Ethiopia: Oromo Political Prisoners Defence Team – Hamza Borana Pleads Not Guilty: Full Statement He Delivered in Court (22.03.2021)

Your Honours,
I, Hamza Borana, plead not guilty to the charges levelled against me. I am innocent of all the charges and I consider the case political. I am charged with:
(1) Inciting violence between nations and nationalities
(2) Inciting the people against the government
(3) Inciting the Oromo people against the Amhara and Orthodox Christians,
(4) Stating that the Neftegna will not govern us and that the Neftegna system has been killing the Oromo people
(5) That I have stated that people should not carry the federal flag during national holidays in Oromia and agitated for measures to be taken against those found carrying it
(6) That I have stated that Oromo nationalists are being killed and the Oromo people should arm itself and rise up.
Before I enter a plea on these charges, I would like to take a few minutes to tell the court about myself.
This is the first time in my life that I have been accused of a crime and stood before a court to plead to a criminal charge. Unless we work towards building a democratic order, I don’t believe this will be my last. Politically motivated legal proceedings against political foes will continue until we address the central political challenges and practices. If we fail to address our country’s original political sins and continue on this path of manipulation and oppression, innocent citizens will continue to be victims and the oppressor will continue to oppress.
I am here today before this court accused of committing a crime because I wanted to play my part in the struggle against this politics of manipulation and domination.
I was not surprised by the detention and the charges. Before joining this struggle, I knew quite well that there is always a risk of detention, suffering, and being killed like my forefathers. I was not surprised because I joined the struggle after preparing myself to pay the necessary sacrifice. Before becoming a politician, I was forced to flee my country and live-in exile for seven years because I fought for equality and justice. Within those seven years, I founded Radio Daandii Haqaa (RDH) and served as its director and journalist to amplify the voice of my people.
The whole nation and the programs we did and the guests we invited are a testament to the fact that I used the Radio to lead the people’s struggle by peaceful means only, while building bridges between communities, and focusing our energy on the dictatorial system. The dictatorial system was eventually overthrown by the bitter struggle of our people and the sacrifice of more than 5000 youth. When the government changed in April 2018, I was one of those who returned home. Having said that much about myself, I would like to address the accusations:
First, I was accused of inciting violence among nations and nationalities. Before I address the issue, let me provide a quick background about myself. I was born and raised in Borana, Southern Oromia. Borana shares a large border with the Southern Peoples region and I grew up and attended school among multi-ethnic groups. I was shaped by the Gadaa system and values of tolerance and accommodation is an integral part of our culture and way of life. After returning to Ethiopia, I traveled to Gambella for peaceful discussion between the nations and nationalities. We had fruitful discussions with representatives of both sides to establish peaceful relations between the people of Gambella and the Oromo people. I was also invited by both sides to contribute to the peace process between the Afar and Wollo Oromos, which I attended in Batte, Wollo. I also attended a peace conference convened by the leaders of the Oromia and Somali regions as part of the ongoing dialogue to resolve the conflict between the Oromo and Somali people and tried to fulfil my civic duties. Similarly, I attended the Oromia Conference in Ambo by the invitation of the President of the Oromia Regional State and supported the efforts to establish a solid foundation for relations between the Somali and Oromo nations. Finally, in the event of ethnic clashes in the universities, I was able to hold an emergency joint meeting with Amhara Region activists to discuss the steps to be taken to prevent the conflict from spreading to the public.
Second, I am accused of inciting violence between the Oromo, the Orthodox Christians and the government. I do not think it makes sense for religion to be the basis for social and political conflict because I view faith as primarily a private matter. I was born to an Orthodox Christian family. My parents and all my relatives were and still are followers of the Orthodox Christian faith. I learned the Amharic language I speak today at a church. For someone in my position to want to instigate violence against Orthodox Christians or Orthodox churches would mean encouraging violence against my mother, who is today attending this very trial travelling more than 600kms from Borana. She should not have been here to see her son if I were in any way capable of even imagining such a thing. The same goes for my father and my brothers.
