(Video) Ethiopia opens talks to secure release of at least 100 hostages


Ethiopia's government has opened talks to secure the release of more than 100 kidnapped villagers - most of them children. They were seized two weeks ago, allegedly by gunmen from South Sudan.

U.S Department of State: On Ethiopia’s Charges of Terrorism Against Political Leaders

Press Statement
John Kirby

Assistant Secretary and Department Spokesperson, Bureau of Public Affairs
Washington, DC
April 29, 2016

The United States is deeply concerned by the Government of Ethiopia’s recent decision to file terrorism charges against Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) First Vice-Chairman Bekele Gerba and others in the Oromia region who were arrested in late 2015.

We again urge the Ethiopian government to discontinue its reliance on the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation law to prosecute journalists, political party members, and activists, as this practice silences independent voices that enhance, rather than hinder, Ethiopia’s democratic development.

We commend Ethiopian officials for pledging to address legitimate grievances from their citizens and acknowledging that security forces were responsible for some of the violence that took place during the protests in Oromia; however, the government continues to detain an unknown number of people for allegedly taking part in these protests and has not yet held accountable any security forces responsible for alleged abuses. This undermines the trust and confidence needed to produce lasting solutions.

We urge the Ethiopian government to respect due process of those detained by investigating allegations of mistreatment, by publicly presenting the evidence it possesses against them, and by distinguishing between political opposition to the government and the use or incitement of violence. We reaffirm our call on the government to protect the constitutionally enshrined rights of its citizens, including the right to participate in political parties, and we urge the Government to promptly release those imprisoned for exercising these rights.

- See more at: http://www.zehabesha.com/u-s-department-of-state-on-ethiopias-charges-of-terrorism-against-political-leaders/#sthash.iBONrA46.dpuf

Ethiopia Famine 2016: Increased number of people begging for food in Addis Ababa

Defying Censorship, Hunger Stories Emerge From Ethiopia

By Christabel Ligami | Equaltimes

During my recent visit to Addis Ababa, one thing caught my eyes: the increased number of people on the streets begging for food and money. This is not the same Ethiopian capital I visited last year. It is very different due to a severe drought, and the government is trying hard to keep word from getting out.

I asked a fellow journalist from Ethiopia - I will not mention his identity for security reasons - if I could take a photo.

“The government doesn’t want us (media) to write about this, and especially if you are a foreign journalist, you will be in much trouble. Most of the local journalists here are in jail for reporting the hunger stories and other stories that the government is against.

“The government thinks by telling the hunger stories, it is an embarrassment to the country,” he says, echoing what I hear from other journalists as well as NGOs.

Ethiopia is facing its worst drought in at least three decades, with devastating effects on agriculture and livestock, whilst millions of people face food insecurity. More than 10 million people – one in ten Ethiopians - are said to need emergency aid due to failed rains.

The Ethiopian government and humanitarian agencies have said that Ethiopia needs nearly US$600 million in international humanitarian assistance. But critics say the government’s new leasing law for foreign concerns is aggravating the crisis by blocking livestock from grazing in areas less-affected by the drought.

One-quarter of all districts in Ethiopia – mainly in the north of the country - are officially classified as facing a food security and nutrition crisis after the drought cut production by up to 90 per cent in some areas. That has caused a flight to the cities.

“Whenever the drought occurs in these areas, people migrate to areas less affected to look for food, and Addis Ababa is one of the areas they move to, especially those just in the outskirts of the city,” said Mitiku Kassa, the Commissioner in charge of Ethiopia’s Disaster Risk Management and Food Security Agency, in an interview with Equal Times.

According to the NGO Save the Children the number of those affected could be higher, considering that 7.9 million people are supported by the government’s safety net program that provides wheat, cereals and cooking oil. It says at least 6 million children are hungry.

Worst seen since the 1980s

The nation has historically struggled with hunger, including in the 1980s, when famine and civil war left hundreds of thousands of people dead.

Experts are predicting that Ethiopia will experience the worst drought in generations, one that will surpass the 1984 famine that killed one million people.

United Sates Department of Agriculture reports that Ethiopia sought 1 million tons of wheat late last year - more than what it bought last season. The government also purchased 500,000 tons more last month through the port of Djibouti, as Ethiopia is a landlocked country.

It is estimated that imports will jump to 2.5 million tons this year, up from the 900,000 tons purchased last year. And USAID, which has deployed a disaster response team to Ethiopia, last month announced that it would provide nearly US$4 million in maize and wheat seed for more than 226,000 households.

“The Ethiopian government is building distribution points and temporary warehouses for the food delivery,” Mohammed Said, the Ethiopian government Director of Communications and Media, tells Equal Times.

“All the centres in the drought-affected regions have been equipped with food they need, and focus is now shifting to providing seeds and fertiliser to farmers so they can start planting following the start of rains.”

He said that the government has a budget of US$381million to cater for those affected by drought, including their animals.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) early this year announced an emergency US$50 million aid to help drought-hit Ethiopians.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said Ethiopia has launched emergency food delivery and supervision system that helps provide food for the drought affected areas before the onset of the rainy season. He also called for more international assistance.

The United Nations also says that 5.8 million people in the country are in need water, sanitation, and hygiene services while the total assistance required in 2016 is US$1.4 billion.

The predicted number of children at risk from suffering from severe malnutrition this year is 430,000.

Paul Handley, Head of the Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Ethiopia, said that by the end of the first quarter of 2016, 546,257 moderately malnourished children and pregnant and breastfeeding women were treated through the Targeted Supplementary Feeding (TSF) Programme. This represents 82 per cent of the first quarter target of 665,000 people.

“Food overall will become harder to access if we continue to see prices rise, food stocks deplete and livestock become weaker, less productive, and perish,” says FAO representative for Ethiopia, Amadou Allahoury.

“As soon as the rains start, FAO plans include distributing seeds and animal feed, vaccinating animals, delivering 100,000 sheep and goats to vulnerable households and giving farmers cash for bringing weakened and unproductive livestock to slaughter.”

He says that the current drought is not just a food crisis - it is above all a livelihood crisis.

Under Ethiopian law, land is government-owned but occupants have customary rights. In 2010, Ethiopia passed a new farm policy to which the government is leasing 3 million hectares to foreign agricultural investors who mostly include Chinese, Indians and Saudis.

According to the government, the foreign investors will have to satisfy domestic food needs before they can export, while at the same time improve the social welfare of people in the rural areas.

“You cannot speak about land issues now especially with the food insecurity in the country. You will be arrested for that,” says one official who spoke on condition of anonymity. “The vast majority of land is being used by foreigners for agriculture, especially rice cultivation in the southwest region,” he says.

Although not as affected by the drought as the northern region, the southwest is where most of the food for the country comes from.

“Pastoralists would also move to this region whenever there is drought in the north, to graze their animals, but now they can’t,” the official says. “This is one of the reasons we are witnessing the worst hunger in the country.”

Beta Israel: Ethiopian Jews To Return To The ‘Promised Land’ by 2020

Photo courtesy of The Jewish Agency for Israel.

By Abel Shifferaw | OakyAfrica

The Passover celebrations in the northern Ethiopian region of Gondar are particularly lively this year.

Preparations took weeks of advance work with tens of thousands of matzahs, a flatbread of Jewish cuisine, being baked for the festivities.

The Seder, which fell on April 22 of this year, is the commencement feast for Passover. The story of Israelites gaining freedom from bondage in ancient Egypt and their journey to the promised land is recited.

The story resonates strongly with the thousands of Ethiopian Jews who remain in Ethiopia, the majority of them being in Gondar, with some spread throughout the country in places such as the capital. With Passover ending tomorrow, April 30, the promise of passage to Israel hangs over the celebrations.

Ethiopian Jews are also known as Beta Israel. Their history is long, complex, and fascinating with a range of scholars disagreeing on their exact origin. Around 9,000 Ethiopian Jews remain in Ethiopia, and many have been waiting for decades to make the journey to Israel to unite with their family members who are already living and working there.

The modern state of Israel was established in 1948. While a ‘promised land for some,’ Palestinians, who also call the area home, were (and continue to be) displaced, brutalized, bombed and kept under an oppressive military occupation with deplorable conditions in places such as Gaza. Human Rights Watch notes, “Israel enforces severe and discriminatory restrictions of Palestinians’ human rights, and it builds and supports unlawful settlement in the occupied West Bank.”

The Beta Israel community of Ethiopia and Eritrea, whom were forced to convert to Christianity, are also referred to as Falash Mura.

Approximately 135,000 Jews with Ethiopian background have made their Aliyah, a term to describe the return of the Jewish Diaspora, to Israel. The Israeli government has been heavily involved in making this a reality. In 1984, The Israel Defense Forces, in collaboration with Sudanese forces, the United States embassy and the C.I.A. brought around 8,000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel as they faced famine.

