By Keffyalew Gebremedhin, The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)
ESAT News (July 13, 2016): In one of the deadliest days in the town of Gondar, northern Ethiopia, six residents and four members of regime forces were killed on Tuesday.
The killings began when TPLF forces from Tigray came to the town of Gondar in the wee hours of the morning on Tuesday and apprehended four members of a committee that spearheads the political demands by the people of Wolkait and Tegede as regards their identity as Amharas. The people of north Gondar have been peacefully demanding the government to recognize them as Amharas and abolish the Tigrayan identity imposed on them by the regime 25 years ago.
The TPLF forces were at the door of the fifth committee member, Col. Demeke Zewde at 5 a.m. on Tuesday when shots were fired as the Colonel refused to surrender to the forces, according to witnesses.
The Colonel returned fire, killing two of the TPLF security operatives, witnesses told ESAT on the phone. Having heard the Colonel was besieged by the forces, residents of Gondar in turn surrounded the TPLF forces resulting in hours of standoff.
The whereabouts of the Colonel is not known but sources told ESAT that the residents had overpowered the TPLF forces and secured the release of the Colonel and took him to safety.
Gunfire was heard all day in Gondar on Tuesday and the regime has been moving the army and security into the town. Witnesses said they saw heavy artillery and convoys of soldiers entering the town.
Having heard the news of the fight, armed people from Armacheho came to Gondar in several buses to defend their compatriots who were under attack by the regime.
Shops and vehicles belonging to the business empire of the regime were set ablaze by the irritated residents, some armed, and who were seen on the street all day chanting anti TPLF slogans.
Meantime, amid reports of clashes in Gondar town between residents and TPLF forces in which ten people, including four members of the forces were killed, the the regime’s anti-terrorism task force said in a statement that it had apprehended individuals whom it said had killed three of its security operatives in a separate incident in north Gondar.
The statement said two armed individuals had shot and killed the two regime operatives, while five others sustained injuries. The statement did not say how many suspects were apprehended in the operation on Tuesday in Tegede Woreda of north Gondar. There have been a number of reports of deadly clashes between regime forces and the people of north Gondar for the past several months. The TPLF regime has been putting the blame on Eritrea and Ethiopian opposition groups based in that country.”
The statement said two armed individuals had shot and killed the two regime operatives, while five others sustained injuries. It did not say how many suspects were apprehended in the operation on Tuesday in Tegede Woreda of north Gondar.
There have been a number of reports of deadly clashes between regime forces and the people of north Gondar for the past several months. The TPLF regime has been putting the blame on Eritrea and Ethiopian opposition groups based in that country.
Underlying the tension between the people and the TPLF regime is the Front’s greed, which for the past quarter century has seized lands from surrounding regions to crete greater Tigray, feudal, colonial military expansionism. Added to this is the denial to people of their true identity, referring to all of them as Tigreans, while they are Amharas from Gondar.
The people see the TPLF as an occupation force.
It is to be recalled that the TPLF has been in a continuing conflict in Oromia region as well, its repression and land grab angering citizens. TPLF members have been seizing the lands of farmers, displacing the owners. High school and university students and Oromia residents have been up in arms. While it has been confirmed even by international civil society organization the assassination of over 400 Oromos, the TPLF is still continuing its killings throughout Oromia, as one reads this.
Similarly, the land grab TPLF members have expanded into SNNPR has also been cause for the death of hundreds in the South Omo Valley and Gambella region.
Therefore, this conflict underway in Gondar is certainly linked to land grab and identity denial.
Ethiopia: Protest Crackdown Killed Hundreds