Amen Teferi 12-25-17
For over two years Ethiopia's government has faced unprecedented social, economic and political protests, leaving hundreds dead and prompting government to install a 10-month state of emergency that was lifted in August.
The European Union issued a statement regarding the situation in Ethiopia. In a statement issued on December 20, 2017, the European Union declared that the “ethnic nature of clashes in Ethiopia is worrying.” It also stated that the “European Union sees political dialogue with stakeholders as a way out from the current crisis in Ethiopia.”
Noting recurring violence in the country, European Union pointed out that it is “worrying” as the violence has become increasingly of ethnic nature. Furthermore, the European Union expressed its firm conviction on the importance of independent investigation into the violence and hailed Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalenge’s action in forming task force to investigate the recent violence in different parts of the country.
In fact, recurring reports of violence in several universities and clashes in different parts of Ethiopia are deeply worrying, in particular as regards their increasingly ethnic nature. This includes the recent incidents in Oromia-Somali regions, causing many casualties and the destruction of properties and the Ethiopian government extends its condolences to the families of the victims.
It is essential that investigations on all acts of violence are conducted and Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegne has recently declared the need to set up of a task force that investigates the most recent killings. In the meantime, both the regional and federal security forces should ensure the full protection and safety of all citizens.
We have conflict resolution mechanisms enshrined in our constitution and that will allow for a peaceful settlement of the issues. Above all the ongoing inclusive political dialogue with all stakeholders will address the grievances of the population in a peaceful and constructive manner.
The government has tried to have inclusive political dialogue with all stakeholders as a way to address the grievances of the population. It has also decided to conduct investigation into clashes between two of Ethiopia's largest ethnic groups that have left at least 61 people dead last week alone. The people of the Oromo and Ethiopian Somali are kin and live together peacefully for many centuries.
Of course, there is a long-standing border dispute between the two regions that has eventually triggered the recent fighting. This controversy over the border between Somali and Oromia regional states has turned to egregious clashes that have caused many casualties and the destruction of properties. The government believes the need for inclusive and broad-based dialogue in the political process and has determined to address grievances in a peaceful and conducive manner.
As we know, the Oromia and Somali regional states have been locked in a dispute over the delineation of their common boundary for almost two decades. A referendum in October 2004 was supposed to demarcate the boundary between the two regional states, but its implementation has been stalled ever since with both sides accusing each other of non-compliance.
The border tensions between the Oromia and Ethiopia-Somali regional states has recently get a new turn. An escalation of tension late last week led to the deaths of 61 people on both sides. Scores were also reported to have been injured, houses burnt and hundreds internally displaced.
We also remember that heavy clashes along the Oromia-Somali boundary in September spilled into ethnic violence which left scores of people dead and tens of thousands displaced. Then officials agreed to reconcile differences in April and troops were deployed to major roads, but clashes have continued. Fighting in September killed several dozen people and displaced tens of thousands of Oromos. The federal government has further pointed to competition to control illegal Khat trade as another reason for the conflict.
Sadly, many innocent people have been killed in clashes that have ethnic nature. This violence highlights the increasing instability of our country that has been racked by protests for almost three years now. Therefore, the violence in the Oromia-Ethio-Somali bordering areas and the university campuses is a cause for grave concern.
These clashes are likely to fuel fears about security. Even Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemarian Desalegn said “The violence in the Oromia-Ethio-Somali bordering areas and the university campuses is a cause for grave concern.”
Some commentators alleged that the security situation in Ethiopia is a mix of anti-government sentiment on one hand, ethnic clashes affecting two major regions and a deadly turn of events across some universities.
Many universities were affected by serial deaths of students and that have led them to close down due to lack of conducive atmosphere for studies. Now, the government is doing everything possible to remedy the situation and we have seen encouraging progress in just few days.
Negeri Lencho, Ethiopia’s Minister of the GCAO has disclosed that relative calm had returned to university campuses that were rocked by deadly violence weeks back and that teaching and learning had started.
In an interview with ENA, the Minister said the clashes that occurred in some universities ‘lack sound reason.’ He argued that “persons who sought to exploit the situation had spread the effects of the clashes to other areas.”