Oromo students trying to end TPLF’s land grab widen their protests; parents & residents throughout region involved; student casualty stands at 15; many injured & over 500 imprisoned by int’l Human Rights Day, Dec 10!

11 Dec

“The protest is not as usual, they [the students] are not backing away…They are not willing to stop until the demands are met…High-school and university students from across Ethiopia’s most-populous region are protesting to demand the government shelve [the Addis Abeba Master Plan], writes Bloombergquoting Bekele Nega’a, General Secretary of the Oromo Federalist Congress.



By Keffyalew Gebremedhin –

The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

This is Round Two of Protests by Oromo high school and university students. Therefore, it is not the first time for innocent Oromo students bloods being shed by criminal gangs in power.

The students are protesting land grab, the dislocation and dispossession of their parents, families and neighbors. In the name of law and order, the TPLF, the most hated ethnic minority regime in power ever, is killing innocent Ethiopians, who are saying no to its land robbery and efforts to build a quasi-occupation/apartheid system in the country.

The corrupt TPLF regime accused the students it assassinated, most of them at Ambo University, of burglary and bank robbery. Recall that the same charges were assigned to those killed in the 2005 election, protesting election stealing.

In April/May 2014, Round One of Oromo protests, an estimated 40 to 110 students were shot, protesting land grab by members of the TPLF ethnic minority regime, whose members have enriched themselves forcibly dislocating farmers and seizing their lands in and around Addis Abeba.

These lands became gold mines, which have enriched the TPLF senior officials and members who sold the lands in pieces for several tens of thousands of Ethiopian birr. As occupation force, whose political objective is Tigrean dominance over the rest of Ethiopia, started building their villas, high rise buildings, businesses and living in exclusive fenced villages in, for instance, in Bole – an entirely Tigrean village, as in Mekelle – which over there the average and poor Tigreans derisively call “apartheid village.”

What has been little discussed is that, in the last two to three years, senior TPLF officials within the cabinet and the entire security system, manned by Tigreans members of the TPLF, started selling their villas in the apartheid village in Mekele for fortune and began accumulating portfolios in Addis Abeba, Awassa, Bahir Dar, etc.

Some attribute this to fear of TPLF members of their own kinsmen, who like the Ethiopian people feel betrayed by the Front’s strongmen, such as the architect of land grab Abay Tsehaye, Debretsion Gebremichael and others in the intelligence, etc. Others see it in Addis Abeba becoming a Tigrean casino. Because this, all TPLF members are trying to get a piece of the action – buying properties there. This is happening because the TPLF has whipped up property values, such as land and homes.

The political and formal nature of this TPLF goal is an official policy can be seen from the fact that even the state-owned Development Bank of Ethiopia (DBE), which since 1991 has been under TPLF control and leadership, as are all state institutions, started long ago giving out loans exclusively to civilian and military officials of Tigrean-origin at the most favorable interest rates and longer terms. There also sprouted some TPLF-owned Tigrean banks that started pushing to the limits, what the state bank has been doing.

Today, for reasons stated above, in Ethiopia a Tigrean or a Turk is more likely to get licenses, loans, lands to set up factories than any other Ethiopian.

In Ethiopia, the TPLF people half-jokingly and sense of uninhibited pride amongst themselves claim inheriting the ancient Roman practice and tradition of the right of citizenship and liberty they enjoy compared to other Ethiopians – as the Apostle Paul invoked in Acts 22: 25-26 during his tribulation and beatings for being Christian:

    “25 And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said unto the centurion that stood by, Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned? 26 When the centurion heard that, he went and told the chief captain, saying, Take heed what thou doest: for this man is a Roman.”

Today, a Tigrean can walk the streets of Ethiopia free and feared because of his TPLF connection. A Tigrean can have anyone arrested, since the single-party unaccountable system and the ethnic minority mentality operates accepting their own as safe to them. A Tigrean and a non-Tigrean can commit a crime. The likelihood is that the non-Tigrean can remain in prison longer, while the other one could go free the same day! The situation could even take worse turn, if the other guy is Oromo by ethnicity.

