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Ethiopian PM optimistic about peace in Dembidollo Wollega region

A year after 17 female students of Dembidollo University were abducted, Ethiopian PM optimist about peace in the region

Dembidollo _ Abiy Ahmed
Abiy Ahmed and his spouse, Zenash Tayachew, arriving in Dembidollo (Photo : OPM)

February 14, 2021

It has been well over a year now since 17 female students of Dembidollo University were abducted. Their whereabouts are still unclear.

There has also been an armed activity from the radial ethnic Oromo Nationalist organization — Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) — in the region especially since Abiy Ahmed to office as prime minister of Ethiopia in April 2018 to the point that the Federal government had to deploy members of the Defense Force to the region. 

The Oromo regional government has been claiming that it has been fighting what it calls OLF -Shane (an armed wing of the OLF) although the assertion met with skepticism from activists and some politicians in the opposition quarter. 

On Tuesday, Abiy Ahmed, along with other senior government officials including his deputy Demeke Mekonnen, visited Dembidollo to launch a road infrastructure project. From the video aired by state media, there was a tight security arrangement for it. 

And he seems to think that the work to restore peace in the region is a success. “Our stabilization efforts have been successful,” he wrote on his social media page after his visit. 

However, his optimism was a cautious one in that he noted the need for continuity to guard what he called “peace.” 

He said “Today, I’m quite pleased to have been among the peace loving people of Dembidolo in Qellem Wellega where we launched the 50km Dembidolo- Gambela road project. Qellem Wollega remains one of the high potential growth corridors in the country. By being guardians of our collective peace, we can realize the productive potential of this area together.” 

Wollega is one of the regions where ethnic Amhara subsistence farming communities have been targeted for massacres. In the Gulisso  area of the region, for example, several dozens of ethnic Amharas were massacred in November 2020 in what was believed to be an orchestrated massacre. 

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