Berhane Amene 08/08/2018
What happened in the Somalia region of Ethiopia this past week was incredibly fast and damaging to the region. Did the central government had full authority to go into that regional state/Kilil/ to intervene without the invitation by the local government? Indeed, this is one of the pressing questions that many people are humbled about. BBC Africa puts this way, “What is behind clashes in Ethiopia's Oromia and Somali regions? more than 30 ethnic Somalis have been killed in the Oromia town of Awaday. the clashes had displaced at least 55,000 people, some of whom have taken refuge in makeshift camps at a stadium in the eastern city of Harar” September 2017.
Let’s analyze the history of Somalia region conflict with Oromia. These two regions of Ethiopia share a long border, sometimes fighting breaks out across the border without notice due to cattle lost or simply competing for resources. In the last two years alone, it has been much fighting and displacement on both sides. The international media has covered the atrocities and refugee flocking to the neighborhood countries. Much blood has been spelling on both sides, other than blaming each other no concert solution is found.
The emerging of Oromo power that now controlled the central government in Ethiopia is an encouragement more atrocities toward ethnic Somalia’s living in Oromia. It is a power struggle between the Prime Minister of Ethiopia an Oromo origin and the decentralized power run by Abdi Eli regional government of Somali. For years Abdi Eli enjoyed much local support, although some wanted to change, others seem to believe that some wealthy Oromo elites are funding to replace him. Although the young unemployed cash-strapped young are easily manipulated through payment to demonstrate against Abdi Eli leadership, the older generation wanted to keep him.
Some Somali believes that once Oromo consolidated power in Addis Ababa, they can easily mold the type of leadership there in their town, so they hesitated an Oromo lead the country. The second man in command Lema Megersa an Oromo regional president plays a key role, advising his close friend of Prime Minister Aby Ahmed. The central government sends troops and helicopters to apprehend the strong man Abdi Eli captured bringing him thrown into prison until this day where about is unknown. Just days before that happened, it was heavy fighting between the government Soldiers and the Lyu local trained police (special force), but they are already outnumbering with much more centralized equipped experienced troops.
The local Somali’s population immediately started to burn historical churches and destroying shops and other valuable scarce resources. So many are already in neighborhood countries as refugee’s overnight. This kind of unexpected violence is an invitation for others foot on the ground.
If this trend continues, the area could become a hotbed for terrorist groups to operate freely there. The whole region is a breeding ground for all kind of terror network. Somalia of Mogadishu is just a few hours away, Yemen is another unstable area. This could create much more headache for the entire region. They can’t let invite Al-Shabab into that area. The two Somalia’s already have much in common, more like the same coin; religion, culture, and language the same. It could become much deadlier to strategically supporters. The Somalia Ethiopians want justice and equal treatment just like everyone else.
The central government in Ethiopia should have handled this issue with care, although they are in great pressure from the Oromo hardliners, they still could mitigate it much more with a caution that attempting to force just one individual from power. Abdi Eli was elected leader by his own people to represent them, yet it should be given advise over forceful removal from office. It was a grave mistake that the Oromo’s could cost them politically in the future. Payback does not seem to be in the Prime Minister’s dictionary, but some hardliner Oromo’s are pushing for revenge against Abdi Eli.
This week global network coverage of the event was very much embracement to Dr. Aby of Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, he has been seen by millions of people, the new visionary leader as an example not only for Ethiopia but for the whole of East African countries. He echoed a message of peace, does not seem to correlate with the current event. Some are already started to question his real intention. We can only speculate the future peace, respectable destiny among all ethnic groups in Ethiopia. Without due regional rights respected, this incident could be just warning shot to leadership, an Armageddon of civil war could arise. Let’s ease up the suffering of others.