Third, with regard to the accusation that I have incited people against the government, I would like to raise two points. As soon as I returned to my country, I was engaged in widespread efforts to encourage people to support agents of reform in government to the point that I was perceived by the public as a member of the ruling party. But as events on the ground shifted and Oromo nationalists began to be arrested and killed and killings become widespread and the transition process went off the rails, I approached leading members of the ruling party and offered my advice. When this failed, I then began to publicly criticise the government’s handling of the situation, and once this too failed, I was forced to join the opposition. There is no doubt that Oromo nationalists have been killed; many human rights reports confirm this, many farmers’ houses have been burnt down. Does anyone deny this? How can anyone who advocates for victims gets detained and made to stand trial while the murderers remain free? Because I am a peace-loving person, I had a 12-day discussion with Abba Gadaas and prominent elders in Borana, in an effort to bring peace to the forces that are sincerely in power and fighting in the name of peace. I was fulfilling my civic duty as a caring citizen.
Next, I would like to raise the issue of the flag: I am basically a citizen who believes in the rule of law, legality, the constitution & constitutionalism. I also believe that the rule of law should be upheld until it is changed or amended. We have a flag that is enshrined in our constitution. Green-yellow-red with a yellow star in the center of the blue circle indicating the equality of nationalities and religions. We also have a law that says where, when, and why we should use this flag. In recent times, we have seen the use of the old Ethiopian flag in different ways and often to incite conflict. As a peace-loving and law-abiding citizen, I have expressed the view that during public holidays only the federal flag should be used and that other symbols that reflect the interests of a single group or provoke conflict should not be allowed, which is well within my constitutional right to free expression. As you know, I am not a government official, I do not have an army to command. I argued that the problematic symbols and insignias should not be carried because remaining silent in the face of an illegal use of the old Ethiopian flag that symbolises ideas contrary to our present constitution would have been a dereliction of my duty. However, my respect for the flag is never in doubt. Lastly, the message I want to convey on this agenda is that I see artists posting the same banner in different ways on music videos and films. For me, this is the illegality that should be condemned. One ethnic group’s view doesn’t represent the rest of Ethiopia and their ideas shouldn’t be imposed on other ethnic groups.
Finally, I was accused of stating that it was the Neftegna who were executing the Oromo people and that the Neftegna will not rule over us. While agreeing with the points made by the second defendant, Bekele Gerba, I will add the following on what Neftegna means for me.
For me, the Neftegna violently displaced my father’s grandfather, Obbo Dhana (Dhaanaa) Roba Gunjo, and his family from the Tulama land and forced him to settle among Gujii Oromo. The Neftegna massacred my mother’s father family in the Dharra District of Salale (North Shoa) and they too similarly fled to Borana. My mother’s father great grandfather Gayo Kumsa, has been uprooted by the evil Neftegna system from the South West of Sheger and forced to flee to Borana. I am the offspring of these displaced families. Yes, this is the system that committed ethnic cleansing on the Oromo people. That is why I am fighting hard to keep this system from coming back. Is it those who support this system or those who opposed it who should be accused? We are forever grateful for the debt of Borana, Guji, Arsi, Bale and Itu-Hubbena (Hararge) Oromo, who reached out and embraced the Tulama Oromo during the displacement of Oromos at the time. I would like to use this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude and respect.
Honourable Court, those of us who returned to our country after the process of democratic transition commenced – former activists, journalists, politicians – many of them chose to turn a blind eye to clear evidence of a slide-back to authoritarianism because they were provided with resources such as land belonging to our farmers, power, and temporary state rents. I felt that the only way I can make a meaningful contribution to the ongoing struggle of my people is by joining a viable opposition party, and I joined the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC). My comrades, my organisation and I were seen as an enemy because the ruling party know of the acceptance and support we have among our people and decided to lock us up because they knew they cannot win an election against us. A clear evidence of this is the current situation where the ruling party has jailed us all and removed our party from the election so that the ruling party will run for the election on its own. Therefore, Honorable court, I want to express with great respect, that I am innocent of all charges and I am here because I am falsely accused by the government, so that they can win the election and impose their views on us all.
It was Haacaaluu. They killed him and they prevented us from attending his funeral and properly mourn our loss. It was while I and my friends were on our way to the burial of our hero that we were arrested from the street and jailed. We have not committed any crime.
Thank you.
March 22, 2021
Hamza Borana
Finfinne, Oromia, Ethiopia

