Statement of MTA on the Prevailing Situation in Oromia

Statement of MTA on the Prevailing Situation in Oromia

April 22, 2021

Amhara militia burning down Oromo villages in Wollo, April 2021, source FB

It is with utmost concern that MTA is issuing this statement regarding the ever-escalating crisis that the Oromo people are presently facing as a nation.

Lately, the peace and security situation in Oromia has been progressively worsening. With lawlessness reigning across much of Oromia, the very existence of the Oromo as a people is under threat. Since all facts on the ground suggest that the Ethiopian state is squarely responsible for the breakdown of law-and-order, there is a growing concern on the part of MTA that the threat is becoming more imminent.

Numerous incidents that have surfaced recently at different places in Oromia make the MTA concerns much more founded. While no part of Oromia is spared from attacks, suffice to mention systematic and ongoing onslaughts taking place in Wollo, the Oromia Special Zone of the Amhara Region, Wallaga, Borana, Guji, and in some part of central Oromia.

In Oromia Special Zone, the Amhara Regional State Special Force and Militia perpetrated unprovoked attacks on March 19,2021 on civilian population of various Wollo-Oromo communities. The wanton attacks have resulted in loss of hundreds of lives, displacement of tens of thousands of people, and destruction of properties. Now the humanitarian situation in the Zone is appalling. With unrelenting attacks on the communities, the dire needs for medical treatments, food, clothing, and shelter for the displaced have mounted enormously. In the absence of cessation of hostilities and immediate intervention of humanitarian assistance, the population in the Special Zone have been exposed to a humanitarian crisis of significant proportion.

Western Oromia, particularly Wallaga, has been a war zone for nearly three years. Since early April 5, 2021, this war has intensified as the Ethiopian regime dispatched a large detachment of its national defence force to the region under the guise of law-and-order enforcement operation. Along with its defence force, it got regiments of the Special Force of the Amhara Region and the Eritrean army sent off to this war zone. Presently, through out western Oromia what amounts to a war of annihilation is raging. Having set out a blueprint with the motto: ‘drying up the pond to get to the fish’, the Ethiopian regime is engaged in scorched-earth policy in its attempt to root out insurgencies known as the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA). This desperate action of the regime is taking a huge toll on the civilian population of the area. Now at a much larger magnitude than ever before, widespread extrajudicial killings, disappearance, mass arrest, destruction of properties, and forced displacement and exodus are taking place in Wallaga.

In southern Oromia, primarily in much of Borana and Guji zones, peace and security has been precarious for quite sometime. With the ongoing conflict scaling up between the Ethiopian government forces and the OLA, the civilian population in these zones is also facing humanitarian crisis.

Similarly, through out the rest of Oromia, so much unrest is unravelling as the government has slummed the door to a peaceful and democratic means of political contestation. With the government bent on heavy handed crackdowns on political decedents and the belligerent Amhara Special Force and Militia are roaming in various parts of Oromia and committing unprovoked attacks against civilians, a growing number of Oromos are forced to raising arms for self-defence. As a result, Oromia is now a conflict-ridden regional state next to Tigray.

The MTA condemns in the strongest possible terms the Ethiopian regime for rejecting calls for broadening political space and an all-inclusive national dialogue for peacefully resolving political issues and instead resorting to the state-sanctioned war and campaign of terror against the Oromo people, the Eritrean state for sending its mercenary invading force and pillaging Oromia, and the Amhara Special Force and Militia for perpetrating horrific killings against Oromos in Wollo and Wallaga zones and causing wanton destruction, and massive displacement.

Given the intransigent nature of the Ethiopian regime, MTA is concerned that the ongoing conflict in Oromia may not be arrested quickly. Therefore, it is very likely that it could have far-reaching political, economic, social, and security implications for Oromia, the entire region of the Horn of Africa and beyond. It could further destabilize Oromia and the entire region and result in a colossal humanitarian crisis. To avert this potentially unfolding human tragedies, MTA demands that the international community put pressure on the Ethiopian regime to:

Stop the unleashed state terror on the Oromo people.

  1. Agree to the establishment of internationally sanctioned body in order to investigate perpetrators of crimes against humanity and bring them to justice. 
  2. Issue an order of complete and immediate withdrawal of the Eritrean mercenary army from Oromia and the rest of Ethiopia. 
  3. Arrest the unbridled savagery of the Amhara Special Force and Militia who are wrecking havoc in Oromia and through out the rest of Ethiopia.    
  4. Accept and commit to an all-inclusive national dialogue as a means to overcome the current political gridlock shackling the country.  
  5. Accept and commit to an all-inclusive national dialogue as a means to overcome the current political gridlock shackling the country. 

With respect to humanitarian dimension, the need is mounting with conflict flaring up everywhere in the country. The latest incident that took place in Wollo and Wallaga alone tore apart the social fabric and destroyed the livelihood of tens of thousands Oromos thereby adding them to the rank of needy population. It is MTA’s concern that further escalation of the conflict in Oromia would burgeon the humanitarian needs beyond the government and/or local NGOs could support. So, MTA calls on local as well as international NGOs to be prepared for such an eventuality.

MTA on its part is attempting to revamp its capacity to increase its level of support to the needy and to be more agile in its timely responsiveness. However, in this regard, the success of MTA hinges on the full support of the Oromo public, especially the Diaspora Oromo communities. While MTA is grateful to all who positively responded to its calls for support in the past, it appeals to the wider Oromo public for continuous and generous support.

Finally, considering the anticipated growing needs of humanitarian assistance, MTA calls upon all Oromo communities, religious organizations, and business establishments to coordinate their efforts in mobilizing and delivering resources for relief aid and to build their capacity in order to efficiently and quickly respond to the needs that may arise in the future.

MTA-USA Board of Directors Inc.
April 22, 2021