By Girma Berhanu
July 23, 2020
The mob of young men, carrying machetes, marched into the neighborhood with a list of names and ethnicities of its residents. “This land is Oromo land,” they chanted.
Hundreds were killed during a recent attack on mostly non Oromos in the Oromo region. Thousands were injured and most of the victims are members of the Amhara, Gurage etc. ethnic groups. The reports which just arrived, detail horrible killings, looting and other violence targeting non Oromos. Armed groups of so called Queeroo, according to the reports, carried out these organized attacks against members of other ethnic groups. The attacks were driven by a misguided urge to fully get rid of non-Oromos from the entire region. Schools, hospitals, business centers, places of worship and public facilities were attacked and destroyed, and houses and villages burned down.
While I was writing this analysis, ‘tens of thousands of Ethiopians took to the street in Washington DC and London to protest the ethnic and religious-based killings in the Oromo region of Ethiopia. Carrying Ethiopia’s popular and historical flag, the protesters also called for the demobilization of ethnic-based special forces: the Oromo regional state has trained about thirty rounds of special force recruits, and all the regions have their own special forces. According to local reports, there were instances whereby the local security forces collaborated with the killers. There were also those who watched indifferently when the radical groups unleashed their attacks, including beheading an elderly man in his late 70’s (Borkena July 17, 2020). The latest attack occurred within a few hours in the first week of July. From our knowledge of the distribution of arms to the group (mostly machetes) and to the local police forces (mostly firearms), we can derive a general hypothesis on the objectives of the coordinators of the atrocity. Corroboratively, the objective of the group was to kill as many Amharas and members of other ethnic groups as possible within short time. Indeed, much evidence confirms that traditional weapons, firearms, grenades and bullets were not used at random but in a deliberately targeted and efficient manner. The madness of the radicalised ethnocentric Oromo “nationalists”, under OLF ideology, has lately manifested itself not only in the
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