Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The marks of Aannolee, Azulee, and Chalanqoo/Calanqoo Cannot be erased from the memory of Oromo generations.

By Leenjiso Horo
January 2014
The marks of Aannolee, Azulee, and Chalanqoo Cannot be erased from the memory of successive Oromo generations and from the history of the Oromo people.  These marks are incorporated into our collective memory.  For this, centuries may pass, generations may come and go but the crimes of Abyssinia-the mutilation of breasts of women and girls and of the right hands of men and boys at Aannolee and the mass massacres at Azulee and Chalanqoo will not be erased, will never be diminished, and never be forgotten.
Menelik II's mutilation of breasts of women and girls and of hands of men and boys is the first one in warfare throughout written history-from antiquity to modern times, unless proven to the contray.  Those who support Menelik's genocide at Aannolee, Azulee, and Calanqoo as a "holy war" or as a war of "reunification of Ethiopia" should hold full entitlement to it.
During the campaign of colonization of the south in the late nineteenth-century king Menelik II of Abyssinia exterminated the Oromo population by 50%, Kaficho by 75%, Gimira by 80% and Madii by over 90% (Radio Simbirtu interview with Prof. Mekuria Bulcha, 19 December 2013, part 2). These are genocides of highest proportion.  The basic argument of the Abyssinian genocide denials has, however, remained the same as always—it never happened, the term "genocide" does not apply-it is a "reunification of Ethiopia."  Recently, the tactics of denial of genocide has been shifted from "reunification of Ethiopia" to "holy war."
Abyssinians always avoid public discourse of the genocide at Aannolee, Azulee, and Chalanqoo believing that sooner or later in the course of time that generation would pass from the scene and their children would become acculturated and assimilated in the Abyssinian way of life and Abyssinian political thought and then the issue of genocide dies out and will be forgotten.  However, what the Abyssinians forgot or failed to understand is that the genocide at Aannolee, Azulee, and Chalanqoo shapes not only the outlook of the immediate victims of the generation of the time but also of subsequent generations of the future.  It is very important for the descendents of the perpetrators- the deniers of Oromo genocide to engage introspection to face and learn from their own history.  It is time for the Nafxanyaas-the deniers of genocide to ask themselves question as to how that gross mass genocide could have occurred, instead of denying it and trying to maintain a false righteous self-image.
The Abyssinians are unable or unwilling to deal with the truth.  They have always refused to recognize the crimes committed against the peoples of the south, Oromo included as genocide.  Instead they elevated it to the level of a "holy war/qidus xorrinnat"; then took pride in it; identified with it, enthusiastically embraced it, glorified and glamorized it.  This campaign is in support of their political and religious elites, scholars, governments, institutions, and individuals those who have been preaching genocide committed against Oromo and the south as a "reunification of Ethiopia."
The Oromo Genocide and Tigrayans' attempt to deny it
Today, the Tigrayan regime is behind the discussion of the past genocide to divert attention from itself, while it is committing genocide itself more dangerous than that of the past ones.  It has undertaken open and total war campaign against the Oromo people.  It is vitally important, therefore, that we should focus our attention on current genocide the Tigrayan regime is committing, while at the same time reminding ourselves the genocide that the Amhara regime of Menelik II committed a century ago.  The Amharas have been denying the genocide against the Oromo and other southern peoples that their regime of Menelik II committed and now the Tigrayans are also denying the genocide that their regime is committing.
The Amharas are simply dancing and singing to the ghost of Menelik II but they do not possess the means and capabilities to commit anther genocide.  Today, it is the Tigrayan regime led by TPLF that is committing genocidal mass murder against the Oromo people; it is this regime that possesses the means and capabilities to commit genocide.  Its means are the army, paramilitary unit, the police force, special police or Liyyuu police, secret state agents, Death Squads, the bureaucratic and judicial system.  All of these are already fully utilized for this purpose.
