By: Asress Mulugeta
The last three years (2015, 2016 and 2017) have been the horror years for Ethiopians especially for Amhara and Oromo people. As recent days killing horror in Woldia showed us, the year 2018 is going to be worse. The unrest in Ethiopia that started in November 2015 in the Oromia and in July 2016 in Amhara regions still continues unabatedly by fuelling further ethnic clashes in different parts of the country. In the year 2015, Ethiopia has been gripped with ethnic violence and chaos as thousands of Oromo demonstrators took to the streets in protest against government land grab that displace around 200,000 people. The fascistic action of the Ethiopian government turned a peaceful protest into a violent one in which hundreds of people were killed in a bloody crackdown by heavily armed security forces from November 2015 till December 2015.
In the year 2016, not only the Oromo region but also the Amhara region has been gripped with ethnic violence and chaos. In July 2016, the Anti-terrorism task force detained members of the Wolqayt Amhara Identity Committee (WAIC), a legally registered organisation. Soon after, protests erupted in many areas of the Amhara Region. One of the biggest demonstrations took place was on 1 August 2016 in Gondar city. Protesters demanded the release of the WAIC members, social and political reforms including an end to human rights abuses. The government responded by mercilessly killing and arresting protesters. In just three months from July 2016 till October 2016 at least 500 people are estimated to have been killed in Bahir Dar and Godar areas. Further protests followed in the Amhara region in which major protests took place in 6 of the 11 Amhara region zones throughout the year 2016.
2016 was also the grim year not only tested the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, EPRDF’s, quarter-century stranglehold over the country but also the limits of human perseverance against determined state action. Any, of Oromia’s 560 towns escaped the growing anger and revolt of ordinary citizens against the central state. In fact, both the protests and the official brutality were unprecedented, in which the security forces killed more than 1,000 people in Oromia alone in 2016. The year’s biggest tragedy took place on October 2, 2016 when 700 Oromo people lost their lives died in the ensuing stampede at the Irrecha Festival due to the reckless action of the security forces. On October 8, 2016 the government declared a state of emergency which lasted on August 2017. During the state of emergency, the government killing squad members were deployed in all villages of the Amhara and Oromia Regional state where they committed killings, kidnappings and arrests of civilians while fighting against the Amhara and Oromo nationalists.
The year 2017 was worse nightmare for Ethiopians especially for the Oromo people. In a scheme concocted by the minority lead government, a conflict along areas shared by the Oromo and Somali communities in Eastern Ethiopia resulted in the death of hundreds of people and the displacement of at least 670,000 innocent Oromo people. In the year 2017, Ethnic tensions and violence in Ethiopia has been also crippling university education. Universities that are located in Oromia and Tigray regions such as Metu University, Alemaya University, Ambo University, Adigrat University, Axum University and Mekele University have been the most affected by ethnic unrest. More than 50 students have been killed due to ethnic clashes that occurred from the above mentioned universities by the end of 2017. Thousands of Amhara students left Metu University and many Oromo students left Jijiga University fearing of their safety. In December 2017, the government orchestrated clashes between different ethnic groups in Ethiopia‘s Oromia region have killed at least 61 people.
Now, we are in the beginning month of the year 2018, however the never ending horror against the major ethnic groups continues unabatedly. A couple of days ago a killing horror happened in Woldia, Amhara region of Ethiopia. In just one day, tens of people have been mercilessly murdered by minority lead security forces while they are celebrating their sacred Epiphany festival. The ethnic minority dominated government is driving the country in to very disastrous way. Unless a miracle of solution comes from a concerned body and save the country, the future of the Ethiopia will be no different than that of Syria or the former Yugoslavia.