The action was dubbed Operation Moses. Tens of thousands have relocated since.

In August of 2013, after 400 Ethiopians arrived to Israel, it was declared the operation to bring all of Beta Israel was complete. Yet, there were still thousands of the Falash Mura, whom some discounted as not being truly Jewish, in Ethiopia. Demonstrations to bring them to Israel followed. Two Israeli MKs, in protest, even abstained from voting in other decisions, making it so that multiple measures could not pass.

But what awaits Ethiopian Jews in Israel is uncertain. Headlines have been full of reports of Ethiopians in Israel facing police brutality, high-levels of poverty, limited economic opportunity, and disproportionate arrest statistics.

Protests rocked Israel last May following a police related incident that was recorded on video. Demas Fekadeh, an Israeli solider of Ethiopian heritage, can be seen being assaulted by police in Holon—a suburb of Tel Aviv.

Police resorted to heavy-handed tactics, firing stun grenades and tear gas at protesters. Demonstrators protested in front of the Israel Police headquarters, marched through city streets, and blocked major roads and highways creating gridlock. Many drew parallels of the situation in Israel to that of Baltimore, Maryland, where at around the same time anti police brutality protests were raging, prompted by the death of Freddie Gray.

The commonalities of police brutality in both countries deepen with reports of Israeli defense forces training American law enforcement officers from agencies such as local police departments to U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents and the F.B.I.

After negotiations, plans have been set for the emigration to commence in June, where the remaining 9,000 of the Falash Mura will be relocated to Israel in increments by 2020.

A human rights council in Ethiopia says government responsible for the loss of lives in the Gambella region

A man on his plot of land in Kir, a resettlement village in Gambella


The Human Rights Council said on Wednesday that the Ethiopian government was responsible for the recent killing of over 200 people and the abduction of women and children in the Gambella region of Ethiopia.

The Council said the government did not protect its citizens knowing very well that armed tribes from South Sudan have repeatedly carried out killings and cattle raids. The Council said the government instead disarmed the people and the local police, leaving them with nothing to defend themselves. It said the local people and officials have requested help from the government before the killings but the government chose to ignore them.

Over 200 people were killed last week in the Gambella region by the Murle tribe men from South Sudan, who also abducted over 100 women and children. The Murles also raided thousands of cattle. The fate of the abductees is yet not known.

Life on other planets? Scientists look to Ethiopia first

Mineral deposits color the otherwise barren landscape in the Danakil Depression

By Tim Sandle | DigitalJournal

Scientists have been studying extreme conditions within the Danakil Depression in Ethiopia to see if the conditions there, which mimic conditions on other worlds, could predict life on certain planets.

The Danakil Depression is the northern part of the Afar Triangle in Ethiopia. The geological depression arose following the shifting of three tectonic plates in the Horn of Africa. The Danakil Depression is the hottest place on Earth in terms of year-round average temperatures; the depression is located at a very low level relative to sea level and the desert receives very little in the way of rainfall. Bridging both ends of the area are two active volcanoes — Erta Ale and Mount Ayalu.

The environmental conditions are extreme in comparison to most areas on the planet. Water is close to boiling, as it bubbles up from underground; there are very high salt concentrations; and clouds of chlorine and sulphur vapor fog the air. As an indication of the conditions, the upwelling water is 90 degrees Celsius and highly acidic.

Scientists from the Europlanet 2020 Research Infrastructure have reasoned that if life can exist under these conditions then it is possible that life has the potential to exist on other planets with more extreme conditions.

The Europlanet 2020 Research Infrastructure (RI) is a €9.95 million project to integrate and support planetary science activities across Europe.

Sorting through the data, the scientists have identified three different ecosystems within the Danakil Depression. Each of these has been studied for geomorphology and geochemical composition, and for signs of microbial life. Given that any microorganisms present are most likely not to be culturable, the focus is on using advanced molecular biological methods to scan for genetic material.

Several microorganisms have been detected through DNA extraction. These organisms are currently being profiled and examined against several environmental factors, including pH, temperature, humidity and oxygen concentrations. The organisms, once characterized, are likely to be of great interest to astrobiologists.

The findings have yet to be written as a peer reviewed paper. However, the findings have been discussed at international conferences and further research is progressing.

Video could be visual confirmation of ISIL presence in Somalia


A video has emerged purportedly showing ISIL fighters in Somalia. It's not been verified - and the Somali government is not yet commenting. But if confirmed, the video would be the first visual evidence of ISIL's presence in the Horn of Africa. CCTV's Abdulaziz Billow has the story

(Video) Ethiopia’s Zone 9 Bloggers Finalist of Martin Ennals Award 2016

Jury members of the Martin Ennals Award speak about Zone 9, one of three Finalists for the Martin Ennals Award 2016.

Zone 9 is a collective of nine independent Amharic language bloggers who aim “to create independent narratives” in the east African country of Ethiopia. Their moto is “We blog because we care”.

(Video) Ethiopia's sound of change


Women and girls in Ethiopia face a daunting number of challenges, including violence. Two out of three women actually believe that wife-beating is justified. All-female band Yegna is confronting the entrenched beliefs that hold Ethiopian women back.

'Nuers of Ethiopia'

By Bachak D. Miguel

First and foremost I would like to send my deepest and sincerest condolences to everyone( Ethiopians and South Sudanese) who lost their loved ones during these rampages that have befallen the people of Gambella right from the onset of this year up to date.

We all know, it’s not unusual for these unfortunate events to take place in the region. The only thing unique about these consecutive deaths is the brutal murder of Ethiopian workers by refugee in Jewi refugee camp and maybe the number of people that lost their lives during the raid by murle tribesmen from South Sudan. The latter, eventually, got international media’s attention.

Following a post that I came across that was shared on Facebook about five “Ethiopian nuers” that were murdered in Gambella town by highlanders as a revenge to what happened in Jewi refugee camp recently, I am compelled to write this in order to shed light on a few things that the writer( a Nuer) failed to acknowledge in his work.

In the article “highlanders killed 5 Nuer Ethiopians in Gambella town”, the writer tries to blame the highlanders for the murder of five Nuers that he claims to be Ethiopians. The Nuers are killed in revenge to Jewi brutal killing of eight highlanders by Nuer refugees.

Sometime it’s important to tell the fact the way it appears. The “Nuers of Ethiopia” and Nuers of South Sudan issue is a confusing one. Simply, because the hosts themselves do not let this fact out of their mouth unless or otherwise they are fighting among themselves over something or in a case that involve deaths like what happened in Jewi refugee camp.

This matter could have been dealt and do away with long ago by the Ethiopian government(EPRDF) were it not for the fact that the government is more interested in the land rather than inhabitants. The Nuers have been causing problems for years now mainly to the Anywaa(Anuaks)people of Gambella. And whenever a fight erupted between Anywaa and Nuers in areas like Gambella town or Itang, their fellow people in the refugee camps in either Pinyudo or Dimma camps tend to support and join the fight.

This makes it very hard to differentiate between Nuers as to who is from where. As far as I know, Nuers don’t care which part of the world they belong. As long as they have their people in one place, all of them want to be considered as part of that area too just because of the general name, NUER. And that’s one aspect that makes their population grow at the fastest rate in every place they go to.

That’s not all. Nuers tend to be very secretive and protective when it comes to something that benefits their community. It’s not strange that they do almost everything together. I personally do not believe in the differences between these people when it comes to the international boundaries. They have minimal respect for the international boundaries and non at all for local ones. And that’s why there’s problem where ever Nuers set foot on.

Looking at the problems that are happening in South Sudan and Ethiopia, Gamblella region, one can tell who is the main cause for lack of peace between communities in these particular areas.

I am sure that all those people residing in the refugee camps across Gambella are not only South Sudanese Nuers. They are mixed up with those who claim to be Ethiopians. The same case applies to South Sudan. There are a huge number of Nuers who work with the Government of South Sudan( GoSS) as citizens of South Sudan but they were former employees of Gambella regional state government as Ethiopia citizens. Some members of the Nuer community whom I know to be Ethiopians go from western countries all the way to Pagak( SPLA-IO base in Gambella)to offer support in form of donation of non food items to their fellow Nuers who are fighting SPLA.

We have many youth who join SPLA-IO as fighters and movement officials but are citizens of Gambella by birth. In fact, some officials used to work for the Gambella regional state government. I do not quite comprehend the implication beneath the complaint of “Ethiopian citizens” paying for a crime committed by refugees.

All these mess would not have occurred if residents of Gambella are aware of the differences, I suppose. We have learnt that even the current governor of Gambella regional state Mr. Tut is a South Sudanese. But, this truth is buried because of the benefits of Nuers tribe in general.

