Ethiopia:  Pure agony in Sitti and the voiceless victims of Somali Region 

Ethiopia:  Pure agony in Sitti and the voiceless victims of Somali Region 

From 2018, Afar Region State and Afar armies groups helped by the Federal government has launched a sustained large scale ethnic cleansing and  force displacements  against ethnic Somalis in Sitti zone for pre-determine policy that has been  arranged for decades.


Ever since the situation in Sitti has deteriorated exponentially as Ethiopian security forces, Afar Special Forces, UGUGUMO Afar terrorists Army group and Eritrean trained militias supported by Ethiopian government have seized key areas of western Sitti by penetrated more than 100 KMs into Somali region state.  and imperilling vulnerable Somalis pastoralists civilians in Sitti.  The invaded forces exposed hundreds of thousands to the catastrophic  

The invading forces and allies use capable of automatic weapons provided by Ethiopian government during Tigray war 

The mass atrocities in Sitti for last five years can only be described as “red terror”; indiscriminate assaults and violations against children, including killings, beheadings of infants, horrifying acts of barbarism, serious injuries, as well as killings and violations against elderly and disabled people. Although,  the ethnic cleansing operation and mass atrocity against Somalis civilians in western Sitti  has been going on for five years., Unfortunately these atrocities is almost hidden from the world perspective. 

Make no mistake: everything I am describing here is not only outrageous of miseries, deliberately negligence of internal displaced persons who have been forcibly displaced from their homes, but  also include illegal of kidnapping of Somali children:   which violates  human rights and international law.  Such unlawful acts endangers the safety and well-being of children as well as their sense of identity and belonging. 


                              A little known atrocities 

More than 194 of horrific against the indigenous Somali population occurred in western Sitti between 2018 and 2022, resulting in 9,055 incidents of abuses of human rights against Somalis in Sitti, including 7,308 killings, 11,660 injuries, 180 cases of rape, and 162 cases of abduction and forced displacement that directly affected at least 194,517 people, at least 700 of whom were members of vulnerable groups of the population: children (78), women (290), the elderly (38). Furthermore, all rape victims were women, with nearly 180 cases, including 23 underage girls. 

The perpetrators of these horrible atrocities characterized as crimes against humanity in international law.  

Predators are  both state and non-state actors: Afar regional special forces, FRUD rebel groups from Djibouti, and Afar militias terrorist known as Ugugumo and local militias fighters.   In addition to that   more than ten large-scale massacres were committed by invasion force which amounting to crime against humanity.  After frequents attacks over four years on Somalis herders.

Grazing area alongside Awash river, Afars Ugugumo terrorists and other militias went on in a large demolition spree ransacking and vandalising everything over 30 villages and hamlets between Adayti, Undhufo and Garba-Isse.

                  Agony of IDPs in Sitti 


The people’s  ( IDPs) physical, psychological, and social wellbeing have all been enormously impacted as a consequence of force displacement and violence Vulnerable groups are at risk because they have either been forced to flee or have lost their homes, families, and  their livestock were looted  One of the tragic effects of hunger and malnutrition for thousands of internally displaced people (IDPs) is its difficulty to perceive. The fragile population include children, mothers, the elderly  are  perilous living with  agony.  DPs are struggling with illness outbreaks and malnutrition as a result of food insecurity, lack of shelter, water, sanitation, and a stressful livelihood, which are linked to emotional distress, metabolic imbalances, chronic illnesses, and non-communicable diseases in displaced persons.  The regional state  and federal authorities, as well as on international groups are downgrade the situation the Sitti’s IDPs


                                   Depopulation  policy  

The ideological and strategic of Ethiopian empire, expansion, assimilation policy and homogenization of non Abyssinian communities never succeeded in Somali region. Despite using of coercive measures to exert their power and employing the program of    depopulation, demographic change, indoctrination, extermination and structural genocide. but  indigenous army resistance and topographical challenges  of region made impossible to implement  the annihilation policy  against Somalis under Ethiopian administration  Paradoxically, ethnic federalism in 1994 “on paper” and new technology of using underground water for agricultural industries paved away half and century old policy of Ethiopia empire. 

  The mass exodus of Somalis and the forceful land eviction in  Sitti.   Interestingly, this is  happening after 135 years of fallen has Harar when Menelik II conquered after Amir Abdullah in 1887. And expelled Somalis 35 percent of the Somali Territories  that the British illegally transferred to Ethiopian empire between in 1948 and 1966  has no longer in the hands of Somalis.

Already, A large portion of lands own by Somali had   taken by   the Oromo, Afar and other ethnic groups  by supporting of  Ethiopian government.

These lands grabbing policy was implemented by both force and tactical manners  and the main designer of ideology  against Somalis is the Ethiopian government. these includes more than 300 districts  of Somalis has been taken over by Oromo regional state in 2004. The unconstitutional transferring   of western Sitti zone to Afar region and designating of Dire Dawa city as charter city by  arbitrarily refused to become the  capital city of Somali region in 1993.

This policy of forced eviction is not new. Its strategic approach   was designed by Abyssinian  140 years ago. The ethnic cleansing and forced displacements of pastoralists and urban residents in Sitti is not the first genocidal war against Somalis in Ethiopia but many massacres   preceded them, at least 11 brutal massacres  took place in Sitti alone before which were carried out  by  successive Ethiopian governments.  