The sudden descend of the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front (TPLF) upon Oromiyaa in 1991, set in a rapid motion a process to eliminate any opposition to its rule that culminate in the arrests, tortures and killings.  Then since 1992, it has been carrying out a systematic, methodical, pre-planned, and centrally-organized genocidal mass murder against the Oromo people.  Meles Zenawi was the notorious architect and organizer of policy of the Oromo genocide with his culprits and other thousands of perpetrators of genocide who are still implementing his policy after his death.  His brutality against Oromo people has surpassed that of all his predecessors combined.  His regime has erected concentration camps across Oromiyaa, camps such as Hursoo, Bilaattee, Dhidheessaa, Zuwaay, and Qalittii are the well known ones.  But numerous other clandestine prison cells where the victims are eliminated have been established across the empire.  The regime has openly undertaken a major Oromiyaa-wide persecution of Oromo. Hence Ordinary people, for the first time, being rounded up and sent to these clandestine centers for interrogation through torture.  In the torture, few survived and many perished.
The pattern of destruction has been repeated over and over in different parts of Oromiyaa.  Many of these repetitive destructions are far from the major cities; such repetition are a centrally design one. Further, reward structure set in place.  That reward is geared towards those who implement the policy.  The regional governors and officials who refuses to carry out orders to annihilate the Oromo are summarily replaced as disloyal and OLF agent.  Community leaders are arrested and persecuted.  Many of women, children, and elderly run into forests and deserts to escape slaughter.  Today, the Oromo people are in violent historical moment. They are the target of Tigrayan regime for physical extermination and forcible removal from their lands.  Hundreds of thousands have been killed; millions have been forced out from their lands and their lands haven been sold or leased to local and multination land-grabbers.
The Tigrayan regime has fully undertaken the implementation of the policy of Oromo extermination since 1992.  The Amhara genocidal denialists are fully subscribed to this policy.  In the Tigrayan regime's jails millions of Oromo perished as the result of starvation, disease, the harsh environment, and physical extermination.
We are the nation of heroes, heroines and victims.  We were the victims of genocide yesterday and we are the victims of genocide today.  Yesterday, we were victims of genocide under Amhara successive regimes and today, we are victims of genocide under the Tigrayan regime.  Indeed, we are a wounded and bled nation in our country by another nation-the Abyssinian nation.
We oftentimes say, never again to genocide in Oromiyaa.  We say, the seeds of Aannolee, Azulee, and Chalanqoo must not be allowed to sprout again in Oromiyaa.  And yet it has already sprout; violence is again around us; violence of genocide is still consuming our people.  Menelik's genocide at Aannolee, Azulee and Chalanqoo is reconstructed and renewed by Meles Zenawi and implemented Oromiyaa wide.  Hence, the past genocide has now become the present new genocide. Hence, the dead Oromo are still dead; more are still dying; expropriated Oromoland is still expropriated; The pillaging of Oromiyaa is at its height and the colonized Oromiyaa is still colonized.
The way forward
The way forward is Oromo nationalists’ unity and the fight against occupation. For this, it is important to rebuild the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) as superior mighty force both in quantity and quality to protect the population and secure liberation.  This enables the nation to drive out the Tigrayan regime and establish independent Democratic Republic of Oromiyaa.  Again, it is vitally important to remove Menelik's statue from Oromiyaa; establish National Genocide Memorial Day for the victims of Aannolee, Azulee and Chalanqoo.  This Oromo Genocide Memorial Day should be established and observed annually while we are still fighting for independence.  The date and the month must be different from Oromo Martyrs Day/Guyyaa Gootoota Oromoo.
No one escapes from the history of one's people.  For this, we should and must not allow the past to rest and to be forgotten.  Every generation must teach the succeeding generation about the past history, their heroes and heroines.  The past, the present as well as the future belong to the succeeding generations. Each new generation hold the entitlement of the past and the present.  For this, the establishment of the Oromo Genocide Memorial Day is the order of the day that the marks of Aannolee, Azulee, and Chalanqoo Cannot be erased from the memory of successive Oromo generations.
Oromiya Shall Be Free!