Ethiopia: Oromo Legacy Leadership and Advocacy Association (OLLAA) – OLLAA Calls on PM Abiy to Investigate Wollo Massacres (24.03.2021)

Ethiopia: Oromo Political Prisoners Defence Team – Jawar Mohammed Pleads Not Guilty: Full Statement He Delivered in Court (22.03.2021)

Your Honours,
I, Jawar Siraj Mohammed, plead not guilty. But before I offer my views on the specific accusations against me, I would like to make two general observations of central significance to me and my colleagues. We believe the accusation against us is politically motivated and that our arrest, detention, and trial were driven by two main political objectives.
First, the government fabricated the charges against me and other leading members of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) to prevent us from running in the forthcoming election. Because the ruling party knows that it has very little chance of winning seats against us in the Oromia regional state, it decided to pre-emptively remove us from the political space by concocting a trumped-up charge that has nothing to do with me and my colleagues. That is why we are here today.
Second, we see this trial as a trial of the collective aspiration of the Oromo people and our ongoing struggle for political emancipation and self-governance. The nature of the charges chosen by the prosecution and the narrative that accompanies those charges demonstrate that the case is not simply against us, the defendants named in this case, in our individual capacity. This is a charge deliberately put together by the government to defame, belittle, delegitimize, and denigrate the struggle of the Oromo people.
Having said that, I want to comment briefly on the specific charges against me and some issues raised the state prosecution. In summary, the charges against me include (1) ordering attacks against Orthodox Christian clergies, (2) inciting violence among nations and nationalities, specifically against ethnic Amharas, and (3) conspiring to overthrow the government through force.
Your Honours, these accusations are not only false and wholly untrue, but they also contradict my world views, background and track record as an activist.
First, I am a product of a marriage between a Muslim father and a Christian mother. My father, Siraj Mohammed Tufa Jillo, is a Muslim Arsi Oromo. My mother, Fantu/Shemsi Tola Buli Bune, is a Christian Tulema Oromo. I married to Arfase Gemeda, a protestant Christian whose parents are from Borena and Mecha Oromo. Arfase has been a tenacious and unfailing defender of the Oromo people who has been on the Oromo political scene long before me.We have a son who we named Oromo.
In addition to being a product of a marriage between a Muslim father and a Christian woman, I also work with people of diverse religious backgrounds. I could not have the kind of irrational and bigoted religious animus against Christians when I grew up in a religiously diverse household and working with people of diverse religious background or fighting for a religious diverse community. But the reality is that this accusation is false and inconsistent with my background and track record. For me, religious equality, tolerance, and peaceful co-existence are not just important principles that I uphold in my public and private life but also an integral part of my lived experience. For me, respect for diversity and plurality is a way of life, not some facile gesture I talk about because it is politically convenient.
I find this accusation ludicrous and so wildly outlandish. I will leave the ultimate judgement to the court, but I want the honourable court to know that these accusations were not new and they were part and parcel of a broader campaign against the Qeerroo movement and the Oromo quest for self-determination. This campaign has been ongoing for decades but intensified in recent years. As an individual who played a key role in this movement over the last decade, I have been targeted by a well-coordinated and financed campaign by the government and its supporters. A key part of this campaign is to vilify and demonise me by conjuring an image of a violent and radical Muslim. What makes the current situation different is that these same allegations are being levelled against me at an official level camouflaged as a question of law and justice. I want to make it clear that this accusation, which draws on deep-rooted Oromophobic and Islamophobic tropes, is deliberately manufactured by those on power to construct an alternative image of a violent Muslim fanatic to advance their goals of delegitimizing my cause and disparage the struggle of the Oromo people.
I was also accused of inciting ethnic violence, particularly against the Amhara. Again, this is simply not true. Everyone who has followed my political career over the years knows that this allegation is completely untrue and contrary to the political strategy I have pursued and the alliances I have managed to build. I do not deny the fact that I have spoken out in defence of diversity, plurality, and multi-ethnic federalism in Ethiopia, and that my vocal defence of these values has angered those who do not like the idea of diverse communities existing side by side in peace and harmony. I never believed that the interest of any society would be advanced by attacking any other society for any reason whatsoever.