In spite of this, however, Tigreans do not feel real sense of security. For instance, last August Tirfu Kidanemariam, the spouse of Tigrean regional chief Abay Woldu, and Daniel Assefa, the brother of the TPLF security chief Getachew Assefa, were at an exclusively Tigrean gathering at the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington D.C. The question that dominated their ethnic conclave and addressed to the visiting TPLF senior officials was:

    “Why do other Ethiopians hate us, Tigreans?” In response, the visiting TPLF officials tried to exhort the worried Tigreans by implicitly borrowing the ideas of the Apostle Paul, when they said,

“ባለን ቦታና ሚና ይበልጥ እየተከበርን እንገኛለን”

    ብለዋል! “የሚጠሉን ከሕወሃት ያፈነገጡ ግለሰቦች ናቸው” በማለት ያላቸውን ‘ግንዛቤ’ ለትግራውያኑ ተሰብሳቢዎች አካፍለዋል። TRANSLATION: “We are being respected on account of the powers we exercise and the place we hold in society.”

In the current Oromo uprising, Phase II, The TPLF speaks not directly to the protestors, but through Oromo region officials it has installed. This is exactly what the apartheid leaders used to do in South Africa, speaking through its bantustan handiworks such as Buthelezi. Through these muppets, the TPLF is accusing the Oromo students protesting its land grab of being manipulated by “anti-peace elements” – not ‘terrorists’ this time for change. It has sent Oromo ministers in different directions, as it had done in Phase I of the Ambo University struggle against the regime.

Regional chief Muktar Kedir today gave warning to all anti-peace forces to immediately desist from intensifying their activities. This is sign that the TPLF is further to intensify its massacre of Oromo students, parents and residents that increasingly are demanding to see the back of the regime.

The power and resource greedy unaccountable TPLF officials must realize that bloodshed route they seem to choose is the end of their road!

by Dan Joseph, Salem Solomon, VOA

Clashes between police and protesters in Ethiopia’s Oromia region have left several people dead, according to officials and regional opposition leaders.

Oromia has seen three weeks of protests over a government plan to integrate parts of the region with the capital, Addis Ababa. Critics say the plan will undermine local rule and cause local farmers to lose their land.

Witnesses say police have used force to contain or shut down protests, including one that took place Thursday in the town of Bako.

“Today in Bako city when the students came out to protest, people joined them and they started firing live rounds and hit some students,” a witness told VOA’s Horn of Africa Service. There was no word on whether anyone was killed.

Bloomberg news quotes a prominent opposition leader, Bekele Nega, as saying police have killed 10 students taking part in the ongoing protests.

Ethiopia’s communications minister, Getachew Reda, put the number of dead at four, and said security forces have been exercising restraint in the face of violence.
Widening protests

Oromia is one of Ethiopia’s nine ethnically-based states and holds the largest population at more than 27 million.

The protests started on November 20 in the Western Oromo region cities of Ambo, Ginchi and Western Welega, and they have since spread.

The tactics used to clamp down on these protests are reminiscent of the 2014 protests in the Oromia towns of Ambo, Nekemte and Jimma, according to Human Rights Watch, where security forces fired live rounds and beat people who were protesting peacefully.

Speaking to journalists in Ethiopia a few days ago, the police commissioner of the Oromia region, Ibrahim Hajj, blamed misinformation and propaganda for fueling hostilities among some in the Oromo community.

“Today the people are ensuring the rights and are beneficiaries in all sectors including, social, economic sectors. But there are some who are trying to make it seem as if the rights of the people have been violated and they take advantage of this situation behind the scenes,” he said.

Felix Horne, an Ethiopia and Eritrea researcher for Human Rights Watch, said the spread of the protests started slowly and gained momentum within schools and other educational institutions.

“Initially it was students in primary schools, secondary schools, some university students and now we are seeing farmers, workers beginning to take part in these protests in different ways — staging protests peaceful means, sit-ins to mourn the death of those who’ve lost their lives. So the protests definitely seem to be gaining momentum,” he said.

Horne said that while the government’s development for Addis sparked the protests, they are about much larger issues.

“Ostensibly these protests are about the Addis Ababa Master Plan but clearly the Oromos have been marginalized by successive governments and so it’s kind of an accumulation of different frustrations,” he said. “Throughout Oromia, arbitrary detention is common, mistreatment in detention is common and then Oromos just don’t have a voice in issues that impact them day-to-day.”

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