The influx of Nuer refugee in to Gambella region has led to closure of issuance of regional Identification cards. This is one of the reasons that contradict with what the writer is saying. The government would not have gone that far suppose the Nuers in the government stand with the government and put measures in place that makes it easy to identify who is from where. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

The recent fight between Anywaa and Nuers that started over disputed ownership of piece of land between two citizens featured South Sudanese white army members. That is why it reached to a point where hand grenades are involved as well as breaking in to Gambella correctional facility by some Nuer men to kill Anywaa prisoners.

That’s not all, the South Sudanese flag was erected on Ethiopian soil as indication that this fight is much more than usual ones that we all know. The killing of highlanders in the camp is not by accident. It’s part of the plan of Gambella becoming part of the Republic of South Sudan . We are not too deaf to hear the song that was sang by Nuers that they are going to chase Anywaa out of Gambella all the way to pochalla(South Sudan). That they are going to finish the Anywaa because the Nuers out numbered the population of Anywaa by far. That they are going to make Gambella one of their states.

The pioneer and designers of this unrealistic plan come from both Ethiopia and South Sudan. In fact, the governor of Gambella, Gatluak Tut was part of the meeting that was held in Nairobi, Kenya about this matter. Maybe the main objective behind the agenda of South Sudanese Nuers and Ethiopian Nuers coming out now is because the highlanders reacted in away Nuers never expected. I am not sure the writer who can not even spell right the name of the refugee camp “Jewi” is a real son of Gambella.

The Ethiopian government should consider all these events as threat and act accordingly. Because, if these people are not stopped now, it will be too late in the future. Many Nuers of South Sudan have used Ethiopian resources like free education and every other opportunity that they could come by. Now, the same people are planning to go against the people of Ethiopia.

(Video) British man surprises Ethiopians in London

A half Ethiopian, half English man who appears to look completely white surprises Ethiopians by speaking fluent Amharic on the streets of London.

U.S. Senators Condemn Ethiopia’s Lethal Violence Against Protesters

The bipartisan resolution calls for the Secretary of State to conduct a review of U.S. security assistance to Ethiopia in light of allegations that Ethiopian security forces have killed civilians; it also calls upon the government of Ethiopia to halt violent crackdowns, conduct a credible investigation into the killing of protesters, and hold perpetrators of such violence accountable

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken today condemned the lethal violence used by the government of Ethiopia against hundreds of Oromo protesters. The bipartisan Senate resolution calls for the Secretary of State to conduct a review of U.S. security assistance to Ethiopia in light of allegations that Ethiopian security forces have killed civilians. It also calls upon the government of Ethiopia to halt violent crackdowns, conduct a credible investigation into the killing of protesters, and hold perpetrators of such violence accountable.

“I am deeply concerned by continuing reports of violence and restrictions on civil liberties perpetrated by Ethiopian security forces in the Oromia region of Ethiopia,” said Klobuchar. “Minnesota is proud to be home to the largest Oromo community in the United States. My thoughts are with the families of those who have been victims of violence in Ethiopia. I call on Prime Minister Desalgen to restore confidence in the government by putting an end to the violence and intimidation from Ethiopian security forces against peaceful protestors.”

“Around 40,000 Oromo people live in Minnesota, and I’m proud that our state is home to so many vibrant immigrant families,” said Franken. “I stand with our local Oromo community against the terrible violence that’s affected their loved ones who are still in Ethiopia. For years, the Ethiopian government has been accused of serious human rights violations—unprovoked arrests, torture, and oppression—and in recent months, reports indicate that at least 200 people have been killed by Ethiopian security forces. Our bipartisan resolution will help bring much-needed awareness to a terrible tragedy that can no longer go overlooked.”

The protests in Ethiopia, which began last November, were prompted by concerns about lack of grassroots consultation with affected communities in advance of the Ethiopian government’s plan to expand the capital, Addis Ababa. At least 200 people are believed to have died at the hands of security forces during the course of the protests, and hundreds more have been jailed, including journalists reporting on the demonstrations. In February, Klobuchar and Franken sent a letter to Secretary Kerry urging the administration take action to address escalating violence against civilians in the Oromia region of Ethiopia. Minnesota is home to the largest Oromo population in the United States.

The United States works closely with Ethiopia on Administration initiatives including Feed the Future and the African Peacekeeping Rapid Response Partnership.

The following is the full text of the resolution:

Ethiopia sacks Coach Yohannes Sahile

Coach Yohannes Sahile sacked

By Diretube

The Ethiopia Football Federation has sacked head coach Yohannes Sahile after a disastrous performance at the recent Matches. EFF chosen former Dedebit FC coach Yohannes Sahle as head coach of the Ethiopian national team on April 26, 2015 for a Two years Contract.

Floods cause deaths and block food aid in drought-hit Ethiopia

By Katy Migiro | Reuters

Flash floods in drought-stricken parts of Ethiopia have killed people and livestock and are blocking food aid deliveries to hungry communities, a charity said.

Ethiopians have been waiting for the spring rains to replenish water sources and to plant crops after the most severe drought in decades pushed more than 10 million people into hunger.

But many livestock, weakened by the drought, have died following heavy rains in Ethiopia's remote Somali and Afar regions, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) said on Sunday.

"Not only are families losing their remaining livestock, but the heavy rain is making the roads inaccessible," said Mohamed Hassan, who heads NRC's work in the Somali region.

"Roads are turning into raging rivers and trucks carrying food assistance are unable to reach many communities.

"If people don't get aid I am afraid that human lives might be lost," he said in a statement.

Some 28 people were killed by flash floods in early April, the majority when a river passing through Jijiga, the capital of Somali region, burst its banks, the government said.

The two eastern regions, among the worst hit by the drought, are mainly home to herding communities. Cattle, sheep and goats often die after floods because infectious diseases increase and vegetation becomes toxic.

The government and aid agencies are revising upwards a joint appeal in December for $1.4 billion as the number of districts suffering a humanitarian emergency has widened.

The crisis is expected to deepen until August when people hope to harvest crops they will plant in June to catch the summer rains.

Floods can also contaminate water sources, causing diseases like cholera.

Ethiopia regularly suffers hunger crises as eight out of ten people are farmers who depend upon the rains.

"We will see this situation again and again," said Hassan. "We must not only hand out food, but also help people find alternative livelihoods."

Miss World Jamaica Sanneta Myrie in Ethiopia

Dr. Sanneta Myrie, Miss Jamaica World 2015 visited the town of Shashamane in Ethiopia recently

By Noah Gad | The Ethiopian Herald

“The Human aspect to a beauty queen title is what captivated me. Being able to embrace so many people and impact their lives in a positive way with even a simple smile is what makes it worthwhile”, words of one of the most beautiful spirited young ladies ever to have graced Shashamane, Ethiopia with her presence: Dr. Sanneta Myrie, Miss Jamaica World 2015 was called to be a part of a group “that would be making it their duty over a two week period to supplement the education of children from marginalized communities in Shashamane. Coming from a marginalized community myself I could identify with these students.”

Sanneta Myrie was born on May 26th 1991 in Kingston, Jamaica. At the tender age of 19, her mother went into labor alone at a private clinic and was told by the nurse that Sanneta had the brightest eyes she had ever seen.

Sanneta said that I grew up listening and dancing to the likes of Shabba Ranks, Bob Marley, Damian Marley and Buju Banton. While in high school she participated in extracurricular activities: swimming, pageantry,dance, acting and mentor-ship all of which helped to mold her self-esteem. She also credits Marcus Mosiah Garvey, one of Jamaica’s national heroes who has an inspiration for “bettering and empowering the mind”.

Growing up in age, she had to witness her father struggle with a chronic illness and the fundamental contributions doctors make, that had helped to influence her career choice. Miss Sanneta Myrie went on to study to become a medical doctor at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Jamaica. When asked why she decided to attend the University she replied, “I was committed to always being the best version of myself which is something I preach to young people You owe yourself the best version of you.”

Myrie is very close to her younger half brother Jeffery; her family has “the strength and roots that make all things possible” correlating with her favorite faithful words of faith

“I believe we the children of Africa at home and abroad have a duty to remember our roots and give back and contribute to Africa whatever we can. The World knows a great deal of injustice that has been done to Africa but we need to remember while we may see it necessary to call out for justice due to the fact that our surest success really lies in joining hands and helping ourselves, empowering ourselves and reinvesting in ourselves.”

With such encouraging words we can all be sure to see Miss Sanneta Myrie in Africa, after all her favorite place is the hot springs of Wondo Genet!

She was in east Africa a month ago on a volunteer service tour to participate in a series of youth development workshops and mentor-ship programs organized by Shashamane Sunrise, an international volunteer organization that supports children’s education in developing countries.