Leenjiso Horo can be reached at tguyyoo@yahoo.com


Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Ulfummaa Kaayyoo Qabsoo Sabaa

Raayyaa halagaa guddaan seenaa, aadaa, dudhaa fi afaaniin adda ta’e hidhannoo fi mala addaa qabu biyya Oromoo irra dhangla’ee qabachuun dhumisi irraan gahe waan galmeen jiru. Sanaan biyyaa fi qabeenyi saanii ni dhunfatame. Nammi dhuma irraa hafe kaan gabaa garbaatt gurgurame, kan tola akka raayyaa diinaa tajajilu tolfame. Erga cabuu saanii mirkaneeffatee duubas abbaa biyyumaa saanii haqee gabbarummaati jijjiire. Sadarkaa itt haanuuf karoorri diinni baafates akka olhantummaan saa bara dheeraaf hin uggamne, kan qabame mataa ol qabatee akka isa hin ilaalle tolchu ture. Eenyummaa ofii haqee aadaa, afaan, seenaa diinaa akka kan ofiitt fudhatu dirqisiisuu yaale. Battala amantee saanaaii fi caffee saanii miseensota rayyaa saa fi jala kaatuu bakka bakkaa funaane qubachiseee. Sana gochuun mandara naannaa irraa barsiifataan, hojiin, ilaalchaaan adda ta’e ijaare. Wanti ammayaa ta’e hundi achiin burqee dudhaa sabichaa baadiyyaa irratt hundaawe keessa holola diigaa fi dhibee facaasuutt ka’e. Oromiyaan “qinyi hagar” kooti jedhee labse. Hacuuccaa fi arrabsoon ummati bokoke jaatamoota keessa marii gaggeeffateen mootummaa walaba dhaabbachuun furmaata akka ta’e murteeffate. Biyya walaba keessa bilisummaa, walqixxummaa fi gammachuun jiraachuun kan barbaachisu hunda baasuun kaayyoo sabicha ta’e. Walabummaa fi birmadummaan mirga uummaa ilmoo namaati. Kanaaf ulfoo dha. Mirga kana mirkaneessuuf ABOn dhaabbate. hunda dubbisuuf as tuql

Friday, November 25, 2011

Oromo nationals in Berlin march in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street movement in Germany

November 24, 2011

On November 12, 2011,the Oromo nationals in Berlin, Germany, staged demonstration of protest against Meles Zenawi’s sell of or lease of lands in Oromia to the domestic and transnational corporations, to local and international land speculators for profit, and to the rich individuals and foreign governments. The land speculators buy-up the lands and sell them for profits to another speculators. They are daily flooding Oromia to buy Oromo lands. At the same time, this march is also to show solidarity with Occupy Wall Street Movement in Germany. Read more…

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

US official warns Ethiopia not to invade Somalia, but it’s too late

The State Department’s top Africa policymaker on Tuesday warned Ethiopia not to invade Somalia, but the warning came too late, with Somalis claiming that Ethiopian troops were already rolling through their villages in trucks.

The statement from Johnnie Carson, the assistant secretary of state for African affairs, was a sign that Washington is growing increasingly wary of a month-old offensive against the Islamist militant group al-Shabab that was launched by Kenya and now appears to include Ethiopia.

“We firmly believe that the best way to deal with al-Shabab and the way to restore stability is working with AMISOM militarily, using them as a vehicle to advance security,” Carson said in response to a question during a conference call with reporters. AMISOM is the acronym for the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia, which is manned mostly by troops from Uganda and Burundi.

“I would remind the caller that Ethiopia went into Somalia some four and a half years ago and stayed for approximately two and a half to three years. That effort was not universally successful and led in fact to the rise of Shabab after they pulled out,” Carson said.

Carson’s remarks also could be viewed as a rebuke of Kenya, another U.S. ally in East Africa. Kenyan troops invaded Somalia last month, ostensibly after kidnappings along its border with Somalia. According to U.S. diplomatic cables made public by WikiLeaks, Carson was very critical in 2010 of a Kenyan plan to use proxy Somali militias to go on an offensive against al-Shabab and create space for a regional administration in southern Somalia.

U.S. officials say Kenya did not consult them before launching its recent incursion.

Now, Somalis say, Ethiopia has joined the fray.

