the country.
The Command Post slammed charitable organizations in Kenya for “exaggerating” the crisis “for their own motives.” Dina Mufti, Ethiopian Ambassador to Kenya, is also cited by a pro-regime media outlet, Fana, as saying that it is difficult to tell the exact figure of Ethiopians who crossed to Kenya but some entities exaggerate the number out of a political and economic motive in the situation.
Yesterday, the Command Post made another claim when it stated that those who fled to Kenya were misled by Oromo Liberation Front, a rebel group operating from parts of Kenya and also with alleged base in Eritrea. Government is making it sound as if Ethiopians in Moyale were tricked into crossing the border with Kenya only to become refugees. The psychological impact of the massacre in terms of creating a well-founded fear, in line with the norms of international legal instruments that govern refugee situation, and the fact that the crisis is created by government “mistake” is overlooked or ignored.
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