The “Oromia Special Police”, another Emerging ‘Janjaweed Militia’ in the Horn

Getu Saketa Roro, Finfinne/Oromia

Janjaweed MilitiaWho are the Janjaweed? The Government of Sudan made this name official for the first time in 2004. The origin of the word ‘Janjaweed’ is arguably referred to two Arabic terms namely ‘Jinn’ and ‘ajawid’, which respectively means ‘demon’ and ‘horses’, and translated into English as ‘devils on horseback’. In reality, the militiamen use both horse and camels for fighting. It is true that, Janjaweed is the most brutal militia force ever witnessed in the recent history. The Al Bashir government created this militia as a ‘last solution’ to silence the liberation movement of the Darfur people. It is difficult to name all sufferings the Darfur people have sustained in the hand of the Janjaweed militia. Put differently, the Janjaweed has maneuvered every possible miseries in order to paralyze the Darfur people both physically and psychologically. In a legal term, what have been done to the Darfurians was simply a ‘Genocide’. Darfur, once a green and fertile land, was destructed and converted into war zone. The Darfur people, once a hardworking, civilized and respectful race, were disgraced and forced to lead a destitute life.

Shockingly, some of the frontline commanders in the Militia were descended from Darfur family, who have been abducted during their childhood and grown up brainwashed with hatred and prejudice about their own people. That is, Al Bashir employed a barbaric tactic of attacking the Darfurians bytheir fellow children. He played Darfurians against one another, and thought himself safe forever. What a foolishness! In doing so and so forth, Omar Al Bashir’s ultimate goal was to suppress the Darfur people’s quest for Self-determination and maintain hegemony of Arabs. Nevertheless, the Darfur people did not vanish nor their struggle for independence never stop as has been aspired by Al Bashir. To the reverse, we all know what happened to Omar Al Bashir and its government at the end of the day. This all shows how bitter TRUTH is and that no force on earth subdues it! I invite you two best movies titled ‘DARFUR’ and ‘The Devil Came on Horseback’ (documentary), which to some extent depict the major scenes of atrocities faced by the Darfur people.

Coming to the so called, “Oromia Special Police (OSP)”, their emergence and operation is almost a replica of that of the Janjaweed. This force has been committing atrocities against innocent civilians allover Oromia since its massive deployment six months ago. Especially, the Oromo people in the Western, Central and Southern zones are facing untold brutalities by this force in the name of fighting against the Oromo Liberation Army(OLA), the OLF militarywinguntil recently.

This force has been disoriented and ill trained to be anti-Oromo nationalism. They were brainwashed with a wrong discourse that ‘the Oromo Nationalism is subversive and shall always remain subservient to the Ethiopian value (Habesha’s hegemony)’. The force have been endowed with an unlimited discretion to apply any means necessary and conduct any brutality as long as it silences years of Oromo peoples quest for the right to self-determination spearheaded by the OLF. Moreover, teenagers are deliberately recruited to the force and their immaturityis taken advantage by the government to easily manipulate them for its deceitful as well as divide and conquer policy, which it deems discourage the Oromo peoples’ unity and solidarity, as one and strong nation, towards its liberation.

The most dismaying thing about the incumbent “PP Led Government of Ethiopia” is its utter failure to learn from its predecessor, TPLF led EPRDF. One thing must be clear here. Had it been for force or for whatever deceitful tactic, WOYANE-led EPRDF could have succeeded long ago in its bitter military campaigns, forcible disappearances, extra-judicial killings and arrests as well as multimillion investments meant to dismantle OLF and ONLF in the past 25 years. Simply put, all efforts made by Woyane were a labor lost. These are fresh memories and stories that almost all of us witnessed live.

Again, had it been ever possible for an authoritarian government’s mighty force to defeat a popular force fighting for a genuine cause, the Eritrean Peoples Liberation Front (EPLF) could never have survived DERG’s repressive and brutal operations backed by total annihilation policy (TAP). All military campaigns that had been conducted by Derg against EPLF and all other liberation movements including OLF throughout 17 years of its reign were left in vain. Only unbearable sufferings against barehanded and innocent civilians were all what Derg has achieved at the end of the day. Derg hastened its demise by such a misguided and erroneous tactic of dooming a popular grievance by force.

Here is my advice to President Shimelis Abdisa and PM Abiy Ahmed, who are in direct commandership of OSP and National Defense Force respectively:-

  • Stop soon the military operations you are running throughout Oromia especially in the Western, Central and Southern parts of the region!
  • You must show a sense of remorse for being behind such a troubling situation at this critical moment in history where the world is concerting in a solidarity in the fight against COVID-19, which happens to be a common enemy of humankind.
  • You have to get back from battlefield to roundtable discussion. Make genuine, heartfelt and win-win based negotiations with a spirit of goodwill and tolerance.

I am hopeful that these recommendations would be helpful to bring about lasting peace whereby all could be a winner.

Otherwise, history keeps on repeating itself. You will be doomed to harvest a venomous seed you insist on sowing. Victory, at the end of the day, lies in the hand of patriots bravely fighting for the true cause! No doubt, those committing atrocities and massive human rights violations against innocent civilians eventually fall in the hand of people they are victimizing. No blood spilling and tear shedding would be left in vain. We, the living and the generation to come, never ever forget atrocities of the past and the present you are perpetrating against our innocent people. Only a fool dares to live in peace disturbing others peace!

Getu Saketa Roro
Finfinne/Oromia

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