Ethiopia’s Genocide of the Ogadeni Continues: By Betre Yacob

Ogadeni Mother and Her Son Suffering from Famine

The genocide in the controversial Ogaden region, a territory comprising the southeastern portion of the Somali Regional State in Ethiopia, has continued with a massacre of 17 and missing of 14 Ogadenis.

Hassen Abdulahi, the representative of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), the rebel group fighting with the Ethiopian government seeking for more autonomy for the underdeveloped Somalia region, said: “On September 3, 2012 Ethiopia’s government troops collected 31 people in Korelie Kebele, Deniese Woreda, Wardier Zone and killed 17 of them and took the rest 14 to an unknown place accusing of supporting the ONLF”

He said no one knew where 14 of the people were. Here, many are arguing that the missing people would be killed somewhere else. “It is a usual phenomena that the Ethiopia’s troops commit a massacre on innocent people, Hassen Abdulahi said, “but what makes the current one so special is that its victims are prisoners, women and old enough people as well as a child aged seven.”

In 2007 after the ONLF rebels launched an attack on a Chinese oil

field, the Ethiopian army has launched a counterinsurgency campaign in the Ogaden region. And since the beginning of the campaign, different concerned international organizations have been accusing the government of committing genocide against the Ogadeni civilian population.

For instance, Genocide Watch frequently said: “the Ethiopian government’s counter –insurgency campaign in Ogaden has incorporated several war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

“The army has imposed an economic blockade on many towns and villages of the region. The government has restricted access to water, food and other necessities. Massacres, torture, rape and disappearances are prevalent in the Ogaden region. Women and children are the most vulnerable groups to suffer abuse and violence. They are accused of being relatives of ONLF members.”

“The Ethiopian government’s policy in Ogaden is to suppress all demands for autonomy from Ogadenis. It has included gradual starvation of the population in IDP camps – a policy Genocide Watch calls Genocide By Attrition.”

According to the declaration made by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its resolution 96 (I) dated 11 December 1946, genocide is an international crime in times of both war and peace.

Article 2 of the declaration states: “genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group such as: (a) killing members of the group; (b) causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group (c) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or part …”

International Medias Remain Silent

Following the September massacre, many are criticizing the major international medias to have been silent on the issue. They ask, “why do international medias remain silent on this ultimate crime against humanity?”

Mohammed Amin Mohammed is an Ethiopian Diaspora in the USA asking such a question. He has started a petition together with his fellows in order to gather international media attention for the Ogaden people.

He said : “As the horror in Ogaden continues, our major media sources are largely missing in action. Like many American citizens, I rely on the news media. If an event is not reported on television, it is as if it does not happen.”

But, some people claim that: “even if journalists need to investigate the crime in Ogaden, they can’t do so – unless the Ethiopian government opens its door.”

Since 2007 the Ethiopian government has strictly prohibited journalists to go to Ogaden region and report the situation over there.

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