Ethiopians demand Federal government to protect civilians as the situation in Jijiga and other parts of Ethio-Somali region worsens.
At least 29 people are reported dead due to the violence in Jijiga since Friday, according to a report by Voice of America (VOA) and the authorities in Ethio-Somali region blame the Federal government for the killings.
“A senior official with the region’s Somali People’s Democratic Party, Khadar Abdi Ismail, tells VOA the federal forces are responsible for the deaths.”
The source added that “Fighting broke out Friday after an apparent rift between local authorities and the central Ethiopian government.” But did not report about how it all started.
A statement issued by Tigray regional state on Saturday also blamed the Federal government “for using force to resolve the situation in Jijiga”
What is known is that Federal government forces were deployed to the Ethio-Somali region following the killings of civilians and the killings seem to have an ethnic cleansing motive as ethnic Amhara and ethnic Oromo’s are selectively targeted.
The region’s special force, which is duty bound to protect law and order in the region, was reportedly facilitating for organized youth in the region to attack civilians, loot shops and burn churches Ethiopian Orthodox Churches and Protestant churches in the region. Unconfirmed social media reports say commander of Somali Region Liyu police (special paratroopers) is in custody. The region’s president was also reportedly in custody but government media did not report about it. The president is implicated in human rights violations and a seemingly ethnic cleansing situation in the region and is likely to be removed from his position, at least.
BBC Amharic service cited Ethiopian Orthodox Church Jijiga region diocese head Liqe Kahnat Eyob Wondimu to report that 7 Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Churches are burned and 7 priests are killed which seem to suggest the attack is not just ethnic-based but also based on religion. And of the churches burned is Holy Covenant Kidane Mihret Menbere Tsebaot church which was built at a cost of 7 million birr and inaugurated recently. Three people were killed in the church and their bodies were burned.
The region’s Evangelical Church Unity Head, Pastor Gashaw Gebreyohannes, is also cited as saying nearly 10 churches are looted and burned.
Ethiopian State Media (EBC) cited Dire Dawa City Administration to report that nine people are killed in Kebele 09 region of Dire Dawa city of which four of them were children. The report added that several houses were burned, property looted and that police is working to restore order in the city. There are still forces, says EBC report, working to instigate further violence in the region. And police claims that it has not yet established the cause for the violence.
Ethiopian Human Rights Commission has called on the government today to protect Human rights in the region as there is, claims the commission, grave human rights violation in the region.
Hundreds of Ethiopians demonstrated today near government media office in the capital that egregious human rights violation in Ethio-Somali region is not given adequate media coverage and they also called on the Federal government to protect Ethiopians in the region. “Ethiopians have the right to live in the region and should not be attacked on the basis of their ethnicity or religion.”
Join the conversation. Like borkena on Facebook and get Ethiopian News updates regularly. As well, you may get Ethiopia News by following us on twitter @zborkena