Ethiopian Prime minister says death toll from recent massacre 86

“So as to ensure peace and security, government will take a measured action,” Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed making a televised statement. Photo : EBC

November 3, 2019

Amid increasing criticism over inaction of his government to hold key figures behind recent massacre in Ethiopia since last week accountable, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed made a televised speech on Sunday.

He still describes the tragedy as “conflict” – something that continues to anger Ethiopians. For the latter, it is a pure massacre perpetrated by radicalized ethnic Oromo youth nationalists, known locally as qeerroo.

The massacre started on the night of October 22 in several towns in Oromo region of Ethiopia after media entrepreneur and activist Jawar Mohammed wrote a facebook message accusing government of removing his security details which he claimed was intended to endanger his life.

Prime Minister Abiy was not explicit about his entities that are responsible for the attack. He left it murky saying as “the works of those who would like to take us two step back whenever we make a step forward.”

Apart from calling the incident that has shocked Ethiopia and beyond as “conflict,” Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came up with ethnic background of the victims. And the purpose, he claims, is to depict that the mayhem has affected many ethic communities.

His number, which is not independently verified, makes ethnic Oromos appear as largest number of the victims. He went to paint the figure as 50 Oromos, 20 Amharas, 8 Gamo, 2 Silte, 1 Guraghe, 2 Hadya, 1 Argoba and the ethic identity of one victim is not established – he said. Of course, it is unclear how his security apparatus identified the remaining and why the identity of one victims is not identified. 4 of the victims of women. 10 were killed during clash with law enforcement bodies, according to Abiy. It is, however, known that Ethiopian government deployed members of the defense force in several towns to as to control the situation. The remaining were killed as a result of “clash between different groups,” as Abiy put it.

For critical Ethiopians, the number he came up with is intended to overwrite the story that radicalized ethnic Oromo youth, qeerroo, unleashed inhuman and widespread indiscriminate massacres by closing roads. Majority of Ethiopians see the latest massacre as an act of ethnic cleansing on the part of radicalized ethnic Oromo nationalists.

Senior members of his government, including president Sahle-Work Zewde, spoke out sternly saying that a ” red line ” is crossed and that those who are behind the attack need to be held responsible. The prime minister speech lacks clarity if his government is going after catalyst activists like Jawar Mohammed, who is believed to be, in the eyes of Ethiopians, to ensure that rule of law is enforced.

His speech is featured below.

Video : embedded from state media, Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation (EBC) YouTube channel
Cover photo : screenshot from video

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