South Sudan Gunmen Kill 141 Ethiopians in Cross-Border Raid; Ethiopia Harvests Fruits of Ethnic Conflict Poison TPLF Has Sown

16 Apr

By Keffyalew Gebremedhin; The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)
 

Members of the Murle ethnic group from South Sudan killed as many as 141 Ethiopian civilians in a cross-border raid in Gambella state, according to news report by Bloomberg, the TPLF spokesperson Getachew Reda and minister of federal affairs Kasa Tekleberhan acknowledging.

The minister also explained that the South Sudanese attackers had also kidnapped 36 children, according to Kassa. He also reported that discussion is underway with South Sudanese Government.

Gambella is not new to conflicts, more so since the arrival of the TPLF on the national political scene in 1991. The TPLF rulers have used conflicts as a political tool to weaken everyone through its ethnic policy of divide and conquer strategy.

Only in mid-September 2014, a press release by the Gambella Nilotes United Movement/Army condemned “the massacre of Mezenger tribe which is currently carried out jointly by the federal police forces” and settlers in Metti town Godere Zone of the Gambella region that allied with the TPLF forces. Several hundred Mezengers were reportedly killed.

In late January 2016, multiple sources told Sudan Tribune confirming that dozens of people have been killed on both sides and many more wounded when members of Nuer and Anyuak, the two ethnic groups which constitute the first and second largest, respectively, in Gambella region, clashed in the outskirts of the regional capital, Gambella, and spread to the center of the town.

On February 5, 2016, Nyamilepedia reported “Armed youth groups from Anyuak community from Gok Woreda of Gambella region stormed Pinyudu Refugees Camp – inhabited by Nuer refugees – in a rampant killing of unarmed Nuer refugees.”

Standing at the heart of this conflict between the two major ethnic groups in Gambella is the TPLF, which has had dream of building the breadbasket for its army and its political and economic organization.

In a breaking news, in January 2016 ESAT television, quoting local sources, had underlined that South Sudanese refugees, supporting the Riek Machar side, had also reportedly participated with weapons provided by the TPLF regime.

Nationalities Day celebrations in Gambella December 2015: Among guests in Gambella were: Omar al Bashir, Riek Machar and a TPLF rep, a ruling party that  has snatched over 70% of the lands and appropriated it to its civilian and military members?

Nationalities Day celebrations in Gambella December 2015: Among guests in Gambella were: Omar al Bashir, Riek Machar and a TPLF rep, a ruling party that has snatched over 70% of the lands and appropriated it to its civilian and military members. My tweets of April 14, A and B, spoke of my concern about Machar’s return, whose side TPLF has been arming, pointed out concerns about the future stability of Ethiopia – pain inflicted by the TPLF

In response to the latest news of killings by Sudanese Nuer of Gambellan Ethiopians, the TPLF spokesperson and the minister of federal affairs have reported that since the attack on citizens, TPLF forces have killed about 60 of the attackers. While the spokesperson has rushed to point out that the attackers are believed to be operating independently of South Sudan’s military or insurgent groups, the minister on the other hand has cautiously said talks have started with the South Sudanese government.

It should be borne in mind that, while Ethiopia has the right to self-defense measures and to respond to the armed attack on its citizens, in accordance with Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, however, it being a country seeking a seat in the UNSC ought to report these repeated incidents of ethnic bloodletting, if not to the Council, at least, to the Office of the Secretary-General forthwith and without let.

To the best of my information this has not happened, as force has taken precedence as always is the case with the TPLF. The fact is that the legal and political actions may have more dividends than the tit for tats, like to recur in future. Legal action could help forestall or prevent any further deterioration of the situation, for instance, eventually making it difficult for state or states to intervene.

Moreover, an implicit understanding of Article 51 is that, since Ethiopia has indicated taking a hot pursuit action, there is an expectation on it as a nation that has taken self-defense action – although against an ethnic group – “to immediately report to the Security Council…”

It should not be lost on all sides, concerted legal and political actions could spare the local people from undue sufferings in the hands of powerful groups, including the Ethiopian state, whose indifference to life and lawlessness knows no bounds.

On his part, a spokesman for South Sudan’s military told Bloomberg that his office is still considering its response to the incident when contacted by phone on Saturday.

South Sudanese opposition leader Riek Machar, who’s an ethnic Nuer, is in the region and scheduled to fly from the town of Gambella to South Sudan’s capital, Juba, on Monday to become vice-president of a transitional government, according to Bloomberg.

The latest State Department Human Rights Report (2015) mentions conflict 13 times in Ethiopia’s section, most of it due to ethnic conflicts. In the same report, TPLF security forces are mentioned 16 times, whose defining characteristic is “committ[ing] arbitrary or unlawful killings.” Further details on this matter are explained as follows:

    “From the end of the election campaign period on May 21 until the announcement of election results on June 22, opposition parties reported the death of six party members, including one candidate from the Blue Party. The deaths occurred in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR); Oromia; Amhara; and Tigray. The deceased included one supporter of an independent candidate, one member of the Blue Party, and four members of Medrek, an opposition coalition made up of four political parties. One of the six was an accredited election observer for the Oromo Federalist Congress (one of four parties that make up the Medrek opposition coalition). The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and the Ethiopian Federal Police Commission investigated the deaths and found no political motivation behind the killings.

    Shortly after the May 24 national elections, there were reports of violence between the residents of Hamer County of the South Omo Zone in the SNNPR and security forces that resulted in as many as 48 deaths. According to reports the drivers of the conflict in the South Omo Zone include economic marginalization of local communities, loss of traditional grazing lands to large-scale, government-financed sugar plantations, and restrictions on hunting.

    On June 13 and 14, security forces reportedly opened fire on protesters, killing at least six and wounding several others. The demonstrators were participating in an unauthorized political demonstration in the Chilga district of the Amhara Region (North Gondar). Supporters of a small party representing the Kemant ethnic group refused to accept the election results, refuting the claim of a clean sweep by the Amhara National Democratic Movement, one of the four constituent parties of the ruling EPRDF.

    On November 19, students in the Oromia Region began protesting in opposition to the expansion of the city of Addis Ababa into the surrounding region of Oromia. The protests against land expansion, also known as the Addis Ababa Master Plan, spread to small towns and villages across the Oromia Region. Some of the protests escalated into violent clashes between protesters and security forces, which allegedly used excessive force, resulting in dozens of deaths, including protesters and police officers. The protests and violence in the Oromia Region continued at year’s end.

    In October 2014 gunmen reportedly killed 126 police and civilians in the Gambella Region. The clash occurred between a group of ethnic Majanger and Ethiopian national and local security forces. In December 2014 officials charged at least 46 individuals, including officials from the Gambella regional government, with terrorist acts, and they were on trial at year’s end under the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation (ATP).”

 

That is how Ethiopians see the brewing Gambella crisis. In the old days, since Emperor Haileselassie there was a view in foreign policy, Ethiopia’s real threat is not Somalia. But what is coming through the nation’s western frontiers!

In his latest tweet, William Davison dropped a line through proxy connection that twitter is dead in Gambella and Oromia regions of Ethiopia!
 

*Updated.

 

Related:

    More Than 140 Killed Near Ethiopia’s Border With South Sudan

    Hundreds feared dead after Murle massive attack on Nuer of Ethiopia

 

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