Let me offer a few examples to support my point here:
(1) During the struggle against the EPRDF regime, I and my fellow activists were able to develop an inclusive and accommodating strategy that is focused on putting pressure on the ruling elites than targeting civilians living in Oromia. We collaborated with activists with Amhara nationalist movement. We enabled and provided support for the OPDO and ANDM to work together to facilitate a smooth and orderly transition. I have played an important role in the formation and implementation of the cooperation between the two nations, known as Oromara. We prevented horizontal communal conflict that targets minority ethnic groups who lived in Oromia, and we showed that our struggle was with the oppressive government regime instead of individuals belonging to one or another ethnic group. No Tigrayan was targeted in Oromia.
(2) On my return to Ethiopia in August 2018, I travelled to Bahir Dar, the Amhara regional capital, to explore fostering collaborative and constructive relationships with representatives and elites of the region. I advised the youth to push for a peaceful and democratic transition by resolving the historical and contemporary divisions between the Amhara and Oromo political communities through dialogue. During my stay in Bahir Dar and after I returned to Finfine, I met with senior officials and tried to create a forum for political scholars to continue negotiations between the two nations. Although the allegation against me is that I exposed the Amhara people to attack, I did the opposite. My accusers today are well aware that I have long been trying to bring the Oromo and Amhara people together for a peaceful and prosperous future.
(3) The border clashes between Oromia and Somalia a few years ago is another evidence demonstrating my commitment to bring together communities and resolve disputes by peaceful means. After returning to Ethiopia, I worked hard to bring peace between the two nations and renew the solidarity between them. I invited tribal leaders from both sides of the border for dialogue. I travelled to the area and countries around the world where influential figures from these communities were located such as Kenya, Minneapolis, Djibouti, and Dubai, where I worked with others to bring people together in a spirit of solidarity and reconciliation. These efforts have helped foster a more peaceful co-existence between the two communities.
(4) I have also travelled to Harar to help resolve the dispute between the Harar city administration and the rural residents of the Harar region. I met with Harari and Oromo elders and religious leaders and discussed with regional and neighbouring zone leaders, to find a peaceful and timely resolution to the crisis. Similarly, I have played a vital role in the process of bringing peace to Dire Dawa city where I worked tirelessly with the city administration and local elders to create an environment of understanding to solve the issues.
(5) Nearly two years ago, a large-scale ethnic conflict broke out in Western Oromia. Leading to the collapse of the government structure and leaving the local population vulnerable and without protection. Bekele Gerba, the second accused in this case, and I went to the area to find an amicable resolution to the problem. And through dialogue and stabilization, we have been able to reunite the people who were cut off from the rest of the country, reopen closed government institutions, and restore social and economic ties. After the visit, we have returned back to Finfinnee and reported the grievances we had heard from the public in the form of a report to the federal government officials and military leaders. Also, we have proposed a solution and begged the concerned bodies to address the matter immediately. But our pleas have been ignored, and the situation in the area has now escalated.
Honourable court, I spent my entire political life – my time, knowledge, and energy – to bring people together and make peace. Contrary to the allegation, I strived for equality and justice rooted in mutual respect and co-operation.
The third and final allegation against me is that I armed Oromo youth to overthrow the government by unconstitutional means. This is entirely false and concocted by the authorities to give substance to the image of a violent Muslim Oromo nationalist the administration tried to depict to scare its supporters. In my political career, I never advocated armed struggle as a means of political struggle. I am known for advocating for peaceful change. I also practised what I preached in public. This is known by the majority of Ethiopians, including my accusers. I believed and continue to believe that peaceful resistance is a more resilient and safe method to bring about a positive and democratic change in societies.
