Ethiopian PM calls for support to deal with extremists

We have identified “merchants of conflict” and we are destroying their network, said Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed

Ethiopian PM _
Photo : File/ From EBC video

July 17, 2020

Weeks after hundreds of Ethiopians were savagely massacred (some were beheaded) in the Oromo region of Ethiopia, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed issued a statement on Friday calling for support from Ethiopians to foil the conspiracy of what he called “merchants of conflict”

Mr. Abiy used the phrase to denote a group of people that convey hate messages to incite ethnic-based violence and the destruction of the properties of Ethiopians (he did not say it but the message is usually conveyed under the cover of ethnic Oromo nationalism).

He said that the only solution is to face those who are behind the attacks, not to retreat or flee.

“The situation whereby our peace-loving and hard-working people get killed and their properties destroyed will never continue. ‘Merchants of Conflict’ will never stay at ease while those who want to live together and work relentlessly to prosper hurts.” 

Those who failed to act to stop the attack will never escape from being held accountable for their actions, he said in his messages.

Hundreds of members of the administrative structure in the Oromo region of Ethiopia indirectly took part in the killings of hundreds of Ethiopians and destructions of property by not taking action to stop the mob that…

“On the part of the government, we are determined than ever before to investigate the matter at different levels and take the necessary legal measures to enforce the rule of law,” he said.

While expressing commitment to help those who were targeted in the attack, he pleaded for Ethiopians to join hands to help those hurt in the attack.

So far, about five thousand people are arrested in the Oromo region in connection with the brutal attacks following the assassination of Hachalu Hundesa since June 29.

Local reports, including from state-owned media, indicate that 40 district administrations in the Oromo region have experienced an attack mostly on non-ethnic Oromos and Orthodox Christians within less than 24 hours after the killing of Hachalu.

Many of the victims were attacked with the belief that they do not belong there. Cannibalistic attributes were observed in some of the killings as the bodies of the victims were butchered in cities like, for example, Arsi Negele where a 75 years old man was dragged in the streets and then chopped.  It happened in the name of the “Oromo revolution,” and the mob considered it as a sort of revolutionary character to kill savagely even the elderly.

It is not uncommon to read outrageous messages from the radical ethnic Oromo nationalists who  feel betrayed by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who is himself an ethnic Oromo, and they aspire to give him a violent death and hang him upside down. 

There have also been calls to burn the houses and businesses of “neftegna.”  

Some Ethiopians living in the Diaspora have archived most of the hate video messages and tweets with the aim to hold them legally accountable in their country of residence. 

Observers say the extent of the damage in the Oromo region of Ethiopia could have been worse had there not been internet shutdown in the country for a few weeks following the killing of Hachalu. 

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