Ethiopia: Risk of food insecurity


In recent months MSF has been conducting nutritional assessments in Ethiopia, principally in Afar, Oromia, Amhara, Somali and Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region (SNNPR): areas viewed as most exposed to malnutrition.

Our teams have not yet observed alarming levels of the most dangerous form of severe acute malnutrition(SAM) across these regions.

However, levels of food insecurity caused by a lack of rains are giving cause for concern. Food insecurity is when people do not have access to sufficient healthy and nutritious food to ensure an active life and normal development. In some areas, there is little or no food available and the inhabitants are totally dependent on food distributions provided by the Ethiopian government, the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Joint Emergency Operation Plan, which is a coordinated NGO response to the crisis. Whereas, in previous years, these distributions were geared to meet the annual requirements of 7.5 million people, the government estimates this number is now at 10.2 million and there are already reports of population displacements brought on by lack of access to food and/or water.

If there is insufficient rainfall in the coming weeks and months and no increase in food distributions – or if these are discontinued due to lack of funding – the situation may well deteriorate considerably, which could occur as early as the end of April or the beginning of May.

MSF teams have launched nutrition activities and are supporting the Ethiopian health authorities. Support with nutritional surveillance is also under negotiation. Thus, MSF is already on the ground, ready to scale-up and adapt its operations rapidly in the event of a worsening in the situation. This state of preparedness will also facilitate our access to any other areas that may require relief.

As a medical organization MSF primarily addresses the most vulnerable. In the regions we work these are principally children under five years of age, who are severely malnourished and mothers who are giving birth or lactating. Where needed, we are also providing some supplementary food assistance to the families of children under five who are enrolled in our nutrition programmes.

MSF’s assessments in Afar and Somali Regions resulted in the opening of outpatient therapeutic programs (Ambulatory therapeutic feeding centers), stabilization and intensive therapeutic feeding centers as well as measles and vaccination campaigns. In SNNPR, MSF supported the nutritional response in two “woredas” (districts), focusing on capacity building.

(VIdeo) Massive Tigrayan Protest In Tigray Against TPLF

They are fed up with the lack of jobs, famine, corruption and nepotism by the TPLF regime.

(Video) Deadly clashes between Nuer and highlander Ethiopians in Gambella

Deadly Ethnic Strife Convulses Ethiopia-South Sudan Border

By Jacey Fortin | New York Times

After angry mobs began targeting his community, Simon Thion, 29, felt caught in the middle.

Mr. Simon, an Ethiopian who is part of the Nuer ethnic group, went to a hospital in the western town of Gambela recently to visit his nephew, who was injured when members of the Murle ethnic group crossed into Ethiopia from South Sudan to steal cows and kill hundreds of Nuer villagers.

Now, he is afraid to leave the hospital. In the regional capital where he lives, he says, Nuer are targeted by other Ethiopians. “If I leave this compound, highlanders will come and kill me,” he said.

Highlanders is a term used to describe Ethiopians who trace their heritage to the country’s central regions, including the capital, Addis Ababa.

Tensions between Nuer and highlander Ethiopians in the Gambela region have been relatively low, but that changed this month when a highlander, a contracted driver for a nonprofit group, was accused of a hit-and-run that killed two children in a predominantly Nuer refugee camp near the town of Gambela.

Fury over the deaths incited a surge of retaliatory violence, in which Nuer killed about 10 highlanders around the camp.

Several highlanders who saw the bodies at a hospital said the killings were gruesome, and in recent days hundreds of them have joined with sympathetic members of the Anuak ethnic group, who say they are indigenous to Gambela, to demonstrate against Nuer, whom they consider intruders.

In South Sudan, a civil war that began in December 2013 has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced more than two million. More than 220,000 South Sudanese refugees and other asylum seekers, the vast majority of them Nuer, have spilled into crowded camps in the Gambela region of Ethiopia since then, tilting the demographic balance in an area where antagonisms between the Nuer and Anuak groups have long simmered.

At least one Nuer has been killed in the last few days and one wounded, according to Gatluak Tut Khot, the regional president of Gambela. Nuer in the area said the death toll was as high as 15.

The clashes occurred days after many Ethiopians united around the cause of rescuing an estimated 102 Nuer children kidnapped on April 15 by Murle raiders, who killed an estimated 208 Nuer Ethiopians. Last week, the government declared two days of mourning for those who were killed.

Melkamu Assefa, 20, a highlander in the town of Gambela, said he no longer sympathized with those victims. He expressed anger about the deaths of the highlanders near the refugee camp, and condoned the killings of Nuer, partly because he said the Nuer would like the Gambela region to be a part of South Sudan.

Tensions are rising at a pivotal moment. For a week, Riek Machar, South Sudan’s opposition leader and a former vice president, who is Nuer, has been engaged in tense negotiations with officials in the country’s capital, Juba. Mr. Machar’s aim is to fly there from Gambela Airport to be reinstated as a deputy to his rival, President Salva Kiir, as part of a peace deal.

But the highlanders demonstrating against Nuer in Gambela want little to do with South Sudanese politics. The recent clashes are about Ethiopian nationalism, Mr. Melkamu said. “In the Nuer part of town, they once burned an Ethiopian flag and raised the South Sudanese flag instead,” he said, adding that he supported any efforts to drive all Nuer — refugees or not — out of town.

Standing inside the hospital gates, Mr. Simon said, “They aren’t differentiating between Nuer who are Ethiopian citizens and those who are not.”

He added, “Of course I am afraid.”

(ESAT Video) Ambassador Kassa Kebede, on Ethiopia and, Eritrea relationship (Part1 and 2)

Ambassador Kassa Kebede, on Ethiopia and, Eritrea relationship, Regional politics of the Horn and fault lines in TPLF’s Ethiopia. (ESAT – Ethiopian Satellite Television and Radio)

Machar sworn-in as South Sudan’s First Vice-President

By Sudan Tribune

April 26, 2016 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s armed opposition leader, Riek Machar, has been sworn in as First Vice-President shortly after his arrival in the country’s national capital, Juba, on Tuesday, 26 April, 2016, two years after fleeing the city on 15 December 2013.

Machar’s plane touched down in Juba at about 3:45pm. The top opposition leader who chairs the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO) was received by several of his senior officials and a number of government ministers.

Machar, dressed in African fashion, from the airport drove straight to the Presidential Palace (J1) where President Salva Kiir, his main rival, but peace partner, was waiting for him. He immediately took oath of office as first vice president of the world’s youngest nation before President Kiir. This is expected to be followed by formation of transitional government of national unity in the next few days.

A former vice-president since year 2005 when South Sudan became a semi-autonomous government following signing of a Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) with Sudanese President Omer el Bashir, Machar was sacked by President Salva Kiir two and a half years later after South Sudan became an independent nation.

He and President Kiir fell out over the future of the ruling SPLM party and its leadership as well as over affairs of the government. This subsequently resulted to clashes between their presidential guards on Sunday, 15 December 2013, splitting between loyalists of Kiir’s Dinka and Machar’s Nuer ethnic groups.

President Kiir then accused Machar of allegedly planning a coup, which the latter said was a false claim, further accusing the former of allegedly stage-managing a coup in order to silence voices of opponents.

Machar after the clashes and successful escape to the bushes formed what he said was a “resistance movement” some weeks later to fight a “dictator” who massacred “thousands of civilians” in the capital, particularly targeting an ethnic Nuer community from which he hails.

A war raged on for two years, spreading to some other states, particularly in Machar’s home region of Upper Nile. Skirmishes also occurred in the other two regions of Bahr el Ghazal and Equatoria.

The two rival parties together with other stakeholders in the conflict, however, signed a peace agreement which called for political and institutional reforms in the country.

The rebel leader was airlifted to Juba from his headquarters of Pagak via Gambella airport in Ethiopia by a United Nations plane, 8 months after signing the IGAD-sponsored peace agreement on 17 August 2015.

In accordance with the peace agreement, the opposition leader, who becomes first vice president in the power sharing deal, will also be the commander-in-chief of a separate army and police of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO), with separate structures from the other co-army and police commanded by President Kiir.

The two rival national armies and police forces will however reunify during the transitional period after achieving security sector reforms laid out in the peace agreement.

The transitional government will run the country for 30 months from formation until elections are conducted at the end of the interim period.

The opposition leader in a statement to reporters at the Juba airport upon arrival said the priorities were to tackle insecurity and restore stability, revive the country’s economy and address humanitarian concerns.

