Alemneh Wasse News (Awaze news)
The horrendous events that transpired in eastern Ethiopia the previous weekend have grave political ramifications for the whole of Ethiopia. The mind-numbing killing, maiming and vandalizing of the properties of innocent compatriots in the Somali regional state constitute one of the darkest chapters in Ethiopia’s recent history. They have exposed the deep fissure within Ethiopian society in spite of the ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front’s (EPRDF) singing of the ethnic federalism the country has been following for over 25 years now. The egregious crimes committed against “settlers” reinforce this point. The blatant murdering of “settlers” as though they were invaders as well as the burning down of the churches they were taking refuge in have enraged and broken the hearts of Ethiopians. Citizens are bound to lose all hope if law enforcement agencies fail to come to their help when they are attacked by an organized force comprised of fellow Ethiopians. The fact that individuals making life miserable for the masses do so with impunity threatens to elicit a breakdown in law and order and as such must be swiftly brought to justice.
As in other acts of barbarity children, pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and the disabled bore the brunt of the atrocities in Jigjiga and other cities in the Somali region. Hardworking folks, businesspersons and entrepreneurs relying on the government to afford them protection were victimized as well. Both the federal and Somali region governments are patently guilty of dereliction of duty in terms of protecting the rights of citizens to liberty of movement as well as the freedom to live, work and acquire property anywhere within Ethiopia’s territory. Aside from resulting in the slaying and injury of an unknown number of residents of the region, the savagery has psychologically traumatized countless people. Some ten individuals, three of them younger than seven, were also brutally killed in an incident in the eastern city of Dire Dawa over the weekend. The families and loved ones of the victims of such appalling crimes deserve to get justice.
The defence forces and federal police have been deployed to the Somali region to maintain law and order. At the same time though the architects and perpetrators of the egregious crimes on innocent civilians need to be punished to the fullest extent of the law. The conspicuous oversight in holding to account elements responsible for the death of thousands and the displacement of millions is to partly blame for the occurrence of strife in different regions of the nation. People who have taken sanctuary in churches in fear of their lives require not only emergency assistance, but also justice. It’s wrong to justify inaction against the perpetrators of grave abuses on the exigency of restoring stability and rebuilding efforts. Moreover, irregular security forces and support structures established by regional must be dismantled with immediate effect. These entities, which operate in parallel with regularly constituted law enforcement organs despite lacking a lawful mandate, are banes to society and the country. Going by the moniker “special forces” they are primarily responsible for undermining the rule of law.