Urgent appeal to stop the Invasion of Oromia and Benishangul-Gumuz regional States by Eritrean Forces.
Open Letter to His Excellency Antony Blinken,
Secretary of State, United States
2201 C Street N.W.
Washington, DC 20520
Dear Secretary Blinken:
We, members of the Oromia Global Forum – a global alliance of 45 Oromo civic, professional, faith-based organizations, and scholars – would like to bring to your attention the invasion of Oromia by Eritrean soldiers, in a serious escalation of the civil war in Ethiopia by Abiy’s government. We are seriously concerned that the invading armies of Ethiopia and Eritrea will cause yet another human tragedy in Oromia at a similar or even larger scale than they caused in Tigray.
As you know, an untold number of people have been killed and victimized due to the war in Tigray, exposing over five million people to a severe risk of famine. We believe that millions of people may suffer cruel and slow death by starvation if the international community does not immediately take drastic measures to provide a safe passage for humanitarian aid in Tigray. Consequently, we wholeheartedly support your administration’s actions and the Senate and House resolutions calling for immediate withdrawal of Eritrean forces from Tigray and the rest of Ethiopia, the call for an immediate ceasefire and free access to humanitarian aid for Tigray.
Unfortunately, as the international community is focusing on the crisis in Tigray, Abiy Ahmed’s regime is expanding the war into Oromia by deploying – reportedly – more than 30, 000 Eritrean troops and Amhara militias. It has been reported before that some Eritrean forces are already in Oromia doing what they have become famous for – killing, looting, and destabilizing communities. Since June 1, 2021, two additional divisions of Eritrean forces, the 37th and 58th divisions – consisting of more than 30, 000 troops – are being deployed in multiple directions to the Northern, Western, Eastern, Central Oromia, and Benishangul-Gumuz regions. Isaias’s expansion of the war into Oromia and Benishangul makes his ambition of controlling Ethiopia abundantly clear, disproving the argument that The TPLF provoked Eritrea to get involved in the war in Tigray.
Oromia is the largest regional state in Ethiopia about ten times larger than Tigray Regional State in geographical area and population, contributing about 60% to Ethiopia’s economy. The escalation of conflicts in Oromia and the foray of Eritrean mercenaries, known for their brutality, deep into Oromia will create a greater human tragedy, potentially displacing millions of people, exposing them to starvation.
Dear Mr. Secretary,
We are proud Americans who have personally experienced the agonies of war and displacement, are taking action to stop the devastating wars in Ethiopia. We applaud your leadership as America’s chief diplomat as you push for a peaceful and just resolution of the conflict in Tigray. We appeal to your good office to apply the necessary political, economic, and diplomatic pressures for the withdrawal of Eritrean mercenaries and the Amhara militia from Oromia immediately before a severe tragedy befalls millions of people. Unless the world community, led by your good office, takes prompt action the Horn of Africa will soon sink into chaos, humanitarian catastrophe and famine of biblical proportion aided by the pandemic that is already raging in the region out of control.
Finally, we earnestly believe that as America’s top diplomat and principal voice on international issues, you have a unique position and responsibility to alleviate the incredible human sufferings in Ethiopia. We sincerely thank you for your interest in the wellbeing of all the people of Ethiopia.
cc. Mr. António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General
cc. Mr. Jeffrey Feltman, US Special Envoy to the Horn of Africa
cc: Senator Christopher Andrew Coons