Gambella Killings and Other Avoidable Ethiopian Tragedies

(SMNE, Press Release) — Putting humanity before ethnicity or other differences and caring about the freedom of others— for no one is free until all are free— could have created a different ending for each of the tragic stories affecting Ethiopians that have unfolded in the last weeks. These incidents did not have to happen, but in each case, could have been avoided or lessened in severity. Much of the pain, suffering, death and loss of countless people and their loved ones could have been avoided had those involved simply put these God-given principles into practice. Gambella Killings and Tragedies

Each incident has an overwhelming component of tribalism gone wrong. How unjust is it to kill, rob and steal from another collective group, dehumanizing them as the other simply because of their ethnicity or the way they look? How wrong is it to commit crimes without any compassion because the other(s) are not part of your own group? How immoral is it to take revenge against some random person, who has done nothing but be of the same ethnicity as the person inflicting harm to some within your own collective group?

Recurring and avoidable tragedies result when the worst of tribalism is carried out against the collective other; whether on a small-scale, institutionalized into systems like Ethnic Federalism of the TPLF/EPRDF or mixed together and exploited, usually for the benefit of the dominant partner.

Unfortunately, the consequences of these tragedies are now serious and far-reaching. To further complicate matters, they must be dealt with in an environment entirely lacking the supports for success. Collective punishment flourishes in environments where there is a failure of justice. It shows a weak rule of law that is ineffective in ensuring protection for the innocent from collective attacks and hindering those impacted from taking collective revenge. One person can kill another without any consequences. Ethnic federalism of the TPLF/EPRDF and its policies that capitalize on ethnic differences or other distinctions actually promotes this.

When a ruling party of the TPLF/EPRDF uses ethnicity, religion, political viewpoint, activism, region or other factors to divide people, to protect self-interest, to play favorites with opportunity, to repress legitimate rights and to cover-up needs or complaints rather than dealing with the real problems; the results are what we have recently seen in exploding ethnic-based violence, hunger, and death encountered by the thousands fleeing the country.

Gambella has become the site of increasing ethnic-based violence and killing. On April 21, 2016, two Nuer girls, refugees from South Sudan who were living in the Jewi refugee camp in Gambella, Ethiopia, were hit and killed by a car driven by a highlander associated with a humanitarian group, Action Against Hunger (ACF). The term Highlander refers to a lighter-skinned person originally from the highlands of Ethiopia, rather than indigenous to the region).

In response, some Nuer refugees sought retaliation for their deaths by killing ten or more highlanders, who lived or worked in Gambella. None of those killed were driving the car involved in the accident. The only thing they had in common was their skin-color. Now, highlanders have organized and are retaliating against innocent Nuer, killing three persons. Of the three already killed; none are refugees, but instead are Ethiopian citizens who had nothing to do with the murder of the highlanders.

The highlanders also carried out a protest followed by the attempt by some of them to go to the refugee camp and Nuer areas, but regional and federal security forces prevented them from doing so. Some highlanders threw rocks at the vehicle of the governor of the region, a Nuer, and broke the windshield. Protestors shouted that they did not want to be led by a refugee, claiming the current governor was a refugee from South Sudan rather than a citizen of Ethiopia. Protestors also attacked the vehicle belonging to Riek Machar, the Vice President designate for South Sudan and leader of the SPLA-In Opposition, himself a Nuer, who was preparing to return to Juba to assume his new position there. He condemned the killings by all groups, including the Nuer.

In another incident, occurring a week ago, many were shocked to hear the heart-breaking news of the murder of over 200 Nuer, local citizens of Gambella, who were attacked by approximately 300 armed Murle tribesman who are said to have crossed the Ethiopian border from South Sudan to carry out a simultaneous attack on thirteen Nuer villages in the early morning hours of April 15, 2016. During that attack, mostly unarmed Nuer desperately fought to protect their families against the heavily armed Murle. In addition to the killings, over a hundred children and some women were abducted and two thousand head of livestock taken. It is said that the Murle then returned to South Sudan. These Nuer were not involved in the later attack on the highlanders this past week.

What happened to the Nuer impacted other Ethiopians as can be seen from the many messages of sympathy and support in the social media. Public sentiment was strong; not only because of the great loss of life and the abduction of the women and children, but also because these were foreign aggressors, entering across Ethiopia’s porous borders to attack a vulnerable people who were unable to defend themselves due to the lack of security forces and their disarmament.

We in the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia (SMNE) express our deepest sympathy to those who lost their loved ones and pray that the wounded will soon recover and that those who have been abducted will quickly be returned to their homes and families. These are egregious crimes, piercing the hearts of many caring people; not only within the Nuer community, but far beyond.

Sadly, the numbers of tragic reports affecting the people of Ethiopia and in the Horn of Africa have become almost a weekly occurrence. It overwhelms our emotions. It is almost too much to emotionally deal with when we think of these tragedies being followed by two separate incidents where approximately 500 people from Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia were drowned crossing the Mediterranean in overcrowded ships in search of freedom and opportunity. This means 1,000 people— men, women and children. The stories from survivors who watched their loved ones drown, unable to save them, are appalling.

We also grieve for these precious lives and extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of those who so tragically drowned. According to reports, the majority of people who lost their lives, in both incidents, were Oromo, many of them young people escaping the recent violence and government-sponsored killing in Ethiopia. We have heard that some of these victims were activists in the peaceful demonstrations against the regime’s plan to take over indigenous Oromo land as part of the Addis Ababa Master Plan. Fearing arrest, torture or deadly repercussions, they fled Ethiopia, never expecting to lose their lives on the way.

We deeply feel the pain of these lost lives. These young people were committed to building a better future within the country; but for some, it became too difficult, if not impossible, to do so. Those lost in the sea were also victims of human traffickers who exploited the desperation of those fleeing their countries; however, most of these victims may never have left the country except for the government-sponsored killing of peaceful protestors— over 600 since last November.

Added to the tragedy of these events is the worsening starvation among Ethiopians, especially impacting the people of the Afar and Somali regions of the country. Unfortunately, the peace, security and one-mindedness necessary to better deal with such a deepening food crisis are missing.
Additionally, ESAT News report sources have told them that the Ethiopian Special Envoy for the Prime Minister, Ambassador Berhane Gebrekiristos, had asked the Addis Ababa representative to the UN to stop fundraising efforts being carried out by OCHA, USAID, Save the Children, UNICEF and others since it would “tarnish the image of the country.” Where is the concern for the people who will starve as a result? That story would also “tarnish the image of the country” if it were allowed to surface in the media. Yet, new measures are further restricting the social media in Ethiopia; which, is now the most expensive country in the world for Internet among 120 countries in the study, limiting the number of users in this poor country. (See price rankings by country for the Internet.)

On the other hand, the TPLF/EPRDF government appears to be more proactive in their response to the case involving the Nuer killed by the Murle, possibly because the aggressors came from outside the country. We hope a strategy can be developed to bring the perpetrators to justice, to return those abducted as well as the cattle; however, it is also important to understand how it happened in the first place so it is not repeated.

According to reports coming out of Gambella, the deaths could have been avoided. The Murle alleged to have committed the killings, came from another country. Had there been more security at the borders to protect the citizens; they could have been stopped at the border by Ethiopian security forces whose job it was to protect the borders. However, they were not present to do their job, leaving the border open without any supervision.

Up until recently, there had been indigenous security forces at the border, consisting of members of the local ethnic communities. However, in February, ethnic violence had erupted between the Nuer and Anuak. These security forces, whose job it was to protect the people of Gambella without bias; instead, turned on each other.

We can blame the TPLF/EPRDF regime, known for using ethnic apartheid divide and conquer politics to maintain tight control over the region, as well as throughout the country. We can also point to years of regional political decisions that were used as tools to alienate one group from another; but yet, the bottom line is that members of both the Nuer and Anuak communities fell into their trap and became complicit in carrying out acts of violence against the other.

This is at a time when reconciliation among the people is of utmost importance. Instead, the situation went out of control without anything to stop it. Rather than dealing with the conflict and crimes committed by various players; the indigenous security forces, as a whole, were disarmed and moved from the border, leaving the country and people vulnerable to attacks such as this one. This provided an open door to groups like the Murle who had committed nearly the same acts against three Anuak villages several weeks ago. At that time, sixteen people were killed, including children and women, and eight children were abducted. Three Anuak villages were burned down. Following this incident, the TPLF/EPRDF regime took no action, essentially giving the opportunity for it to be repeated. This is now the second time. Had the authorities responded as they should have done the first time; it is unlikely that this most recent incident would have been repeated.

Following the latest incident where 200 Nuer were killed, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn made a public statement; but what the country needs is more than a statement. It will require action. If the regime really cares for the Ethiopian people, someone should be held accountable for this. One of those in such a position of responsibility is the Defense Minister who should explain why there was such a lack of security when the risk of guns, violence and further killing was so strong. What is the purpose of defense forces and the legal system when they are not put into action? Again, its a failure of the rule of law.

People agree that a tragedy has happened to the Nuer, but the response of the TPLF/EPRDF should be in a mature, responsible way that will not lead to losing more lives. Reportedly, Ethiopian troops have been given permission by President Salva Kiir to enter South Sudan to find the perpetrators; but it is imperative that an outcome would include a plan to address the security issues.