My fierce support and defence of peaceful resistance were based on extensive research into various resistance movements from the anti-colonial periods to the present. I have gained theoretical and practical knowledge studying at world-leading academic institutions such as Stanford, Oxford, and Columbia Universities and their scholars who have done extensive research in the field. I travelled from India to Serbia to work in think tanks and develop my understanding of non-violent resistance methods and the conditions for a successful peaceful resistance in a country like Ethiopia. I had the opportunity to serve as a consultant and analyst for organisations working on the causes, and consequences of the Arab Spring.
We were able to peacefully change the dictatorial system in our country within a short period because we pursued a strategy that took account of Ethiopia’s past and present as well as the various actors operating within the political space.
Given what we have achieved through a peaceful means in 2018, Your Honour, there was no reason for me or my comrades to change our strategy. Indeed, after I decided to get involved in formal politics, I decided to join the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), which participated in peaceful struggle for the last two decades despite conditions that rendered a peaceful struggle impossible.
After I returned to Ethiopia, I spent considerable time trying to find a way to get Ethiopia beyond a culture in which political power is gained and secured through the gun. I urged the government to implement the DDR (Disarm Demobilize Reintegrate) program as organizations that were struggling to achieve their political goals through armed struggle returned to the country. Your Honour, another notable moment is two years ago when as a result of the large-scale conflict and the collapse of government structures in Western Oromia made the entire population extremely vulnerable. The second defendant, Bekele Gerba, and I, along with the Abba Gadaas, Haadha Siinqees, and Oromo scholars, were able to accept the mission of both sides and travel to the conflict zone to resolve the conflict. Although the attempt to bring lasting peace has failed due to the failure of the government to implement the DDR, we made a concerted effort to resolve the differences between the warring factions and to end the vicious cycle of war in our country.
In conclusion, Your Honour, this case is not about accountability or justice. This case is not about legality or rule of law. We are not charged because we committed a criminal offence. We were arrested and detained because the ruling party felt that it could not win an election in Oromia if my party is allowed to participate in a free, competitive and fair election as mandated by the constitution. As I stated at the outset, this case is also goes beyond me and my party. This case is designed to squash the dignity of the Oromo people and besmirch the Oromo national struggle for self-determination. Since the beginning of Emperor Haile Selassie’s rule, the Oromo have been the victim of systematic economic exploitation and political oppression. Subsequent Ethiopian governments did the same. They humiliated the Oromo people and denigrated the Oromo national struggle. The case against us and other Oromo leaders bear the hallmarks of such an attack against the Oromo aspiration.
It is important to note that it was the Oromo people who lost the precious voice of freedom, artist Haacaaluu Hundeessaa, on 29 June 2020. It was the Oromo people who were accused of killing their icon and imprisoned in thousands. It was the Oromo who were subjected to an unprecedented propaganda campaign by the government and its supporters, accusing our tolerant community of massacring minorities that lived among us for nearly a century where the reality is that the overwhelming majority of those killed in the violence were Oromos. Contrary to the toxic propaganda by callous forces who unashamedly used the violence to galvanise support for their campaign of dismantling multinational federalism, most of those who lost their lives were killed by government forces.
Therefore, Your Honour, the case before this court is an extension of these political campaigns against the Oromo cause and those of us advocating to advance this cause. We are being tried for acts of incitement only because the ruling party wants to seize power without a democratic challenge and impose its ideology on the Ethiopian people without any real option. As events over the last few months have demonstrated, it is now clear what lies behind these charges and our unjust detention and why such an approach is leading our country down a dangerous path.
Lastly, Your Honour, I am not before this court because I committed a criminal offence. I am here because I stood for and vigorously defended the cause of my people. I am a political prisoner standing trial because I unapologetically fought to advance the wishes and aspirations of my people, which the authorities found threatening.
Jawar Siraj Mohammed
March 22, 2021
Finfinnee, Oromia, Ethiopia

