“The Regime in Ethiopia doesn’t have regard and respect for the sacred.”
“Our town of Bishoftu has been turned into a scene of blood bath.”
“Irreecha Massacre is a turning point in the ten- month old social uprising.”
It was meant to be a sacred and joyous religious holy-day where millions gather with their families and loved ones to give thanks. Within a few hours of the start of this sacred holiday, the TPLF regime’s security forces fired tear gas and live bullets on the crowd, killing and wounding hundreds. It was mayhem, while the regime’s security forces went on their killing spree.
This recent development, according to political observers, could be the tipping point in the ten-month social uprising that has been demanding fundamental change in the political and economic order of the country. The evolutionary development of the popular uprising has been gaining momentum, turning from a localized, small-scale movement into a more coordinated national uprising.
“We came here just to celebrate and give thanks, but our celebration has been turned into a grief and horror by these people who know nothing but killing,” said one young women in her mid-twenties. Another woman said, “I saw five dead bodies around me. I ran through the woods as they were firing at us.” “How do they do this to their fellow human beings? Are they really humans? Do they have any regard to human life?” Asked another man. People could be heard screaming, crying and parents calling out their children. The injured are left on the wet grassland as security forces blocked ambulances from entering the scene.
Some witnesses say that the government has used helicopter gunships against unarmed civilians simply demanding their rights while celebrating their holiday. In one instance, the helicopter directly fired at the crowd and many can be heard screaming for help. According to witnesses, families are still looking for their loved ones, going to hospitals to see if they are among the wounded or dead.
Ethiopia, for the last twenty-five years, has been effectively a security and surveillance state. While such a system of rule obviously benefited the ruling elite, this brutal and oppressive system of rule is slowly unravelling as members of the army, policy and intelligence are defecting and leaving.
The situation in the country has reached a critical point. Thus, the urgency of political solution is the most pressing matter for the country, and all stakeholders must act quickly and swiftly to save the country from a catastrophic crisis. If not resolved quickly (all indications are there is not much time), the crisis could spiral out control evolving into a full blown collapse with a reverberating implication on the region and global peace and security. The regime seems committed to kill its way out of the ongoing political crisis, at the same time, those who are demanding fundamental change appear to be determined to continue their struggle unless their demands are met, including a complete overhaul of the political and economic conditions that marginalized the majority and benefited a few.
The overall security environment is changing for the worst faster than anyone has imagined. The international community can no longer pretend to be a silent observer or a bystander. Thus, all international stakeholders must immediately call an international crisis meeting on Ethiopia and assist the country into a new caretaker government with a limited term to organize a free, fair and democratic election that will lead the country into a new political, economic and social path.