The attack in Wollega and Benisahngul said to have systemic support. Benishangul Gumuz regional state peace and security office not only lacks capacity to defend ethnic-based attacks that is spiraling to ethnic cleansing but also does not have interested in doing so, says one of Ethiopia’s opposition parties National Movement of Amhara 

Ethiopia : reports of a new massacre of ethnic Amhara and ethnic Agaw in Wollega, BenishangulEthiopia : reports of a new massacre of ethnic Amhara and ethnic Agaw in Wollega, Benishangul
Benishangul region (Map :google)

December 15, 2020 

The Oromo and Benishangul regions of Ethiopia seem to make headlines on state media very often for taking actions against extremist groups in the region with a claim that “hundreds of anti-peace forces have been killed.” 

In reality, the security situation in these regions does not seem to be making much progress. As was the case in the past, the main targets are ethnic Amahra and recently ethnic Agaw. 

New reports of massacres are of both ethnic groups in Wellega, in the Oromo region, and in the Benishangul Gumuz region of Ethiopia.  It happened in the last two days. 

The number of victims from what is believed to be ethnic cleansing attacks is unspecified. 

Prime Minister and his deputy Demeke Mekonen are yet to speak about it yet.  The pictures are graphic showing bodies of victims including children.  In October of this year, PM was said to have given directions to security forces to end violence in Benishangul Gumz region. However, there had been at least three attacks against ethnic Amhara in the region after he gave “order to stop the violence in the region.”

The federal and regional governments have been criticized for not taking the recurring massacres in both regions for what it is – a systemic ethnic cleansing of ethnic Amhara. 

Systemic because it has been proved that there has been involvement of government officials in both regions that seems to have facilitated the killings. Extremist forces engaged in the recurring killings are given  structural support -whether it is legal or administrative.  

A few months ago, about 45 senior level government officials were either purged or arrested in the Benishangul region with the massacre of ethnic Amhara.  

The National Movement of Amhara (NaMA) has issued a statement regarding the latest ethnic cleansing. For NaMA, not only is that government unable to ensure security of citizens — which is the basic duty of government — but also government authorities are providing protection for extremist forces in these regions. 

Most of the killings in these regions were linked with Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) — a party that is no longer in a position coordinate following a crushing defeat by the Ethiopian Defense Force.  

NaMA claims that the extremist forces in Benishangul Gumuz region (including in the government structure) have got a new form of support although the identity of the support group is not explicitly mentioned. However, it is noted that the ethnic cleansing in both regions  do have a basis in ideologically ingrained hate towards ethnic Amhara, and a legal and administrative support for it. 

“It is imperative for all Amhara people, Amhara regional states and Amhara political organizations to take a firm stand to reverse the attack on ethnic Amhara,” said NaMA. 

As well, it called on the Federal government and Amhara regional state to take a stand against the attack in both regions and take actions.  “If the government is not defending the people, Amhara people will resort to natural right to defend themselves,” it was said. 

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