Ethiopia: Global Scholars of Tigrai Scholars (GSTS) letter to Permanent Representatives of US to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield – A Call for the Security Council to Reverse the Decision of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to Conduct a Joint Investigation with the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (23.03.2021)

Ethiopia: Statement on Gender-Based Violance in Tigray region of Ethiopia (22.03.2021)

Ethiopia: Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) – OLF statement on current terror and havoc caused by the deployment of Amhara Militia to the Oromia Regional State (22.03.2021)

We have been receiving reports from credible sources that the Amhara Militias and special forces have launched an armed attack on civilians in the Amhara Regional State, Oromia Special Administrative Zone in districts such as Atayi, Afrata, Jiille and other several places. Also, today, March 21, 2021, the Amhara Regional Government has released a press statement admitting that they have deployed the Militias in different parts of the Oromia Regional State under the pretext of restoring peace and the rule of law in the Region. The question is why the Amhara Militias needed to be deployed in Oromia Regional State to restore peace and order while the Oromia Regional State has its own security forces to do so, provided that there was security threat, in the first place, in those districts? It is customary for the Ethiopian Government to use such excuses to justify their unconstitutional actions, and this one is no different.

Several unverified social media postings originating from Atayi, Afrata, Jiillee and other several places show burning smokes, suggesting that the Militias might have launched a large-scale attack on civilians likely caused civilian causalities. OLF calls for an immediate end to such senseless attacks on civilians and their properties, and these deployed Militias must pull out from those districts. As we have already witnessed in Tigray and Benishangul Gumuz Regional States, the Amhara Militias have crossed Regional boundaries and attack civilians. Such self-importance is a recipe for triggering a clash between Nations along ethnic lines. And therefore, the Federal Government, however it is weak, must stop the Amhara Militias from terrorizing citizens and interfering in their daily life.

The Oromo Liberation Front has also learned that the Amhara Regional State has deployed a large number of Militias in various parts of the Oromia Regional State. Creditable sources are reporting that these Militias are deployed in:
• West Welloga in districts like Gidami, Gaba Arbi, Mugi, and other districts.
• East Welloga in districts such as Guttin, Haro Limmu, Hagamsa, and Amuru.
• West Showa in districts like Gindeberet and Jaldu.
• North Showa in Darraa area.

Not knowing the motives behind this deployment, the residents in those locals and surrounding districts are living in fear and anxiety. It is also important to note that the Amhara Militias and special forces that have massacred the Gumuz and attack Oromia citizens in Benishangul Gumuz Regional state and Tigray people in Tigray Regional State. They are reported for killing innocent civilians whom they think don’t belong to their ethnic group, raping women, burning down homes and properties, destroying farmers’ harvest, etc.

Knowing the Amhara Militias from their previous actions, the deployment of these forces in large quantities is causing stresses and security threats to residents in the locality. Even the Amhara Militias are becoming a challenge for the Regional States to handle them as well. Therefore, it is crucial to bring such a terrifying acts of the Amhara Regional State Militias to an end before getting out of control and aggravating a civil war among Nations in Ethiopia.

In conclusion, the OLF requests the Federal authorities to immediately withdraw the Amhara Militias deployed in a different part of Oromia and safeguard innocent civilians from such a terrifying Amhara Militias. We would also like to call upon the international community to be vigilant about the Amhara Militias’ actions and the potential consequences on civilians in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa’s security.

Victory to the Masses
Oromo Liberation Front
Finfinnee
March 22, 2021

Ethiopian Diaspora for Research and Education Advancement through Parternship (ED-REAP): ED-REAP calls for an Immediate Restoration of Peace and Stopping of Atrocities to the People of Tigray in Ethiopia (20.03.2021)

Ethiopia: Global Society of Tigrai Scholars (GSTS) letter to United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guteres – Subject: A Call for Action Regarding the UNDP’s Note to Your Excellency on the War in Tigray (11.03.2021)

Ethiopia: UNICEF – Continuing crisis for children in Tigray, Ethiopia, amid reports of atrocities (19.03.2021)

Statement by UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore

NEW YORK, 19 March 2021 – “UNICEF remains deeply concerned about the continuing crisis in Tigray, Ethiopia, and its worrying implications for children and their access to basic social services.

“Five months since the start of the conflict, a clearer picture is emerging of killings and sexual violence against women and children in Tigray. The reported murder of at least 20 children at Maryam Dengelat Church last November will continue to haunt families and communities.

“Schools and health centers have been looted, vandalized and occupied by armed forces and groups. Organizations on the ground have reported deliberate attacks on health facilities and warned that the limited health services that are functional are unable to cope with the needs.

“According to assessments conducted at the end of February 2021, violence and looting have left nearly 60 per cent of health care facilities not operational. Some 57 per cent of boreholes in 13 towns surveyed are not functional and a quarter of the region’s schools have sustained damage from the conflict.

“Families continue to flee for their lives.

“We are working with our partners to ensure that critical supplies continue to reach those most in need and that populations can safely access essential services. We are also stepping up our staff presence in the region to respond to the scale of the challenge.

“However, humanitarian aid alone is not enough.

“Monitoring, reporting and protection services for those affected must be urgently expanded to meet the growing needs of survivors.

“Parties to the conflict must ensure that children are protected from harm at all times. Basic service outlets, such as health centers and schools, must be protected and the safety and security of everyone working in and accessing those services guaranteed.”

Opinion: Abiy gives a “final notice” today after starting the “final phase” in the end of November 2020

Today’s statement by the Federal Police Commission was issued as Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced the start of final phase of law enforcement operation and called on “the people of Mekelle and its environs to disarm, stay at home and stay away from military targets and take all necessary precautions.”” (Addis Standard, 26.11.2020).

