– The Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) released another statement yesterday in which it once again called on the international community to press for the immediate withdrawal of Eritrean troops from the Oromia and Benishangul-Gumuz regions. The party spoke of a “new large-scale deployment” of Eritrean soldiers in the Oromia and Benishangul-Gumuz regions. “Our information from specific sources shows that recently more than two divisions of Eritrean armies, estimated at 30,000 soldiers, were recently deployed from different directions to Oromia and Benishangul-Gumuz.” OLF said.
In its previous statement, the OLF detailed the brutalization of civilians in the Horro Guduru, Kellem Wollega, West Wollega, Guji and Borana zones of Oromia and the Metekel zone in the Benishangul Gumuz region. The OLF said it had “tangible evidence” received from local residents, allegations that have been denied by Oromia’s regional government. The OLF’s statement was followed by a report in which a resident of the Horo Guduru zone, Abay Choman Woreda, said that “armed forces dressed in ENDF uniforms and speaking Tigrinya” were persecuting civilians.
According to Regarding yesterday’s statement, “Since the beginning of April 2021, heavily armed battalions of Eritrean soldiers have been stationed in Oromia along with Amhara militias and ENDF zones in the Oromia and Benishangul-Gumuz regions. The party also addressed the “completion of the implementation of the formation of the Oromia Regional National Transitional Government (ORNTG)”.
The OLF’s allegations are consistent with the statement made by a resident of the Guji Zone, he spoke to Addis Standard about the conditions of anonymity for fear of reprisals. The eyewitness, who is an official of the city of Nagelle Borana, spoke of harassment and human rights violations in the community by people he recognized as Eritrean soldiers. He recalled the recent clashes between armed rebels and government security forces in the Guji and Borana zones. According to the eyewitness, in addition to forces from the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF), Oromia special forces and local militias, there are other security forces who speak neither Afaan Oromo nor Amharic. “They speak in Tigrinya and have been deployed in other woreda around Nagelle Borana since last week,” he said, adding, “They wear ENDF troop uniforms, but we hear them speaking Tigrinya when they go through bars, cafes and restaurants other facilities go. “in the city.”
The eyewitness described the toll of the ongoing arguments about the livelihood of the community. He spoke about the church in Gumi Eldalo Woreda, which is 60 kilometers from Nagelle Borana. Most of Malka Guba Kebele’s parishioners in woreda have fled their homes, he said: “During these operations, the pastoral community lost their homes and their cattle.” The “operations” are aimed at the “hunt for OLA”, according to him, cracking down on civilians in the operations includes burning houses and looting of properties. He also spoke about a decision by the local administration to ban residents from holding cell phones to prevent information from being passed on to the OLA. “In Yabello, Nagelle Borana, Bullehora, Liban, Gumi Edalo, Goro Dola, Tuluferda, Arero, Wachito Woredas, holding a cell phone is imprisonment,” he said, adding, “Even students caught with a cell phone get caught expelled from school. ” . “In his testimony, the eyewitness shed light on the situation of the community, which, according to him, has been banned from means of communication for over eight months until access to emergency medical services is difficult. “We can’t call an ambulance for women to work because all of our cell phones are being confiscated.”
He continued to set out the human rights abuses committed in the community with “Hunt Shene” as Pretext. Residents accused of supporting the OLA or affiliation with the armed group face many forms of harassment, forcing some communities to flee to neighboring Kenya “to save their lives”. He also exposed the mass arrests of civilians who have been detained for months without going to trial. Detained officers’ salaries are cut for months without a reason, as evidenced by the attestation of the Nagelle Borana resident.
In a similar development, the Oromia Police Commission issued a statement in which they denied Declared victory in a military operation allegedly carried out against ‘Shanee’ (a term government officials use to refer to the Oromo Liberation Army). Oromia Police Commission said it killed 95 and injured “many” in the four-day operation. The operation was carried out in collaboration with Oromia special forces in the East Oromia and South Oromia zones, the statement said.
The “special operation” was carried out between June 1st in the Guji zones and Borana performed and 4th 2021 according to statement. “A large number of weapons have been confiscated,” the statement said, describing the weapon types as Bren, Klaschinkov, SKS and M14. In addition, motorcycles, medicines, food rations and cooking utensils were confiscated at the scene, the Oromia Police Commission announced.
The Oromia Police Commission thanked the community for their support in providing information and other means. It also reaffirmed the security forces’ commitment to ensuring peace and law enforcement. The commission also thanked the security forces: “Police officers, local militias and members of the national defense are part of this glorious victory.” Thank you for your cooperation. “
Addis Standard reached out to the commander of the Oromia Police Commission to inquire about the nature of the Somali Regional Police’s involvement in the operation. Commander Ararsa Merdasa denied having knowledge of the statement, while Jarso Boru, head of the Borana Zone Peace and Security Office, said Addis Standard that the Somali regional police were repelling OLA fighters who were “to.” tried to flee “. Territories of the Somali region. “The Somali police involvement was limited to their jurisdiction.” said Jarso and assured that there were no civilian casualties in the operation. Similarly, on June 4, 2021, the OLA announced through its spokesman that it had won the “6-day clashes in Borana and Guji”, adding: “A considerable number of weapons were captured.”
The Guji Zone has been the scene of armed violence, resulting in the death and displacement of many people. Persistent armed violence has hampered humanitarian access to the area, resulting in restrictions on freedom of movement and operations for humanitarian organizations. A UNOCHA report released in May 2021 found that aid workers were subjected to intimidation, physical assault and arrest by security forces and unidentified military personnel.
The Gujii Zone Administrator Tadele Uddoo said Addis Standard that there were no Eritrean troops in the Guji zone. He said, “Yes, action has been taken against bandits. But we have no knowledge of Eritrean troops in the area. ” Addis Standard repeated attempts to with the commander of the Oromia Special Forces, the head of the communications office for the Oromia region, Borana -Zone administration and to contact the commander of the Metekel Zonale Police Commission: all in vain.