Ethiopia and more ethnic massacres reported

Ethiopia and more ethnic massacres reported

Noriko Watanabe and Sawako Utsumi

Modern Tokyo Times

After Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia went to the frontline last year, the threat of the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) launching an attack on Addis Ababa subsided dramatically. However, the weakness of the nation-state and ethnic tensions persist.

The tinkering of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) into a single Prosperity Party under the auspices of Abiy – sought a unitary approach. However, the EPRDF was a fusion of the power dynamics on the ground that enabled the country to forge ahead on many economic fronts.

Africa News reports, “The Prosperity Party was established after Prime Minister Abiy after he initiated a process to replace the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, a coalition of four major ethnic-based parties and three support parties which were crafted by Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) under the leadership of the late Meles Zenawi in 1991.”

Ongoing talks and back channels between central forces under Abiy and an array of different groups – including the TPLF, OLA, and others – are at various stages. Hence, the reports of horrendous massacres and mass rapes must be addressed by all parties to the conflict – if not, then simmering inter-ethnic hatred will erupt and continue to lead to the fragility of the nation-state.

A video circulating of men in military uniforms burning civilians to death is another grim reminder of the brutality that blights the country. The Guardian reports, “The Ethiopia government communication service said in a statement on its Facebook page that the incident occurred in the Ayisid Kebele of Metekel zone in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, a site of frequent ethnic violence for more than a year in which hundreds of civilians have died.”

The massacre above is outside the remits of the main conflict that threatens the unity of Ethiopia. This in itself highlights the complexity of the situation on the ground.

The Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes at Amnesty International, Sarah Jackson, condemned horrendous abuses by the TPLF. Amnesty reports, “Tigrayan forces have shown utter disregard for fundamental rules of international humanitarian law which all warring parties must follow. Evidence is mounting of a pattern of Tigrayan forces committing war crimes and possible crimes against humanity in areas under their control in the Amhara region from July 2021 onwards. This includes repeated incidents of widespread rape, summary killings and looting, including from hospitals…”

Lee Jay Walker says, “All sides have committed massacres, including government forces, the TPLF, and others. Hence, the need for national reconciliation by all main parties to the crisis. Therefore, complex issues concerning ethnic, regional, and political dynamics – that were addressed under the EPRDF under the late Meles Zenawi – need to be tackled without the threat of further bloodshed.”


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