Today is a weird day. As the prolonged conflict between the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Eritrea and Amhara Paramilitary Group ‘Fano’ against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) that started early in November 2020. In the end of the month… about the 25th or 26th November 2020 the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali that the Law Enforcement Operation was going its final phase.

However, we are now in the middle of March 2021 and the Final Phase isn’t over. Even when the Ethiopian, Eritrean and Amhara armed personnel is fighting one enemy. This mechanical and conventional war is continuing. Where the devastation reports are coming out. Where hospital are looted and used as bases. Woman have been raped and civilians killed in massacres. Villages burned down and so fourth. The state are leaving no stone unturned to seal the victory.

Every time there is a report or an article in the Foreign Press. It is dismissed and debunked by the state. While the state is willing to lie about the current state of affairs. Therefore, the state never takes any responsibility for the efforts of the little reporting that is happening. While they are only accepting their narrative. The state are not accepting the ills of the wars and only points at the TPLF.

Yes, the TPLF have been an bad actor in the past. However, currently the baddest actor is the Prosperity Party and Federal Government who is killing its own, starving its own and getting many either internally displaced or seeking refuge abroad. That is the mere reality of this. The giant elephant in the room is the war-crimes and the crimes against humanity. That we know the state wants to blame on the TPLF. While not proving anything.

Already on the 18th December 2020 the state started to offer bounty on the TPLF leaders. However, that is not working or people are not co-operating with the interim government in the region. Neither is the state done with its final phase. That is why they got to send a final notice to the TPLF. This is happening after the warnings of late November 2020. The state is clearly not winning or having the control its speaking off. When they have to do this yet again.

Prime Minister Abiy is clearly not winning this war. Even when he has three armies against one. By share amount of numbers and abilities of the state. He should win, but they are clearly not able to outsmart or outplay the TPLF. If they was able to do so…

The Office of the Prime Minister wouldn’t say this:

The government is calling on senior TPLF military and political leaders, who are suspected to have played a key role in the crime, to surrender peacefully to law enforcement agencies. The government calls on these leaders to do their part by learning from the devastation and damage so far, presenting themselves to justice, preventing further national loss and not shedding the blood of citizens in vain” (Abiy, 19.03.2021).

This is the same government that said they had them in the end of November 2020 and put bounties on their head in the middle of December 2020. They are now in March 2021 thinking they would cease the battle and leave their swords. Knowing that they will never be accepted and be seen as “treasonous” by this government. The state will also ensure their demise and stop them from being a viable part of politics. Therefore, why would the TPLF do that?

Especially, when they had constitutional grievances, which the state used as reasons. The state had already for months retaliated and stopped the business between the leadership in Mekelle and Addis Ababa. Therefore, the state knows they played apart of this too and they we’re already prepared with mechanical brigades and soldiers on two fronts before the Northern Command was hit. This is why the state knew what they we’re doing and it was well planned.

We know the state will use all means to discredit and go after the TPLF. While never taking any responsibility or being accountable. Still, they will blame the aid agencies, media houses and all reporting happening, which isn’t directly copied from the state.

This is all known now. There is two types of truths in Ethiopia. The actual truth and what the state publishes as truth. The state could at one point say the Tigray region was accessible for aid agencies, but at that point …. most of the region was out of their reach. Which is still an issue and the state will still claim they are covering everything. That they are saying without proving it, but expecting us to eat out of their hands.

Prime Minister Abiy is again coming with a harsh warning. Like that will be “final”. If it would be final. The Final Phase would already be done, but the PM opened a can of worms and he cannot put them back in the can. He has already unleashed a monster he cannot control and his now a war-lord. That is who the Prime Minister is now.

Abiy is a warlord and acts like one now. That is why his continuing this and thinks he can end it all with statements like these. They look good with headlines, but they will not resolve the war. The war he has started will not end with words like these. No, he cannot bully the enemy like this and thinking he can overcome them this way. That will not happen.

Prime Minister Abiy might says otherwise… but we know the deal. The bullets will fly until the end of the enemies. He will ensure their end at all costs. With the knowledge of this and his will to get total control. The PM will let this region burn and its citizens suffer, because the TPLF hurt his pride and he cannot put that aside. Peace.