Simply pursuing the Murle as a whole, instead of the actual perpetrators may be used as a shortcut, but it presents the risk of worsening the outcome, especially if innocent Murle are targeted rather than bringing the real criminals to justice. A meaningful and sustainable solution should be found where the responsibility of the government to protect its own citizens is carried out in actuality, not just in a superficial way in order to look good to outsiders.

Concern for the safety of the borders should encompass all our borders since it is not only a problem in Gambella, but also in other places, like the border of Kenya. If the government is not willing to secure these borders; they should arm the citizens so they can protect themselves from exactly these kinds of attacks in the future.

These crises in the country signal an opportunity for the TPLF/EPRDF to act for the good of the people; changing their focus from self-preservation and self-interest to acting as a government for the people. In doing so, it may be the best opportunity to help avert a larger crisis that could lead to greater instability. This may be the right time for the TPLF/EPRDF to come to their senses to change the course both they and Ethiopians are on that could lead to an escalation of widespread ethnic violence— a place none of us want to go.

Instead, it is a chance to bring lasting change that could save everybody— including them. An example of such change would be to open up political space instead of repressing and cracking down on citizens, which includes opening up the media and the exchange of information via technology. Another example would be to release opposition leaders and political prisoners from prisons and jails, and to start a genuine dialogue with the opposition within the country. Still another example would be to revoke the anti-terrorism law used to repress free speech and political activism and also the Charities and Societies Proclamation that has decimated civil society.

The TPLF/EPRDF should listen to the demands of the people. At such a time as this, people are losing hope and these crises that are rising up from every corner of the country will only make it worse, as will the increasing starvation. When people warn about ethnic-based violence exploding, these reported incidents are signs of what could happen on a larger scale without change. Already many Ethiopians— as well as the ruling regime— see themselves first as a collective group where their own survival is seen as primary. The result is the dangerous dehumanization of others that could easily explode under existing conditions. This shows how vitally important it is to embrace a worldview that puts humanity before ethnicity or other differences and protects the rights and freedom of others so that one’s own freedom and rights are upheld; both for practical reasons as well as moral reasons.

The forces of change are already crouching at our door. Those forces could push us towards positive change or result in negative actions leading to an escalation of the consequences we have been seeing. Would it not be better to realize change will come, one way or another, and to embrace the opportunity to bring it in the right way? May God help Ethiopians come to their senses so as to avoid the collision course we are on now.

In closing, we are heartbroken by what has been happening and believe we can find a genuine solution if we are willing to embrace values that support not only our own collective group, but all our people— putting humanity before ethnicity, or any other difference. Human life is precious and as a society, when these lives are lost, we grieve together regardless of ethnicity, religion, regional background, political view or any other differences.

Until we are all free, no one will be free and secure. These principles, upheld by individuals, communities and the rule of law, could have stopped all of these tragedies from occurring and could even minimize the effects of the famine. With God’s help, they could equip Ethiopia for a future beyond what we could ask or imagine.

May God strengthen the families of those who have lost loved ones as they go through this difficult time and may He lead us from the edge of danger to a more compassionate, just and free Ethiopia for all.
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For more information, contact Mr. Obang Metho, Executive Director of the SMNE. Email: Obang@solidaritymovement.org

(Video) Obang Metho says 'Ethiopian government is the root cause of the problem in Gambella'

More violence forecast in Ethiopia’s Gambella as death toll rises

Clashes between different ethnic groups in west Ethiopia left 14 dead this weekend, while UN and MSF offices were targeted by angry protesters. Tensions have been rising these past months in Gambella, the region which has a population of 300,000 but has taken in 270,000 mainly Nuer refugees fleeing the conflict in neighbouring South Sudan.

(RFI) The most recent violence was sparked by an NGO vehicle with an Ethiopian driver running over and killing two children from the Nuer ethnic group in a camp for South Sudanese refugees last Friday.

Since late January, what began as a dispute over land rights between the Nuer and Anyuak ethnic groups has spread.

The clash is in part a result of the influx of thousands of ethnic Nuer who have been displaced in the civil war in South Sudan and were forced to move into the Gambella region of Ethiopia.

“It’s because of the security vacuum, which is the consequence of the conflict in South Sudan,” Ewan Lawson, a senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute in London told RFI. “It’s been a very large part of local culture for a long long time.”

But a proliferation of small arms has meant more and more serious injuries.

“But there’s also growing discontent towards the government and the lack of response from the international community,” Lawson pointed out.

“The government is just putting the bandage over the clashes because they are the root cause of it,” Obang Metho, the executive director of the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia, a nonprofit organisation promoting change in the country, told RFI. “The ruling government in Ethiopia are using ethnic apartheid to divide and conquer. And now, if you are someone from the highland part of Ethiopia, at this time now, you can kill and no one will hold you accontable.”

The UN is also part of the problem, according to Metho, because they are “dumping” refugees there. The refugees and the local people do not have anything in common, there is no peace between them, he said.

“The refugees can come from South Sudan, with guns, at any time. When you take a closer look, the Ethiopian government is part of the problem, the Gambella region is part of the problem, the international community, they left Ethiopia to survive, so thery’re part of the problem, because they don’t address the real good governing issues. There have been warnings, Ethiopia is heading to the point where it will become a ticking bomb, where ethnic groups will kill each others and by that time it will be too late.”

Would the situation change if peace is finally implemented in South Sudan?

First the rebels have to arrive at the South Sudan talks, which has taken longer than expected.

“Will the peace process in South Sudan solve the Gambella issues?” asks Christopher Clapham, from the African studies at Cambridge University. “Quite probably the opposite. Gambella has its own internal conflicts, notably between the Nuer, that’s to say Riek Machar’s group, whose main population is in South Sudan, and the local people, the Anuyak, whose population is almost entirely within Ethiopia.

“So this massive level of violence is very likely also to intensify the internal conflict within the Gambella region.”

The situation in South Sudan needs to get better so that tensions can die down in Gambella.

But the main question is: will the refugees go back to South Sudan?

“We hope that peace is going to be established in South Sudan. We believe that with the international community’s support of South Sudan, that will resolve the conflict itself,” Angele Djohossou, the Head of the UNHCR Gambella office, told RFI.

“But there’s also the need to have basic social services in place, because conflict is not the only reason of the displacement of thousands, but lack of social and economical opportunities, plus food insecurity; all of that is of concern in South Sudan.”

What the experts all agree on though is the fact that the international community needs to pay more attention to what is going on in this region before it gets out of control, as many on the ground fear.

More Violence Forecast in Ethiopia’s Gambella as Death Toll Rises

Since late January, what began as a dispute over land rights between the Nuer and Anyuak ethnic groups has spread in Gambella region of Ethiopia.

By Clea Broadhurst | RFI

Clashes between different ethnic groups in west Ethiopia left 14 dead this weekend, while UN and MSF offices were targeted by angry protesters. Tensions have been rising these past months in Gambella, the region which has a population of 300,000 but has taken in 270,000 mainly Nuer refugees fleeing the conflict in neighboring South Sudan.

The most recent violence was sparked by an NGO vehicle with an Ethiopian driver running over and killing two children from the Nuer ethnic group in a camp for South Sudanese refugees last Friday.

Since late January, what began as a dispute over land rights between the Nuer and Anyuak ethnic groups has spread.

The clash is in part a result of the influx of thousands of ethnic Nuer who have been displaced in the civil war in South Sudan and were forced to move into the Gambella region of Ethiopia.

“It’s because of the security vacuum, which is the consequence of the conflict in South Sudan,” Ewan Lawson, a senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute in London told RFI. “It’s been a very large part of local culture for a long long time.”

But a proliferation of small arms has meant more and more serious injuries.

“But there’s also growing discontent towards the government and the lack of response from the international community,” Lawson pointed out.

“The government is just putting the bandage over the clashes because they are the root cause of it,” Obang Metho, the executive director of the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia, a nonprofit organization promoting change in the country, told RFI. “The ruling government in Ethiopia are using ethnic apartheid to divide and conquer. And now, if you are someone from the highland part of Ethiopia, at this time now, you can kill and no one will hold you accountable.”

The UN is also part of the problem, according to Metho, because they are “dumping” refugees there. The refugees and the local people do not have anything in common, there is no peace between them, he said.

“The refugees can come from South Sudan, with guns, at any time. When you take a closer look, the Ethiopian government is part of the problem, the Gambella region is part of the problem, the international community, they left Ethiopia to survive, so thery’re part of the problem, because they don’t address the real good governing issues. There have been warnings, Ethiopia is heading to the point where it will become a ticking bomb, where ethnic groups will kill each others and by that time it will be too late.”

