Lammii Beenyaa | March 12, 2018
This small market town, Moyale, is split between Ethiopia and Kenya, the larger portion is in Ethiopia and the smaller is in Kenya, Marsabit County. The Ethiopian Government deliberately split the town and buried a ‘time bomb’ by giving the western part to Oromia and the eastern part to Somali Region.
Moyale had been the ‘land of dispute’ partly because of her geographical importance of business and also for political activities between Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and the Ethiopian Defense Force (EDF). Tensions rose in the Kenyan side of Moyale in early 1999, after an Imam was shot dead during an Ethiopian raid across the Ethiopian-Kenyan border in pursuit of rebels of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). The Kenyan residents of the town, held demonstrations condemning the action, which they attributed to Ethiopian security men who believed he was a sympathizer of the OLF.
In July 2012, Moyale town saw a four day clashes between Borana and Garri over a longstanding land dispute which was instigated by the Ethiopian Defense Force. The fighting left 18 dead and more than 20,000 people fled across the border to Kenya. The Ethiopian government sugarcoated the cause of the conflict as it was exacerbated by drought conditions.
Since then, mistrust between Borana and Garri leave the hottest town into ‘No war, no peace’ mood until December 2016 when an organized and militarized Liyu Police started raiding Oromia. The Ethiopian Defense Force, who deliberately wanted to destabilize the border rubberstamped Liyu Police for its drastic assaults on Borana community while granting the Garri to arm themselves. And also they had been attempting the Borana to submit by improvising them but failed as Borana worked hard to overcome the challenges. Now, Borana is targeted by three forces: The Ethiopian Defense Forces, Liyu Police and the Garri.
Between September 6-8, 2017 Liyu Police backed by the Ethiopian Defense Force raided the Chamuqi Districts of Moyale and its environs killing as many as 30 and injuring many more. The Somali Regional State had an illegal project in Chamuqi District which is under administration of Oromia and waiving their flag triggered anger to local Borana Militias known as Tabaqa (the guard.) After seeing Liyyu Police loot their cattle, rape their women and kill their men in front of the military, the Tabaqas come to understand that the Ethiopian Military couldn’t be a guarantee for their life and Borana as whole and rather concluded them as part of those who are instigating conflict and repeated incidents both in the past and present and refused to cooperate with Ethiopian Military to hunt OLF forces.
On 8th March, 2018 night OLF fighters sneaked to Ethiopia crossing the borders and attacked the Ethipian army in Hidi Lola locality. On 9th March, 2018 the desperate Ethiopian Defense Force 44th Division 5th regiment summoned the Tabaqas to report about the new development in which none of them appeared obeying the call, but the head Oromia police in Moyale participated the meeting which was conducted in the Military camp. On the same day, the military regiment composed of 1000 personnel was dispatched to hunt OLF fighters who attacked their military base and asked Oromia Police to join them. Some members of the Oromia Police refused to do so claiming that only Command Post is in charge to oversee and take actions in such issues. This further angered the military regiments and Agazis were infuriated. Thus, the desperate military started shooting indiscriminately on 10th March, 2018 at approximately 11:00 which left with as many as 15 dead and 12 injuries. Among those killed is a school principal named Temam Negesso, aged 34 and also people from ethnic Gurage, Gedo, Walayita, Burji and Amhara.
Who Is Responsible For This Mayhem?
Some critics suggest that the Military attacked civilians to revenge on the previous day OLF attack and OLF shouldn’t have aired about it on its radio. It is true that Agazi are infuriated by the OLF attack but this doesn’t justify the reason why civilians are targeted in daylight. The Ethiopian Military have been actively targeting civilians and conducting mass killing for no reason across the whole country. The same military that have mercilessly killed our innocent people in Moyale yesterday killed over 700 Irreecha festival goers on 2nd October, 2016. This force killed over 10 and injured many on 12th October, 2017 in Ambo. This force killed more than 15 civilians and injured on 15th December 2017, in Chelenko and repeated its animalistic mission by killing more than 32 on 18th December, 2017 in Hawwi Gudina. This killing agent also went to northern part of the country and mercilessly killed more than 15 in Woldiya at the religious Epiphany celebration on 20th January, 2018. Killing had been the sole duty of the Ethiopian Military and remained to be so until the establishments which empowered them to kill civilians was overthrown and replaced by new establishment.
The Moyale mass killings of March 10, 2018 was orchestrated by the Military and they should be held responsible for this genocide. The statement by command post secretariat who oversee the state of emergency that say ‘…the military regiment dispatched to intercept an OLF unit from sneaking in to the country is misled by erroneous information,’ is totally false. Those who participated in the mass killings should be held responsible to serve justice for the victims.
Victory to Oromo People!