Abdi Wehliye, 43, who lives in Gurieel town in central Somalia’s Galgudud region, says that fellow townsmen saw Ethiopian troops rolling up on Saturday evening. He saw them Sunday morning 5 kilometers outside town, where he says they have pitched camp. On Sunday, Ethiopian commanders, escorted by a small number of troops, came into the town to meet with local elders and officials, he said.

Somalis are notoriously xenophobic when it comes to outside interference in their own affairs, and Somalis view Ethiopia as a historical arch nemesis. That sentiment was used by al-Shabab during Ethiopia’s 2006-2008 occupation to rally support for its insurgency.

The U.S. is all too aware of that history, having backed Ethiopia’s military adventure in 2006. The U.S. itself pulled troops out of Somalia in the early 1990s after they became the targets of regular Somali attacks.

Wehliye said, however, that while people don’t like Ethiopians, their dismay has been tempered by their anger at al-Shabab for its brutal and ultimately disastrous administrative tactics, which many blame for the devastating famine that is expected to leave hundreds of thousands dead this year in central and southern Somalia. Al-Shabab banned most Western aid and recruits barely teenage boys to fight.

“I thought some people would jump and start carrying guns against Ethiopia but it seems they are not yet sure what they want,” Wehliye said in a phone interview. “Many Somalis hate al Shabab for what they have done to them and their families.”

Ethiopian troops have also entered central Somalia’s Hiraan region, said a resident of Beledweyne town who asked to be identified only as Hussein for security reasons. He said that al-Shabab had treated Somalis like “slaves in our own country” and that he welcomed the Ethiopians, who he said had arrived near Beledweyne in five trucks in recent days.

“I support anyone who helps us fight al-Shabab. We want to get our freedom back. Al-Shabab are the ones who brought this entire problem on us. They are the reason so many countries want to invade Somalia,” he said.

Not everyone reached by phone seemed keen on an Ethiopian presence, however, a fact that U.S. officials are certain to seize on to discourage a prolonged presence inside Somalia. The Ethiopian government has categorically denied that its troops have entered Somalia.

Waeys Ahmed, who is also from Gurieel, said he would be happy to see al-Shabab “wiped out.”

“But with Ethiopia and Kenya coming to fight al-Shabab, I don’t think it’s good for the interest of Somalis. They have their own agendas,” he said. “This is taking us back to where we were in 2007, when al-Shabab enjoyed more support from the population.”

The Somali government, which from its limited control in Mogadishu can do little about the arrival of foreign troops, has struggled to find the right tone in responding to the incursions.

On Tuesday, Somalia government spokesman Abdirahman Omar Osman said that while Kenya is welcome because it entered into an agreement with his government, Ethiopia is not.

“We are a sovereign country, so foreign troops cannot enter without bilateral agreement or a legal mandate,” Osman said.

But he also said he was taking the Ethiopian denials at face value, despite what Somali residents say.

“There are no Ethiopian troops on our soil,” he said.

Source: mcclatchydc.com

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ibsa Walhubannoo THBO fii ABO

Ulfo Flag

Sadaasa 11, 2011

Adda Bilisummaa Oromo (ABO/OLF) fi Tokkummaa Humnoota Bilisummaa Oromo (THBO/ULFO)

Nuti dhabboleen lamaan ABO fii THBOn kan seenaa of danda’aa mata-mataa ofii qabnu, haallan keessa daddabarree har’a geenyees moyxannoo gurguddoon kan irraa horataman akka tahan bekkamaa dha. Seenaa qabsoo isaa keessatti haallan har’a irra gahaa jiran ka durii irraa ayinaa fi hammeenyaan fofokkatoo fi hamoo akka tahan Ummatni Oromoo gadda guddaattiin ilaalu. Ibsa Guutuu

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

ETHIOPIA-KENYA: Who rules the range?

For pastoral communities, the rangeland is perceived as a single, communally-owned economic resource (file photo)
LONDON, 24 October 2011
(IRIN)- The border land between Kenya and Ethiopia is a vast, open plain under a big sky. Hard red earth shows through the thin grass of the sun-baked landscape, an expanse of thorny scrub, flat-topped thorn-trees and tall red anthills. There are no fences or other visible boundaries, and few people, just occasional groups of cattle or goats with their herders. To the untutored eye it can look like empty land, where wandering nomads graze their animals at random.