Would the situation change if peace is finally implemented in South Sudan?

First the rebels have to arrive at the South Sudan talks, which has taken longer than expected.

“Will the peace process in South Sudan solve the Gambella issues?” asks Christopher Clapham, from the African studies at Cambridge University. “Quite probably the opposite. Gambella has its own internal conflicts, notably between the Nuer, that’s to say Riek Machar’s group, whose main population is in South Sudan, and the local people, the Anuyak, whose population is almost entirely within Ethiopia.

“So this massive level of violence is very likely also to intensify the internal conflict within the Gambella region.”

The situation in South Sudan needs to get better so that tensions can die down in Gambella.

But the main question is: will the refugees go back to South Sudan?

“We hope that peace is going to be established in South Sudan. We believe that with the international community’s support of South Sudan, that will resolve the conflict itself,” Angele Djohossou, the Head of the UNHCR Gambella office, told RFI.

“But there’s also the need to have basic social services in place, because conflict is not the only reason of the displacement of thousands, but lack of social and economical opportunities, plus food insecurity; all of that is of concern in South Sudan.”

What the experts all agree on though is the fact that the international community needs to pay more attention to what is going on in this region before it gets out of control, as many on the ground fear.

A Wake-up Call: Degradation of Ethiopian Lives

Protesters in the Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa demand TPLF stop killing Oromo students. Photo be Gadaa via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

By Aklog Birara

I join 101 million Ethiopians at home and abroad in expressing utter dismay and disbelief, sorrow and anger at the wanton and brazen violation of our ancestral land’s sovereignty and borders; and the massacre of innocent people and children in Gambella. Whoever the power behind and whoever the perpetrators are, this is the first time in the annals of Ethiopia’s modern history—post fascism—that any group would do the unthinkable of attacking 200 villages simultaneously, kidnaping children and snatching huge amounts of livestock from Ethiopia. The incident reminds me of the abduction of several hundred Nigerian girls by Boko Haram and the worldwide outrage that followed. The whereabouts of many of these girls is still unknown. At the time, millions of Nigerians protested and demanded the resignation of the country’s President.

Why? Nigerians found this act of terrorism to be an affront to their honor and dignity; and felt strongly that their government was inept and incompetent. I can’t blame Nigerians. At least, they had the freedom to remove their incompetent government through a free and fair election process. We Ethiopians do not have that same right and privilege; and we should and we can if we collaborate if not unite!

Ethiopians at home and abroad find it hard to believe that any group would violate the country’s sovereignty, cross its borders in day light, go from village to village, kill 208 Ethiopians including children, “kidnap 104” innocent children and take 2,000 heads of cattle from Gambella to South Sudan. Aaron Maasha of Reuters who disclosed the news on April 16 and 18 quoted medical doctors at a local hospital in Gambella that “the hospital was filled beyond capacity” and that hundreds of lives are at stake.

No Ethiopian government in sight

The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) that dominates the state and government nominally run by the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) prides itself in establishing an intelligence, security and defense network that is second to none.

I recall during the 2005 Parliamentary Elections a heated conversation about disclosure concerning budget, composition and asset ownership by these TPLF coveted institutions and their personnel. Meles retorted then that “the defense and security establishment” is a national institution and must be “shielded from public scrutiny.” Who would disagree if it was a national institution that is composed of competent and able Ethiopians from all ethnic groups? Ethiopia had an established history of such diversity until the TPLF/EPRDF took power in 1991 and politicized the country’s defense the same way it has politicized religion and other aspects of societal life.

According to the CIA’s latest World Fact book on Ethiopia, the Oromo constitute 34.4 percent, the Amhara 27 percent (a whopping 61.4 percent) of the country’s 101 million people. Tigray constitute 6 percent of the population; but staff more than 90 percent of the top leadership in intelligence, security, defense and foreign relations. Ethiopia’s largest ethnic groups are not only the least represented; they are also the most marginalized and the most muffled. Amnesty International reported that “more than 5,000 ethnic Oromo were arrested between 2011 and 2014.” Almost all of the 200 people murdered by security forces during the 2005 elections were non-Tigrean. More than 200 ethnic-Oromo have also been killed by TPLF/EPRDF security forces over the past few months. No one really knows the number of disappearances in Oromia and Wolkait, Northern Gondar. These are the top locations where popular resistance to the dictatorship is intense.

The government’s own census reported a few years ago that 2.5 million ethnic-Amhara could not be accounted for. In Gambella more than 400 innocent people were massacred. The government has been accused of “crimes against humanity in the Ogaden” and of ethnic cleansing of Amhara at various locations throughout the country.

In brief, the state and government are therefore capable of inflicting pain and suffering on the vast majority of the population. In light of this reality, the regime’s proclivity to give special and coveted status and economic and financial privileges to the top Tigrean brass who manage intelligence, security and defense forces is understandable. The ethnic state and government can’t last without the loyalty and support of this establishment. Ethiopia has more generals today than ever. But, it is not fighting a foreign enemy. These top cadres are among the wealthiest in a country where 15-18 million people starve and where annual per capita income is a third of the Sub-Saharan African average. Where are these well-endowed generals when a “well organized and armed group” massacres innocent civilians and kidnaps more than 100 children?

Ironically, Ethiopia endears itself by availing fighters to UN peacekeeping operations in South Sudan to restore peace; and to the United States to fight Al- Shabab and other terrorist groups in the Horn. It is the largest African troop contributor to the UN. There is nothing wrong with this involvement in collective security. Ethiopian defense forces served in Korea and the Congo. Regime change should not result in change in global engagement. But Ethiopia’s first priority is to defend its borders and to safeguard its citizens.

The critical question is who within the Ethiopian intelligence, security and defense is accountable and responsible for Ethiopia’s vulnerability from foreign attack and for the massacre of innocent citizens and the abduction of more than 100 children? The Washington Post noted on April 19, 2016, that Ethiopian officials had no clue who the perpetrators are. “What we know is that they are heavily armed and well organized, and knew what they were doing….Some of them were wearing military camouflage.” The Prime Minister of Ethiopia “expressed his deepest grief.” Ironically, he and other Ethiopian officials were hosting a “high-profile African security conference in the city of Bahir Dar.” Whose security might they be talking about? We don’t really know.

Clearly, Ethiopia’s vulnerability from different directions is not given prominence by its own government. Ethiopia’s intelligence, security and defense forces are much more competent and capable of quelling civil unrest in Oromia, Gambella, the Ogaden and Northern Gondar than in anticipating external threats and n thwarting them before they do the greatest damage within the shortest time possible.

Is this crisis precedent-setting? I worry that it might be. What action, if any is the Ethiopian government going to restore public trust and preserve Ethiopia’s dignity as a sovereign state?

Unfortunately, Ethiopia’s external enemies seem to be zeroing in at a pace not seen since the downfall of the Military regime. For instance, Egyptian think tanks, academics and newspapers keep warning Ethiopia about the adverse consequences of completing and filling the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). The Sudanese government continues to assert its rights by claiming large tracts of Ethiopian lands defended by previous regimes and by the people affected.

Increasingly, there are numerous signs that the Red Sea is becoming an Arab Lake. On April 18, the celebrated Jane’s Defense Daily reported that the United Arab Emirates is building a “permanent military port in the Port of Assab.” This port is part of Ethiopia and should not have been ceded by the TPLF to Isaias Afewerki and company. Isaias Afewerki is subverting Eritrea’s newly acquired independence and undermining Ethiopia’s long term national security in the process.

What plausible guarantee is there that a small determined, organized and armed group financed by Ethiopia’s traditional enemies won’t use the Gambella precedent and destroy huge infrastructures such as dams and rails?

This is the reason for the title of a “wake-up” call. Ethiopians deserve better. They need to close ranks, establish a unity of purpose and struggle for a an all-inclusive and democratic government that would represent their interests and the interests of their country. Is it not time to unite?

Ethiopia: Why Education?

By Dr. Dejenie Alemayehu Lakew

Education is mainly needed to solve problems that mankind faces in order to live a better life. Problems may be local or global and each requires a solution of its own and some times a global solution of a global problem might solve local problems as well. I will look these things taking our country Ethiopia as a case. Ethiopia today faces existential threats as one country due to the sinister policies the Tigray TPLF psychopaths put in place, dividing Ethiopians based on Ethnic enclaves and strengthening their crafted primitive boundaries through orchestrated lies that resulted in perpetual conflicts for Ethiopians for last decades and robbing resources accumulating wealth, running illegal business and building their own villages at the expense of Ethiopians. The Oromo youth massacre, recent massacre of the Agnuack people, the Amhara versus Qimant sinister division campaigned by TPLF, a campaign similar to the one that lead to the Rwanda genocide, the ethnic cleansing that took place for the last almost three decades in Welkaite Tegedie Telemt and Wello regions, which I am still puzzled why the international community kept quite on these issues that are going on in Gondar region.Ethiopia: Why Education?

