Ethiopia/Oromia: Fear of An Intractable Conflict – The Government Must Heed Past Mistakes, Not Repeat Them

Ethiopia/Oromia: Fear of An Intractable Conflict – The Government Must Heed Past Mistakes, Not Repeat Them

HRLHA  Urgent Action

July 22, 2018

The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) is extremely concerned with the current human rights and humanitarian crisis situation in Ethiopia that has consumed many lives across the Oromia Regional, State and other regional states on a daily basis and that the present government seems unable to control. The current Federal government of Ethiopia has not brought about any practical changes on the ground, has not created peace and stability in the country- though it has promised to do so in the past three months. Today, the country is in dire straits:  arbitrary detentions, conflicts among tribes that have displaced millions, hundreds have been killed, border crossing killings and lootings by Somali armed groups in Oromia Regional State that have killed several people in Oromia Regional State border districts and villages, with displacements continuing unabated.

Arbitrary Detentions in Oromia

Based on his inaugural speech promise that no person will be detained or criminalized because of his/her political affiliation, or for his/her opinion, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed government has released thousands of prisoners including political prisoners in the past two and half months. This was an encouraging move suggesting that the country might be headed towards true democracy where rules of law and justice are respected.  However, to the contrary, many Oromos have been hunted down and detained, including those recently released after many years in prison by Oromia and Federal government’s security forces from the capital City (Addis Ababa), Ambo, Gudar, and western Wallaga zones, Dabidollo, Mandi, Najjo, Gimbi, Shambu, Nekemt,  and etc.

The HRLHA managed to identify the following among the arrested people in Oromia Regional State

# Name Detained
1 Prof. Beyene  Ruda Finfinne/Addis Ababa
2 Lalisa Fikadu Finfinne/Addis Ababa
3  Tigist Taye (F) Finfinne/Adds/Ababa
4 Dereje Hirphasa
5 Alemayehu Hirphasa Walsso/West Showa
6 Umar Tamam Walsso/West Showa
7 Adane Melese Walsso/West Showa
8 Dassu Naggasa Walsso/West Showa
9 Tesfaye Marga Walsso/West Showa
10 Leelisa Shallama Walsso/West Showa
11 Humnessa Iticha Walsso/West Showa
12 Ayele Barecha Walsso/West Showa
13 Samu’el Ketema Walsso/West Showa
14 Fayisa Walsso/West Showa
15 Milion Tadesse Walsso/West Showa
16 Tadele Kebede Walsso/West Showa
17 Dagna Bekele Walsso/West Showa
18 Dassaalegn Bayera Walsso/West Showa
19 Takku Diriba Walsso/West Showa
20 Qoyas Waggari Walsso/West Showa
21 Iddosa Marga Dambi Dollo/Kelem Wallaga
22 Gammachu Shaqa Dambi Dollo/Kelem Wallaga
23 Dessalegn Wendimu Dambi Dollo/Kelem Wallaga
24 mufta Faris Dambi Dollo/Kelem Wallaga
25 Fira’ol Girma Dambi Dollo/Kelem Wallaga
26 Aschalew wakjira Dambi Dollo/Kelem Wallaga
27 Tadesse Kasahun Dambi Dollo/Kelem Wallaga
28 Fisiha G/Mikael Dambi Dollo/Kelem Wallaga
29 Ebbise Mul’ata (F) Dambi Dollo/Kelem Wallaga
30 Hamza Ridan Dambi Dollo/Kelem Wallaga
31 Mikael Addisu Dambi Dollo/Kelem Wallaga
32 Bareke Gabbisa Dambi Dollo/Kelem Wallaga

Invasion of Oromia Villages by Liyu Police continues:

The HRLHA has reported the border crossing invasions and killings of the Somali Regional armed group “Liyu Police” attacks on Oromos over the past eight years- ever since 2011. The HRLHA again strongly condemns the invasion by the Somali Regional State highly armed groups ‘Liyu Police” on  Oromia border villages killing tens of  hundreds  and displacing millions of Oromos from their ancestral lands in the past eight years. The HRLHA informants from the border Oromia villages have reported that the “Liyu Police” now permanently occupy several Oromia villages in the Chinaksen District of Eastern Hararge zone, such as Oswen, Arbayit, Waccu #1 & 2, Turkele, Karmale, Biyyo Tokko, etc.  Many people have been killed and displaced from these areas.  The Somali Regional State armed groups “Liyu Police” also invaded from south Oromia borders of Moyale, Borana zone and Guji zones, Mada Walabu and Rayitu districts in Bale, South East Oromia zones. While all these crimes against humanity have been committed,  the Oromia Regional State authorities and the Federal government  authorities have been silent or have not paid enough attention- which makes them complicit.