But there is nothing random about it. This unpromising landscape can provide a good living for livestock if it is carefully managed, and the herds are kept on the move across the seasons so they make the optimum use of each area of pasture and each water source. Over the years, the herders have built up a great body of expertise about how best to manage the area's resources.

And the land is also definitely not "empty" in the sense that it belongs to no one - the people of the area are quite clear about whose land is whose, in terms not of individuals, but of different communities.

Sara Pavanello, who has just completed a three-year study of how natural resources are managed in the area, says: "The pastoralists I spoke to very often used collective terms, saying for example, 'Our resources, we decide, we manage…' For pastoral communities, the rangeland as a whole is perceived as one single economic resource that’s communally owned, even if this tract of rangeland has been divided by the international border. At the same time different ethnic groups own, or exercise control over specific territory and the natural resources found within it." ...
read more

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Recollection of Some Facts of Oromo Struggle

‎"The way national liberation movements and multinational organizations view the Mallas regime are different. The multinational organizations want Minilik’s throne on which he is sitting by any means possible. His recognition of the existence of nations and nationalities, other than theirs, was also considered as betrayal of heritages of the scramble for Africa. National liberation organizations had no interest in the throne, but ask him to take it out of Oromiyaa. They take to be recognized as a people, not as gift of a Nafxanyaa, but natural law. They demand from him the secession of occupation. He has to pack and leave Oromiyaa for Oromiyaans. This, they believe, could materialize peacefully unless the colonizer insists on violence." By Ibsaa Guutama

Monday, October 03, 2011

“Independent State of Oromia, a Bargaining Chip” – Dima Noggo Sarbo

In an interview he gave to ESAT (Amhara Satellite TV program) lasting about 90 minutes, Dima Nego gave a lengthy account of the Oromo struggle, the OLF, his involvement in the front and in the transitional government of 1991 in which he served as the minister of information and his opinion on the way forward.

Much of what he told the Habshaa TV station was narration of what has been in the public domain for a long time except for a few pieces he dropped in the course of the interview. Two such information that stood out for many of us were Dima’s claim to first chairmanship of the OLF and his assertions about the “true” intentions of the founders of the organization when they included the realization of independent state of Oromia in their political program.
Does Dima truly understand the implications of what he said?

Simply put, Dima is asserting that our fallen heroes, the likes of Elemo Qilxuu, Gen. Taddasaa Biruu, Magarsaa Barii, Muhe Abdo, Baaroo Tumsaa, Mullis Abbaa Gadaa and more lied to those selfless Oromo youth they put in harm’s way. Besides lying to all, these true sons of the Oromo people who paid the ultimate sacrifice with their lives never intended to bring about a liberated and decolonized Oromia into existence; never did they intend to dismantle the Ethiopian empire and the colonial administration. Dima would have us, and his Amhara audience, believe that the ones alive today, the likes of Jaarra Abba Gadaa, Dhugaasaa Bakakkoo, Galaasaa Dilboo, Ibsaa Guutamaa and more continue to lie to us even after 40 years. Our artisits, the likes of Ebbisa Addunyaa and Usumayyoo Muusaa paid the ultimate sacrifice with their lives for a cause they were cheated into joining. The hundreds of thousands of our brethren who heeded the call of the OLF and joined the front, those who have fallen in the battle fields of Oromia to enemy fire, those who were murdered by consecutive Abyssinian governments, those who endured detention and torture for tens of years were all deceived. There is no other way of understanding Dima’s responses.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

How an Oromoo slave became a South African teacher

Bisho Jarsa, trained as a domestic servant, went on to become a teacherBisho Jarsa, trained as a domestic servant, went on to become a teacher

When Neville Alexander used to visit his maternal grandmother Bisho Jarsa as a boy, he never suspected the extraordinary story of how she had come from Ethiopia to the South African city of Port Elizabeth.

Bisho was one of a group of Ethiopian slaves freed by a British warship in 1888 off the coast of Yemen, then taken round the African coast and placed in the care of missionaries in South Africa.

