Mager Media News Update: Friday, July 8, 2022 (Hamle 1, 2014 EC)

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Today’s news updates from Mager Media are as follows:

  • the Amhara survivors of the ethnic-based massacre in West Wollega were told they could not leave the woreda;
  • the ruling Oromo Prosperity Party [OPP] (formerly the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization, OPDO) government is being accused of endangering citizens to the same extent as terrorists;
  • journalists who were freed on bail being re-arrested by federal forces and
  • the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has warned that the right to live is at risk in Ethiopia.

Amhara civilians who survived the massacre in West Wollega were told they could not leave

On Saturday, June 18, 2022 (Sene 11, 2014 EC), the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) & local Qerro perpetrated an ethnic-based massacre of Amhara civilians in Gimbi Woreda (district) of West Wollega Zone in Oromia Region & survivors of the massacre were told they could not leave the woreda while government soldiers stood by them, which they told Mager Media.

According to survivors, during the time of the massacre their property was destroyed and looted and they wanted to escape to another area to save their lives but government soldiers prevented them from travelling elsewhere and those who attempted to escape were sent back.

Residents said that no action was being taken against the OLA forces and they were surrounded by the group even now so to avoid another massacre they called for the Ethiopian people and all relevant groups to help them.

It is to be recalled that at least three political parties claimed that the ruling party had done nothing to protect citizens besides releasing statements claiming they eliminated the terrorists and the ruling OPP government was exposing people to as much danger as any terrorist group

In statements given on current events by Enat Party, the All Ethiopian Unity Party (AEUP) and the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party (EPRP), the ruling OPP government of Ethiopia has had undeniable complicity in the ongoing massacre of Amharas when it claimed to take harsh measures against the OLA, claimed the group had no control over any areas, claimed “citizens” were killed during invasions, claimed the group had no real power, forced IDPs to return to their homes, showcased old and broken firearms allegedly from the OLA in order to nullify backlash from the genocidal massacres, and attempted to diminish the ethnic-based killings of Amhara people so it does not receive due attention by the international community.

The killing group, “OLF Shene” (the Oromo Liberation Front army) which has been called a group to control political power, which occupies the Oromia Region in different forms and which operates in Oromia Region and neighboring areas including Amhara, Benishangul-Gumuz, Gambella and Sidama Regions interrupts peoples’ livelihoods and has killed and is killing innocents in brutal ways.

The parties continued saying although the group has been described as ordinary and aimless, those who have observed it and those who support it openly or secretly know it has a clear mission of committing genocide.

The parties, expressed how the terrorist group massacred over 1,600 Amhara civilians in Tole Kebele of Gimbi Woreda, West Wollega Zone, Oromia Region on Saturday, June 18, 2022 (Sene 11, 2014 EC) and before the tears of the Ethiopian people could dry, on Monday, July 4, 2022 (Sene 27, 2014 EC) Amharas numbering in the hundreds were massacred again in Mender 20 and 21 of Lemlem Kebele (Hawa Gelan Woreda, Qelem Wollega Zone) according to residents, which is also controlled by the terrorists, and those targeted in the genocide were people who could not defend themselves including women, children and the elderly.

Therefore, other brotherly Ethiopians, must work with the targets of the genocidal violence, the Amhara people who had a major stake in building the country, to stop the international crimes, for the crimes to be independently investigated, for perpetrators to be brought to justice and for all Ethiopians to expose these crimes to the international community.

The government in the area must issue an immediate state of emergency, ensure the area is controlled only by the national defense force, and to organize and arm the targeted community under special circumstances to ensure they can protect themselves from annihilation.

They continued saying the government must immediately bring all perpetrators of this act to justice including those in positions of authority, to ensure safety and security of citizens is kept and otherwise alongside the greater Ethiopian people would have to transition to peaceful struggle an option and so next steps would be detailed soon.

They called on the Ethiopian people to recognize the ethnic-based killings as “Amhara genocide” including religious fathers, community elders, Aba Gada, activists, civic organizations, political parties and all who believe in humanity.

Journalists who were released from prison after being granted bail have been abducted by federal forces

The Amhara Region Supreme Court permitted bail in court hearings yesterday so that journalists could be released on bails of 20,000 ETB each and as they were leaving Bahir Dar Sebatamit prison, they were abducted by federal police in a vehicle and transported them elsewhere.

It can be recalled that federal police perpetrated a similar act on Balderas for True Democracy Party official Mr. Sintayehu Chekol. After Sintayehu was granted bail and as he was leaving the prison, federal police intercepted him at the prison entrance and took him to Addis Ababa’s primary police holding center.

In related news, following the regional supreme court granting bail to Feteh magazine founder and managing director journalist Temesgen Dessalegn last week, the federal supreme court overturned it. Yesterday, the supreme court in a written document asked the Addis Ababa Police Commission why the court did not honor the ruling and free the defendant, to which the police replied because it the federal supreme court overturned it. The federal court has scheduled a session on Thursday, July 14, 2022 (Hamle 7, 2014 EC) to deliberate the arguments of the prosecutor and the defense.

The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has warned that the right to live is being threatened in Ethiopia

The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) published its annual report on human rights violations over the 12-month period between June 2021 (Sene 2013 EC) to June 2022 (Sene 2014 EC) across Ethiopia and has warned that the right to live has drastically fallen in Ethiopia.

EHRC’s Dr. Daniel Bekele has stated that in Oromia Region and especially in the Wollega Zones since August 2021 (Nehase 2013 EC) repeated attacks by the OLA have targeted predominantly Amhara civilians in rural and urban areas and that many hundreds of women and children.

The commission mentioned that crimes against humanity including war crimes and other crimes were committed and that investigations should be conducted to highlight whether ethnic cleansing took place however it was certain that the attack was ethnic-based. They added that the investigations could not be undertaken given that circumstances in the area were not ideal including heavy military presence.

The report indicated that arbitrary arrests, abductions and forced disappearances took place over the year especially in the context of the war in the north, in which all parties perpetrated crimes against peaceful residents. These were also crimes against humanity and could in fact be international war crimes.

The report also mentioned that over the year in Amhara Region alone, under law and order operations, more than 10,000 people were accused of being irregular armed force members and were arrested and opposition party members were arrested outside of court orders.

The commissioner mentioned in relation to free speech and press, over various periods over 39 media personnel were held for days up until months.

Regarding individuals detained or arrested, police did not bring them to court in a timely manner, failed to release prisoners who were granted bail, mistreated detainees, did not provide sufficient information to the commission’s professionals and did not cooperate with investigations, did not follow court orders, and committed other violations.

The report also covered how millions of people were displaced from their homes and regular living conditions due to clashes and threats to peaceful living. On top of this, areas where they were seeking refuge did not fulfill basic requirements which has led to major problems. It also mentioned that there was much work to be done to compensate victims and hold perpetrators accountable.

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