To reverse the shadow of the looming civil war due to uncontrolled conflicts among nations and nationalities in Ethiopia which could result in human tragedy, and atrocity, the donor governments such as the USA, the UK, Canada, Swedin, Norway and government agencies like the UN, AU and EU  and subsidiary  organizations (African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, EU Human Rights Commission and UN human rights council) have to express their concerns  to the  government of Ethiopia to stop backing small groups from fighting against the largest ethnic group- the Oromos- and instead act responsibly to stabilize the country.

Western Oromia is under siege; heavily armed military forces have killed many people

Recently the Oromia and Federal government deployed a large number of heavily armed military forces to the western part of Oromia Regional, State and terrorized the Oromos living in Kelem/Dambi Dollo town,  Mandi, Najjo, Nekemt, Gimbi  districts and killed tens and injured others and detained many Oromos.  The governments of both levels didn’t officially declare their reasons for deploying the military forces to these areas while the people in these areas pleaed for help from the barbaric acts of the Ethiopian military force against the unarmed civilians. The HRLHA informant from Kelem/ Dambi Dollo said that all daily activities are paralyzed, and there is no guarantee that people will be safe while running their daily activities. Harassments, beatings and killing of innocents on the street is rampant.

Killined and ijured  in Dembi Dollo, Western Wallagga

Source: Ibssa Negassaa FB –

Therefore, to solve the human rights and humanitarian crises in the country and to restore peace and stability in Ethiopia in general and in Oromia in particular, the HRLHA recommends:

  • The Ethiopian PM, Dr. Abiy Ahmed must use his mandate as commander in chief and disarm the “Liyu Police” and bring the Federal military commanders who backed the attack against Oromo civilians along the Somali-Oromo border to justice
  • Implement the 1995 Ethiopia constitution: Article 48 (1) says– ” All State border disputes shall be settled by agreement of the concerned States. Where the concerned States fail to reach agreement, the house of the Federation shall decide such disputes on the basis of settlement patterns and the wishes of the peoples concerned”.
  • Release, unconditionally, all prisoners of conscience, those recently detained in Oromia different towns including those kept in confinement over the past 28 years.
  • Keep the inauguration promises in which the PM Abiy Ahmed said that no person shall be arrested because of his/her political affiliation or opinion in Ethiopia
  • Call all Opposition Political Organizations together for a dialogue to find an all- inclusive political solution to bring peace and stability by averting the political, human rights and humanitarian crises in the country
  • Major donor governments, including the USA, the UK & Canada, Sweden, Norway and Australia should put pressure on the government of Ethiopia to respect the principle of Responsibility to Protect (R2P),  and shoulder its primary responsibility to prevent and protect its own citizens against horrific acts
  • Putting pressure on the EPRDF government to allow neutral investigators to probe into the political crisis in the country as the precursor to international community intervention

The HRLHA therefore calls, yet again, upon the international community to act collectively in a timely and decisive manner – through the UN Security Council and in accordance with the UN charter on a case-by – case basis to stop the conflicts which could escalate into the War in Ethiopia

Copied To:

  • UN Human Rights Council
    OHCHR address: 
    Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
    Palais Wilson
    52 rue des Pâquis
    CH-1201 Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Africa Union (AU)
    African Union Headquarters
    P.O. Box 3243 | Roosevelt Street (Old Airport Area) | W21K19 | Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
    Tel: (251) 11 551 77 00 | Fax: (251) 11 551 78 44
  • The US Department of State
    (202) 895-3500
    Office of Foreign Missions
    2201 C Street NW
    Room 2236
    Washington, D.C. 20520
    Customer Service Center
    3507 International Place NW
    Washington, D.C. 20522-3303