Empire strikes back: catastrophic consequences

Empire strikes back: catastrophic consequences.

Oromia Support Group (OSG) | RELEASE REPORT 54 January 2021

The rule of law continues to unravel in Ethiopia while it undertakes a vengeful attack on
Tigray. Thousands are dying in the region and helpless Eritrean refugees are exposed to the
cooperating forces of Eritrea.

Despite a media and communications blackout, information from Oromia Region shows that government forces, especially the Oromia Special Forces operating from military command posts in West and South Oromia, are methodically eliminating all perceived opposition. Although only a small fraction of human rights abuses are exposed for scrutiny, at least 1,342 killings of civilians have now been recorded by OSG, beginning within one month after the return of the OLF to the country in September 2018.

Most killings (837) occurred in 2020. Opposition to the government’s plan, for a united Ethiopia with limitations to the present federal structure, has been met with lethal force not only in Tigray but in Amhara Region (100 Qimant killed in 2019) and in the Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Region (150 Sidama killed in 2019, 58 Walaita killed in 2020) as well as in Oromia, where the majority of deaths, outside Tigray, have occurred. Killings are taking place across Oromia but are especially numerous in the West, in particular Qellem in SW Wallega. It is getting worse. Out of 442 killed in Western Oromia, 340 died in 2020. This figure includes 60 Amhara settlers killed by government forces in Guliso, W Wallega, on 1 November, in an attempt to vilify the Oromo Liberation Army. Government claims that OLA members were responsible for the massacre were widely echoed by progovernment media and foreign media which took their lead.

Court orders for release of detainees are being ignored and judges imprisoned. Of sinister significance, and reminiscent of the Red Terror era, civilians suspected of supporting Qeerroo/Qarree or the OLF, are being taken from prison by soldiers and summarily executed; their bodies left in the bush.

Just as in 1992/3, when the OLF was made illegal, persecution of Oromo has now extended beyond activists, politicians and supporters. Prominent Oromo business people and those working for development NGOs are now being targeted too.

268 extra-judicial killings are described in the attached Report 54.

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