Ethiopia: “It’s very dangerous. Everybody is living in fear. They imprison people every day. People have disappeared.”- Al Jazeera Reported

Al  Jazeera in today’s news has reported that Largest ethnic group in Ethiopia continues to rally against the government despite crackdown.

Six-year-old Abi Turi and her nine-year-old brother Dereje have not been attending classes in Wolonkomi.

Their school was closed in January as the Ethiopian government began what its critics call a crackdown on protests by the Oromo, the country’s largest ethnic group.

It is uncertain how many people have died in clashes between security forces and protesters since November, when a series of demonstrations began.

Local estimates put the figure at between 80 and above 200. The New York-based Human Rights Watch has said that more than 200 people may have died in about six months, a figure the government denies.

“With regards to allegations from human rights groups or self-styled human rights protectors, the numbers they come with, the stories they often paint, are mostly plucked out thin air,” Getachew Reda, the information minister, told Al Jazeera.

Abi and Dereje’s mother was among those shot in January. She was hit by a bullet in the neck. Despite receiving medical treatment, she died of her wounds in March.

“The little girl cries and keeps asking where her mother is. We feel her pain,” said the children’s grandfather Kena Turi, a farmer. “The older one cried when his mother was shot and died, but now it seems he understands she’s gone.”

Oromo students began rallying to protest against a government plan they said was intended to expand the boundaries of Addis Ababa, the capital, into Oromia’s farmland.

Reporting and recording human rights abuses is also risky, activists told Al Jazeera. Local and foreign journalists said attempts were made to intimidate them, with some detained.

Al Jazeera spoke with local reporters who said they were too afraid to even try and cover the issue.

“It’s very dangerous. Everybody is living in fear. They imprison people every day. People have disappeared. Doing this work is like selling my life,” a human rights activist told Al Jazeera, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Protests continue

Oromia is the country’s largest region, and many there believe the government did not want to redevelop services and roads, but that it was engaged in a landgrab.

Though the government shelved its “Integrated Development Master Plan” due to the tension, protests continued as the Oromo called for equal rights.

In February, another anti-government rally turned violent. Nagase Arasa, 15, and her eight-year-old brother Elias say they were shot in their legs while a demonstration happened near their home.

“I was in the back yard walking to the house when I was shot,” Nagase told Al Jazeera.

“My brother was in the house. I couldn’t walk I was bleeding. Then I was hit again when I was on the ground I felt the pain then my brother came to help me and he was shot too.”

Ethiopia has an ethnically-based federal system that gives a degree of self-rule to the Oromo people.

But the Oromo opposition, some of whose members have been detained, says the system has been corrupted by the ruling coalition, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front. 

A ‘marginalised’ community

Merera Gudina, an Oromo politician, said that members of his community feel marginalised — excluded from cultural activities, discriminated against because of their different language, and not consulted in political or economic decisions.

With double-digit growth over the last decade, Ethiopia has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, but the majority of the Oromo remain poor.

“Until the Oromo’s get their proper place in this country I don’t think it [dissent] is going to go. The government wants to rule in the old way; people are resisting being ruled in the old way,” Gudina said.

Read the whole report here on Al Jazeera

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  • Tibesso 8 years ago

    oromia is occupied by Agezi force we don’t have state government we are lead by Agezi,there is no human right in oromia why united nation kept silence wayene is killing our Doctors secretly they killed Dector Amin Abagomol around wolkite town in South nation nationality people by car accident dirama this is what the wayane CIA’s done…

  • Yosee 8 years ago

    The only solution:TPLF and its cronies must relinquish power. Remove their Facist Agazi army, return all the looted wealth to the legitimate owners the PEOPLE and be accountable for the heinous crimes they committed against innocent people. TPLF is becoming worse than ISIS.

  • Murata 8 years ago

    People live in fear, yes people live in fear in Ethiopia ,the government of Ethiopia killed , detained and torch Oromo people since November 2015 , but the international community keep quite than protecting civilians causality in Oromia, Ethiopia.

  • Dame 8 years ago

    Yes Oromo protest must continue us much before.wee need Freedom ! Why we are killed by Wayane every were ?????? We are not human being?? Why …………………………………………..yeroo dhaladhee ka’ee hanga kunoo guddadhee jirutti Oromoo bakka hundaatti hidhamuuf ajjeefamun arga dhaha.#Aljeezera thank you for ure news please again see as ……!

  • Barentuma 8 years ago

    I don’t know why The Eastern governments and other other great supporter of Ethiopia choice be quiet about the genocide continued on largest nation(Oromo nation) by Ethiopian government! Every body can be quiet but we trust God one day we will help by Him!!!!!

  • Mulatu 8 years ago

    1- where the imprisoned people are going ? Is it really impossible to identify where these government securities are taking all these people whom all human right activists say disappeared ?
    Disappearance of human being unless they are killed is amazing not to be identified in the era of thecnologyadvanced thecnology unless the world don’t to work on it .

  • D gemechu 8 years ago

    Popular news media like aljeezera those who have skills to investigate this issue and let the world know what’s going on in Ethiopia are already no access to the country and in general to the community at large. I appreciate what you are doing. Please keep doing what is wright and true. The truth is always true how much the Ethiopian government dined the Wright and freedom of the people. Justice is demanded by the oppressed people is not given by the government.