On July 12th, more than 50 Somali civilians were indiscriminately massacred by Oromo gunmen in Moyale amidst rising ethnic clashes between Somalis and Oromos along border towns. Tens of thousands of Somali civilians have been left displaced; their houses and properties have been burnt and confiscated leading to a large-scale humanitarian crisis.
Neither Ethiopian government nor Oromo Regional State has taken measures to stop the tragic killings of innocent Somalis and to avoid large-scale confrontations between Somalis and Oromos.
Somalis and Oromos have lived side by side for centuries, yet in recent times, border towns have become a site of violence and suffering orchestrated by the TPLF- fuelling enmity and conflict between the neighbouring peoples. While the Oromo militias are armed by the TPLF, Somalis have had their weapons confiscated by the Liyu Police leaving them defenceless and unable to protect themselves in the increasingly volatile border towns.
It is reported that violence against Somalis which has led to tragic losses are concentrated in areas such as Jinacsani and Babili in the zone of Faafan, Moyale and Dhakaa Suuftu in Liibaan, and Qarsaa Duula in Afdheer. Furthermore, areas, where Somali homes have been burnt, include Dire Dima, Ceel goos, Kojawa, Tuma, Jaamu, and Ban Qorile in Liibaan Zone where over 50 people have also been killed. On top of this, Somalis living in Oromia particularly in Aabaabaru, Darmi, Haraqalo, Waato Bureeri, Darmi, Waadara, Bitaata, Kur Kuru, Duruura, Hamareesa, Koonfi Ambo located in Guji have also been severely impacted by the border violence. The defenceless Somali civilians living in these areas are essentially trapped and unable to escape or seek refuge as they are directly persecuted for the violence in border areas. Their houses have been burnt and their livestock confiscated; many are at risk of starvation or falling into the hands of Oromo militias only to be killed.
ONLF categorically condemns the loss of innocent lives at the hands of armed Oromo militias in the strongest possible terms.
ONLF warns the Oromo people against taking their grievance against the Ethiopian government and its surrogates on innocent Somali civilians, who themselves were victims of atrocities for the last twenty years. A civil war between Somalis and Oromos will be costly to both nations and if this trend of Killing civilian Somalis in Oromo lands continue; the consequences will be dire for both communities.
ONLF has previously condemned acts of violence against Oromo civilians publicly; however, so far Oromo organizations and intellectuals are not reciprocating. In fact, some prominent Oromo members are fanning hatred between the two communities.
At this critical time, ONLF calls upon the Prime Minister and the Oromo Regional state to secure the safety and security of the border areas and protect defenceless civilians. It is of utmost importance to effectively address this mounting political and humanitarian challenge of the highest regard which we are facing. More than ever, this demands immediate attention and a swift resolution to put a halt to these recurring killings.
Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF)