Amhara Association of America and Amhara Professionals Union: Press Statement (27.10.2019)
This week, Ethiopians were subjected to barbaric killings, destruction of property, burning of religious institutions, chaos in their cities and neighborhoods, and absence of political and security leadership leading to mayhem and turmoil in many parts of the country. When a large region of Ethiopia was in a crisis, the institutions responsible for safeguarding the citizens were absent and silent.
Amhara Association of America and Amhara Professionals Union strongly condemn the death of innocent Ethiopians (more than 67 confirmed thus far) in Oromia Region and grieve with the families and community during this solemn moment.
On Tuesday, October 22nd in a speech addressed to parliament, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed warned that measures will be taken against media owners with foreign passports who foment ethnic conflict in the country. Jawar Mohammed felt Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s statement was directed at him and felt slighted by the comment. The same day, Jawar Mohammed, a U.S. Citizen, an ultra-Oromo extremist, and Executive Director of Oromia Media Network (OMN) criticized and attacked Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on his social media platform and in an interview with a major Ethiopian media outlet. On October 23rd, Jawar Mohammed posted on his social media platform, the security detail provided to him by the Ethiopian Government was being removed- an allegation the federal police commissioner denied. In an interview, Jawar stated the removal of the security detail was to “instigate a mob attack” against him.
Jawar Mohammed, self-proclaimed leader of young Oromo extremist hooligans, requested for response action from his followers to the alleged removal of his security detail. What followed was several days of horror for Ethiopians in Oromia Region; innocent Ethiopians were brutally killed using machetes, rocks, and sticks; homes, business, and Ethiopian Orthodox Churches were burnt; and roads across the region were closed. While this horror was occurring unabated, Ethiopian security forces were incapable of halting the terror. Sadly, images and videos of this tragedy were readily posted on the internet.
We are deeply disappointed by the failure of the Oromia Regional State and the Federal Government of Ethiopia to contain the unrest and put a stop to targeted killings of Oromos who support Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, non-Oromos, and Orthodox Christians in Oromia Region. When similar unrest previously occurred in other parts of Ethiopia such as Sidama and Somali Regions, the Ethiopian Government and respective regional governments immediately declared a State of Emergency and deployed the Federal Army to halt the violence, arrested individuals who had committed crimes, and brought normalcy.
Sadly, Ethiopians have been repeated victims of Jawar’s modus operandi of using OMN and social media to fuel ethnic and religious conflict and mobilizing his extremist followers as demonstrated by the terror witnessed in Legetafo and Burayo.
Regrettably, instead of taking action against Jawar and his radical Oromo extremist supporters, Prime Minster Abiy has continued to spend Ethiopian tax dollars to provide security details to Jawar Mohammed. As a result, Jawar and his radical Oromo extremist supporters’ actions has led to a new normal in Oromia where hooligans kill and embezzle properties of non-Oromos with impunity. On the other hand, the absurdity of the government’s action of keeping peaceful journalists and leaders of National Movement of Amhara (NaMA) in prison is creating a distrust for the justice system and leadership.
As such, Amhara Association of America and Amhara Professionals Union demand:
1. The Ethiopian Federal Government declare a State of Emergency in Oromia Region and mobilize security
forces to protect life and property.
2. The National Defense Force, Federal Police, and Oromia Regional Police stop enabling genocidal actions thorough their active or tacit support to hooligans that are terrorizing, killing, and embezzling properties of non-Oromos in Addis Ababa, Oromia Region, and nearby cities such as Dire Dawa and Harar.
3. The Ethiopian Federal Government should ensure citizens have access to federal services by opening satellite offices in regions adjacent to Oromia Region to reduce risks of traveling thorough Oromia to Addis Ababa for access to federal services.
4. The Ethiopian Federal Government delicense Oromia Media Network in Ethiopia until it stops broadcasting content intended to incite ethnic and religious conflict.
5. The Ethiopian Federal Government hold Jawar Mohammed, OMN, and complicit government officials accountable for the loss of life and property.
6. The United States Government hold accountable Jawar Mohammed and OMN, a U.S. citizen and U.S. based media respectively for the loss of life and property in Ethiopia and fueling ethnic conflict.
7. The Ethiopian Federal Government and Oromia Regional Government compensate all victims and business for loss of life and property.
8. The Federal government immediately start negotiations to revise the constitution that was imposed on Ethiopians dividing Ethiopia based on arbitrary ethnic boundaries thereby exposing them to identity-based attacks such as the latest ones in Oromia Region including Legetafo, Burayo & displacement of nearly 800,000 Gedeos from Oromia Region.
9. The release of all political prisoners and journalists including members of the National Movement of Amhara (NaMA).
Amhara Association of America and Amhara Professionals Union call on the international community to take note of the tragedy unfolding in Ethiopia and pressure the Ethiopian government to hold criminally liable Jawar Mohammed, OMN, complicit government officials, and individuals who committed heinous crimes.
Amhara Association of America and Amhara Professionals Union call on all Ethiopians who want a peaceful, democratic, and sovereign Ethiopia and aspire for real citizenship rights to come together and safeguard our country and request Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed take action against Jawar Mohammed and OMN.