Just a month into the Security Council’s landmark decision to arrest the nationwide violence affecting people across the country, fresh round of unrest is being observed in different parts of the Oromia Regional State: mainly small towns along the Eastern Haraghe zone.
According to reports, members of the federal security apparatus entered the town of Chelenko on Sunday night to control an on-going demonstration in the locality. Eventually, the demonstration ended up in the death of more than a dozen of civilians and injuring of the same number. The demonstration in turn was aimed at denouncing earlier killings allegedly committed by other armed forces.
On its late-night news on Monday, the Regional State’s media, the Oromia Broadcasting Network (OBN), featured president of the region, Lemma Megerssa, who condemned the killings on top of alluding that the federal forces who have acted in the Chelenko were doing so without the consent of his administration.
Lemma said further that “it is unacceptable for federal forces” to intervene into the regional state’s affairs without the knowledge and consent of the regional government. Lemma vowed to conduct an organized probe into the “unlawful” intervention of the federal forces into regional matters without the knowledge of his government.
Following Lemma’s appearance on the regional media, residents of Ambo town took it to the street to denounce the killings of civilians which also turned deadly allegedly with the same kind of intervention from the federal forces.
According to sources in the area, unlike the previous clashes between civilians and the security forces, the one in Ambo is said to have pitted security forces against one another.
According to the same sources, the incident resulted in the death of two and wounding of one military personnel.
Experts have a hard time understanding the incident in light of the decision passed by the Security Council just a month ago. The Security Council which met aiming to evaluate the then current situation of the country and set directions for the future came up with measures to be taken if the country is to return to stability.
One of the measures approved by the National Security Council was the cooperation of the security forces at all levels (both regional and federal). The Council decided to have unity of purpose when it comes to regional and federal forces, which seems to be shaken by the current developments in different parts of the nation.
Apart from the decision to establish cooperation among federal and regional security forces, the October’s meeting of the National Security Council devised ways of reinstating the displaced people because of the conflicts between the Oromia and Somali Regional States. A committee had been established at the federal level to facilitate this work.
But, the reinstatement of the displaced people is still an ongoing process and now is the time to settle for a long lasting solution, experts assert.
With these and other issues at stake, the EPRDF Executive Committee has convened again this week and is expected to bring tangible measures to put an end to the current situation. However, there are commentators who argue that the Executive Committee will have difficulty in bringing about lasting solution to the situation as the violence in different parts of the country has different causes.
Concerned by the growing violence across the country, the US Embassy in Addis Ababa issued a statement this week regretting the deaths in Chelenko and various universities across the country. The Embassy also urged the government to seek ways of resolving the conflicts across the country.
The statement, indicating that it is “troubled and saddened by reports of violence that has resulted in the deaths and injuries of people” encouraged “the people of Ethiopia to uphold their admirable and longstanding tradition of respecting their country’s ethnic diversity and its tradition of peaceful co-existence, and to seek constructive means to raise concerns and resolve their difference.”