"We were overawed in her presence and by the way she would mumble to herself in this language none of us understood," recalls Mr Alexander, now 74.

This was Ethiopia's Oromo language, Bisho's mother tongue, which she reverted to as she grew older.

If you know these people - the freed slaves who decided to return home in 1909 - please use the form below to let us know:

  • Aguchello Chabani
  • Agude Bulcha
  • Amanu Figgo
  • Baki Malaka
  • Berille Boko Grant
  • Dinkitu Boensa
  • Fayesse Gemo
  • Fayissa Umbe
  • Galgal Dikko
  • Galgalli Shangalla
  • Gamaches Garba
  • Gutama Tarafo
  • Hawe Sukute
  • Liban Bultum
  • Nagaro Chali
  • Nuro Chabse
  • Rufo Gangilla
  • Tolassa Wayessa

Friday, August 05, 2011

Ethiopia 'using aid as weapon of oppression'


Watch Angus Stickler's full report and Ethiopian and UK responses

A joint undercover investigation by BBC Newsnight and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has uncovered evidence that the Ethiopian government is using billions of dollars of development aid as a tool for political oppression.

Posing as tourists the team of journalists travelled to the southern region of Ethiopia.

We are just waiting on the crop, if we have one meal a day we will survive until the harvest, beyond that there is no hope for us
Villager in southern Ethiopia

There they found villages where whole communities are starving, having allegedly been denied basic food, seed and fertiliser for failing to support Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

The investigation has also gathered evidence of mass detentions, the widespread use of torture and extra-judicial killings by Ethiopian government forces.

Yet Western donors including Britain - which is the third largest donor to Ethiopia - stand accused of turning a blind eye by continuing to provide aid money despite being warned about the abuses.

The aid in question is long-term development aid, not the emergency aid provided in response to the current drought in Ethiopia and its neighbours in the Horn of Africa.

Government response

Ambassador Abdirashid Dulane, the Deputy Head of Ethiopia's UK Mission, has rejected the allegations saying that the Newsnight/Bureau report "lacked objectivity, even-handedness".

Starving villagers in southern Ethiopia
The team found villagers eating leaves in order to survive

"The sole source of the story was opponents of Ethiopia who have been rejected by the electorate, and time and again it has been shown that their allegations are unfounded".

Our reporters visited one village in southern Ethiopia with a population of about 1,700 adults.

Despite being surrounded by other communities which are well fed and prosperous, this village, which cannot be named for fear of reprisals, is starving. We were told that in the two weeks prior to our team's arrival five adults and 10 children had died.

Lying on the floor, too exhausted to stand, and flanked by her three-year-old son whose stomach is bloated by malnutrition, one woman described how her family had not eaten for four days.

"We are living day to day on the grace of God," she said.

Another three-year-old boy lay in his grandmother's lap, listless and barely moving as he stared into space.

"We are just waiting on the crop, if we have one meal a day we will survive until the harvest, beyond that there is no hope for us," the grandmother said.


In another village 30 km (19 miles) away it was a similar story.

Almost all of the aid goes through the government channels... in terms of relief food supply and some of the safety net provisions, they simply don't get to the needy of an equitably basis
Professor Beyene Petros, opposition politician

There our team met Yenee, a widow who along with her seven children is surviving by begging, eating leaves and scavenging scraps from the bins in the nearest town.

"The situation is desperate," she said. "We have been abandoned... It is a matter of chance if we live or die."

The two villages sit just 15km (9 miles) either side of a major town, surrounded by other communities where the populations are well fed and healthy. They are in desperate need, but no-one is helping.

According to local opposition members they are being punished for failing to vote for the ruling party, the Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), which Mr Meles leads.

Further north a group of farmers alienated by Mr Meles' government met the BBC/Bureau team at a secret location on the edge of a remote village.

One farmer described how he had been ostracised for failing to support EPRDF: "Because of our political views we face great intimidation. We are denied the right to fertiliser and seeds because of political ideology," he said.

'Buying support'

The Ethiopian federal and regional governments control the distribution of aid in Ethiopia.

