Nobel Peace Prize winner accused: Civilians are murdered and tortured

Nobel Peace Prize winner accused: Civilians are murdered and tortured

ABIY AHMED

SOUTHERN OMO, ETHIOPIA

(expressen)–Ethiopias Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed recieves the Nobel Peace Prize tomorrow in Oslo.

But at the same time the security forces of this year’s Nobel Peace laureate are being accused of quietly killing and torturing people from the Mursi, Bodi and Suri tribes in southern Ethiopia.

Expressen’s reporter Torbjörn Selander travelled undercover to the region as a tourist and birdwatcher to investigate the accusations of serious crimes.

He met in secret with torture victims from the Mursi people. They testified about murder and beatings by government soldiers, about how they had to spend hours without water in the open under a burning sun, about how they were hung upside down while their feet were beaten with rebars.

– They urinated on me and I was forced to drink my own urin, one elderly victim tells Expressen.

He sits down on a small rock in front of me and wraps a blanket around himself. Rainclouds are building up, but he also uses the textile as a cover, not to show his face.

He says he knows his name is on the Ethiopian military’s deathlist. He has left his home village and comes to this place to tell us his story.

– They have sent me a message, saying they are going to kill me. They can arrive at any moment, he says and looks around.

We are sitting in the bush in southern Omo, in the south of Ethiopia, two days travel south of the capital Addis Abeba. The man speaks with a clear and strong voice about what he says happened when he was a prisoner at the government camp ”Romo”.

Only when completely hidden from the camera, the old man dares to speak to us. Foto: TORBJÖRN SELANDER

They hung us upside down with ropes around our feet, forced our legs apart and beat us with rebars. Then we had to sit in the the sun all day, with nothing to drink, he says.

He tells about what happened to a young man, the one who was treated the worst. The soldiers tied a rope around his testicles and pulled him on the ground.

– They hung him naked with his feet, then beat him on his testicles with rebars. The testicles cracked.

He continues:

– These are our enemies. They came to destroy us!

The man says he doesn’t have a lot of respect for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed.

– He thinks we are stupid just because we have no education, that’s why they are doing these things to us.

WHY ARE THE BODI AND MURSI PEOPLE PERSECUTED?

The Ethiopian government has for several years forced the tribes to leave large areas that used to be farm- and pasture land and has instead built sugarcane plantations and -factories.

 The traditional lifestyle of the tribes has also been severly affected by the fact that the authorities have constructed dams on the Omo river and built several power stations and irrigation projects.

 The Bodi and Mursi people have by tradition been armed in order to protect themselves and their cattle against lions and other local tribes. During the autumn government troops have started to collect these weapons and the conflict has escalated sharply. Government sources say that this has been done in order to protect

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