According  to  a  letter  of  complaint written  by  the  chiefs  of  the  region  to  the Ethiopian  parliament,  between  April  1971  and 1972 after amid severe drought,  the Issa Somali  tried to seeking,  water the wells and grazing  on Awash River and  there were armed clashes between the  two groups.  On the pretext of the dispute over the wells, the Ethiopian army intervened against the Issa-Somali the civilian killed 794 people as well as  confiscating nearly 200,000 head of livestock.

And poison the wells of that Issa Somalis using by  Ethiopian military.  On August 12,1960, the Ethiopian army carried out one of its biggest executions against Somali civilians in village of Aycha’a,   before which   carried out  by  successive Ethiopian governments.  Somali region is not an integral part of Ethiopia, rather, It is a territory which the Ethiopians have captured and illegally annex after sequential incursion half a century ago and over which it can assert power only by deploying a significant brutal army force.

The genocide and ethnic cleansing of Somalis people in Sitti, is enmeshed in political dynamics that have existed for decades explicate, nevertheless the relationship between Somalis, Afar, and other oppressed regions is entangled in the imperial origins of the state of Ethiopia. However, the Ethiopian government is sponsor this war by support ethnic afar groups, against Somali ethnic due to geo-strategic of conflict area. And historical perspectives towards Somalis

Somali region is not an integral part of Ethiopia, rather it is a territory which the Ethiopia have captured and illegally annexed after sequential incursion half a century ago and over which it can assert power only by deploying a significant brutal  army force. The genocide and ethnic cleansing of Somalis people in Sitti, is enmeshed in political dynamics that have existed for decades, nevertheless the relationship between Somalis, Afar, and other oppressed regions is entangled in the imperial origins of the state of Ethiopia. However, the Ethiopian government is sponsoring this war by supporting ethnic Afar groups against Somali ethnic ones due to the geo-strategic area of the place. And historical perspectives biaised towards Somalis.


  Beyond the big picture 

The conflict between afar and Issa Somali is not a communal conflict but political. is not based on grasslands and water but one rooted in Abyssinian ambition of access to the sea of Somali peninsula. Issa Somali Afar conflict used to communal violence.  The tempo of violence has never shown significant de-escalation since the turn of twentieth century to date; nor does the current state of affairs harbour hopes of de-escalation. Because Ethiopian government see its interest that why the Successive Ethiopian governments have never tried to solve the conflict between two communities but they are fuelling the fire to accelerate their colonial agenda. 

Since the creation of regional states based on ethnolinguistic distinctions, Somali regional state is ever shirking   the regions shall be defined in accordance with settlement patterns, language, identity, and consent of the relevant population, according to article 46 of the Ethiopian Constitution.   Unfortunately that legal framework was not applied to the Somali region as if that they are not part of nation and nationalities in the Ethiopian prison camp.   That is the reason why Ethiopian decide to Resizing the Somali Regional State and use   a politically shrewd way to satisfy  Amhara settlers,  Afar, Oromo political demands at the expense of Somalis


                            The structural violence of Ethiopia 

Ethiopia is a historically oppressive empire that has depended on systematic oppression of minority or marginalized groups. Ethiopian emperors, most notably Menelik II and Haile Selassie, forced cultural and linguistic assimilation in order to create a homogeneous, unitary Ethiopian identity, establishing oppressive systems that still exist in Ethiopia today. The deep scars and historical trauma are still fresh in the eyes of many Ethiopians, particularly among the marginalized ethnic groups, like Somalis, yet, the deep state agents of depopulation and   extermination policy of Somalis relentlessly continue


 A process of Amharisation ensued and minorities were deprived of much of their rights. Amhara settlers known as “Neftegna” were running most of cities and rural areas. This situation continued through Haile Selassie from 1933 to 1974 when the DERG took over through a coup. Almost the same situation was going on with renewed brutality under the DERG regime which implemented a forceful program of people displacements known as villagization .. Thousands small farmers were relocated but the positive outcome was a land ownership change with small farmers allowed to own lands. 

The communist DERG regime put down the feudality under previous regimes. The DERG nationalized all land using the slogan “land to the tiller of the soil.” However the process of forceful mass displacement of farmers was done with minimum organization and such brutality leaving thousands deaths that it was called internationally the “Red terror”.

Then came the TPLF in 1991 which brought the so-called “multicultural federalism” well known internationally as “ethnic federalism”.  On paper “ethnic federalism” is a forward process allowing various Nations and Nationalities to administer their affairs themselves without the burden of the central government.  However in practice TPLF kept the decision-making process for itself and disenchantment come back as usual among other Ethiopian ethnic peoples.

Abiy similarly disbanded the EPRDF shortly after taking office in order to create the Prosperity Party, a single-issue party (PP). He advocated for a unified Ethiopian national identity through the philosophy of “Medemer,” which in Amharic means “coming together,” in a way similar to how Haile Selassie and Menelik II worked to destroy the traditions and identities of minority and oppressed ethnic groups all over the nation.   Abiy’s Medemer-based unity is viewed by many ethnic groups and countries as a challenge to the fundamental rights to self-determination entrenched in the multinational federalist Ethiopian constitution.

Mohamed Hadi

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