Professor Beyene Petros, the current vice-chairman of the Ethiopian Federal Democratic Forum, an alliance of eight opposition parties known as Medrek, told our reporters that aid is not distributed according to need, but according to support for the EPRDF:

Meles Zenawi
Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi took power in 1991

"Almost all of the aid goes through the government channels... in terms of relief food supply and some of the safety net provisions, they simply don't get to the needy of an equitably basis.

"There is a great deal of political differentiation. People who support the ruling party, the EPRDF, and our members are treated differently. The motivation is buying support, that is how they recruit support, holding the population hostage," he said.

Mr Beyene said that the international community, including the British government, is well aware of the problem and that he has personally presented them with evidence:

"The position of the donor communities is dismissive... they always want to dismiss it as an isolated incident when we present them with some proof. And we challenge them to go down and check it out for themselves, but they don't do it."


The UK International Development Minister Stephen O'Brien issued a statement in response to the allegations raised by the investigation, saying:

"We take all allegations of human rights abuses extremely seriously and raise them immediately with the relevant authorities including the Ethiopian Government, with whom we have a candid relationship. Where there is evidence, we take firm and decisive action.

They raped me in a room, one of them was standing on my mouth, and one tied my hand, they were taking turns, I fainted during this
Ethiopian woman from the Ogaden

"The British aid programme helps the people of Ethiopia, 30 million of whom live in extreme poverty. We demand full accountability and maximum impact on the ground for support from the British taxpayer."

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism and Newsnight also gathered evidence of a crackdown and human rights abuses in Ethiopia's Somali region, the area bordering Somalia and Kenya, also know as the Ogaden region.

Ethnic Somali rebels from the outlawed Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) and Ethiopian government forces have been fighting for control of Ogaden since the 1970s.

The media and most aid agencies are banned from the region.

Ethiopia, one of the poorest countries of the world, is currently suffering from horrific drought.

Many of those fleeing the ensuing humanitarian crisis have headed to Dadaab refugee camp in northern Kenya.

It is the largest refugee camp in the world, and the vast majority of the 400,000 people there are from Somalia, but among them are an increasing number of Ethiopians from the Ogaden.

'Revenge killings'

Abdifatah Arab Olad, an Ogaden community leader, told our reporters that up to 100 refugees are arriving every month with tales of killings and the burning of villages by government troops.

Dadaab refugee camp
Ethiopians from the Ogaden are fleeing to Dadaab refugee camp

"Whenever fighting has taken place between the rebels and the army, for each army member that is killed, the military go to the nearest town and they start killing people," he said. "For each army member killed it equals to 10 civilians losses."

In the corner of a makeshift shack in the camp, an old woman who had arrived from Ogaden three weeks earlier described being arrested along with 100 others in her village.

She said they were taken to a jail where they were locked up in a shipping container, and picked out on a nightly basis to be tortured:

"They beat me then started to rape me; I screamed and fought with them... I tried to bite them... they tied me this way," she said, gesturing to her legs.

"They raped me in a room, one of them was standing on my mouth, and one tied my hand, they were taking turns, I fainted during this... I can't say how many, but they were many in the army," she said.

'Assaulted when pregnant'

Other women in the camp also said they had been arrested and accused of being members of the OLNF.

They included one who said that she was eight months pregnant when she was detained and raped by eight soldiers:

"They were beating me while I was being raped, I was bleeding," she said, describing how one soldier stamped on her stomach and beat her with the stock of his rifle:

"I fell unconscious when I saw my baby... a man jumping on your stomach, you can imagine what happened to the child, very big kicks blows with the back of a gun. As a consequence of that the child died."

We cannot substantiate these individual allegations. But other credible sources have reported similar stories of the widespread use of rape by Ethiopian security forces against women in the Ogaden.

Speaking on Newsnight, Ethiopia's Ambassador Abdirashid Dulane said that the claims of rape and torture were a "rehash" of old allegations that the Ethiopian government had answered time and again.

"The Ethiopian government is governed by the rule of law, and human rights and democratic rights are enshrined in the Ethiopian constitution," he said.