The sources of all these problems is one and that is the Tigray TPLF and this is a global problem for Ethiopia but the problems are made to be local for managing would be enemies which TPLF knew it eventually will have, which it faces now. How do we find solutions to these different kinds of problems? The global problem which is TPLF can be solved globally, by removing it from power and in that case all the local problems are solved simultaneously, but until that happens and even to help expedite its removal, we have to not forget the local problems because they are pains on citizens, we have think to be part of the search for solutions to the local problems which will strengthen the search for the global solution as well. We have to voice their problems loud and clear, we have to be with them in their struggle and eventually, all local problems may be united and expedite the search for a common solution of removing the global problem. Ailments are all local but pains due to them are global, pains are hurtful to all of our bodies, and curing ailments which is a local solution resulted in removing a global pain from our body, therefore do not underestimate the local fight to be made in the places I mentioned.

The good thing is that today every Ethiopian knows the Tigray TPLF is a wolf in sheep clothing, it is the most hated and hunted bandit group from Tigray and all Ethiopians are targeting this dangerous animal group, an alien species for peaceful coexistence of Ethiopians. Therfore addressing local problems to hold social roots is a first important step to strengthen the local fight. In this regard, the problems of Welkaite Tegede, Qimant and Amhara, Agnuack, Oromia are local ones that require solutions of their own in their locality at this time as Ethiopians are not that united to fight together the only criminal group, which helps the search for the solution to the global problems Ethiopia faces. When a medicine targets an ailment locally it is because that is the right way naturally and we have to do things this way as well.

True Education is Power- It sets directions and offers reasons to do the right things in time of trouble and peace

Education is a purpose driven and systematic way of conveying knowledge and skills to society in order humans to widen their space of imagination and cognitive power of reasoning to be analytic and rational to solve problems in the right way. Education empowers citizenry and society to utilize modes of right thinking and principles of reasoning to study problems of life, science and society and offer solutions that are proven to be true, more stable, if not lasting, it offers right ways of decision making tools than wrong ways to solve problems. Wrong ways are chosen in most cases by lack of knowledge or ignorance about things we deal with. Because of the necessity of knowledge to solve problems rightly, ancient people used to travel across continents in search of knowledge. The ancient Greek pre-Socratic philosopher and scientist Democritus used to spend his fortune and time by traveling to different countries to seek knowledge. It is said that he went to Ethiopia, India and Asia to seek knowledge.

The things we do with no knowledge of it are more costly and dangerous than not doing it at all in some cases.

Power is the ratio of energy and time to accomplish a task and these two quantities, energy and time can yield proper power when an existing energy of a certain magnitude is applied in a short period of time to accomplish a task but the same amount of energy when applied for longer time length, the power to accomplish a task is diminished. Education enables society to optimize or find right combinations of these two parameters of power to accomplish what is needed effectively. If longer time elapses, more energy is required to do the same job that could have been accomplished in shorter time length. When we educate our selves and gain knowledge, we do things in a right way and accomplish jobs effectively, otherwise acts of ignorance takes the course and we live in hell.

Life form childhood to death is a turbulent journey of solving problems that are either simple or complex in which our successes and failures depend on how we solve these problems, whose results solely depend on making right decisions. Right decisions are made when we have knowledge about the things we face and that leads us to education. Problem solving strategies tell us that the beginning of solving a problem is to identify a feasible or possible domain in which a solution is sought. If there are no feasible solutions in the given space then searching a solution in that space is foolishness as there is none and it is a waste of time. Education also enables one to know that there is an optimal time interval, in which a problem requires an effective solution, enables one to put priorities on problems that should be solved first, second etc, if they come in multiplicities and if some require paralleled solutions.

The human society is one of the natural phenomena that exist continuously but changing its behavior in time as entropy is. In entropy, the order of things change as time increases, to become more order less, while in human society it is the other way. As time passes the human society gets more cohesive and more united to form a more united and strong social structure because of necessity than a choice. Throughout history the human society lives by its decree and power it generates within and that gains from the surrounding like a tornado to expand and control more territories and be powerful and wealthy to dominate others. This was then but today every thing is different, it is in order and there is an international order and law to control order less and prohibit the desire to take others’ territories. Because of the laws and rules that are in place and the long time encounters of humans, the old type of behaviors is not appealing, it instead sounds immoral and unethical, but the same appetite still flows through the veins of mankind, the desire to be greater and powerful over others through modern available means, trade, politics, globalization in trade and financial systems, arts, culture and music. Today superpowers need the oneness of the world more than ever before, the people of technology, business, music and the arts need the world to be border less than ever before. It is because when that happens that they get more revenue, more audience, more users and more places to go and live and become more powerful globally.

No company or industry needs the oneness of the world more than Walmart, Hollywood and any business company. Their desire of a one and a united world is of a necessity of power of acquisition of more wealth and its limitless resources of mankind under one globe. Any person of business can live anywhere on the planet with his family without having any problem of citizenship. Today it is the time of global citizenship than to be fixed with one country. Today doing research is global and any person can get along with any other scientist across the globe and do collaborative work and obtain results for publication. Today the old tag of ethnicity is taken as a dirt and impediment to growth and development and global citizenship and one human family is the banner of mankind. These are the trends the world society is living and the direction in which it is moving for good with few drawbacks of its own.

But there is one society that is made to move in the opposite direction to that of the world, the Ethiopian society. Under TPLF, the Ethiopian society is forced to partition itself and join an ethnic wagon go back in time to the period of ethnicity and run his own destiny, according to his own speed, in most cases wasting time quarreling with his fellow ethnic wagon drivers on the lane due to probably width, places of destinations and keeping the wagon for their own types leaving any person on the road out if they are not theirs and sometimes running over them, practically moving back in time to places where modern societies were running away from. These were times which were called primordial or the beginning times of group formations in primitive humans, not social formations of modern man. I wrote about primordial time of existence and deceiving people to live in that mode is an insult to their intelligence that they can not live in societies of multi ethnicity as living requires solving problems and the multiplicity of groups brings more complicated problems and thereby an inability to solve and be always behind, but Ethiopians passed that mode of existence several millennium ago.

Therefore our question is, how do we know that the path of TPLF is distraction to Ethiopia and is wrong and outdated? The answer is education and knowledge. Education enables people to know the right things and therefore do the right things at the right time. By knowing that such behavior and mode of existence is primitive and reject from the outset , a 70 years old mature wise man when forced to behave like a 5 years old child, it is an insult to the person him self and to his intelligence and will never do that. Ethiopian Universities and Colleges should have a social and civic responsibility to teach what is true and beneficial to the growth and development of Ethiopia that is conformance with the world society of today. When societies are butchered each other due to sinister motives of TPLF’s ethnic wagon bantusta rule, it is the social responsibility, the moral and ethical duty of intellectuals and universities of Ethiopia to refute these lunatic and psychotic anti social destructive conundrums of TPLF and teach societies the right things, the modern and civilized human behaviors so that a wife or a husband does not kill his partner, or a tribe of one does not massacre a tribe of another. If we watch these things happening in universities back yard and do nothing then we are no more intellectuals but simply an information box where some one can use it or not use it.

The shocking killing of Qimant vs Amhara of family members is beyond belief and Bahir Dar University, University of Gondar, Debre Tabor University, Debre Markos University, Addis Ababa University, you all live in these areas and you show no concerns and offer no knowledge based and civilized understanding of the issues to the deceived innocent people to stop the madness and let them continue their normal lives as they used to. We all watched the tragedy of Titanic and the events in there and what the people inside were doing. One particular group stood out that serves this topic, the musicians. An intellectual or learned person, or university should not behave like the musicians who were playing in the Titanic saga, that while the ship was sinking and people were roaming either to tell direction to the confused, offer help that is needed, provide technical or manual help to save the ship, or run out to save themselves and save others by jumping out and in, which was the call of the event and the necessary thing to do at that seen of the disaster. The musicians instead chose simply to play their music, the only thing they are trained for while the event demands something else, at times when the ship was tilting to a particular direction, they were also tilting in that direction and keep playing. They were good for nothing, not for them selves and in fact impediment for those who were running here and there in the hallway to do something, to save life that was hanging under the cloud of death.

I see learned people and universities in Ethiopia behave like the musicians of Titanic – only enjoying doing what they do during good times but now only to them selves until their life perishes in the tragedy without trying to be a partner in solving problems. Some learnt people even talk about problems that happened in other countries while a fresh tragedy in their country is on debate. I am not saying we should not talk about problems of other countries, but how could a person talks about a burning house in some distant neighborhood to their family members while his house is set on fire and everybody is talking about it and not saying anything about their own home. This is an embarrassment to the real meaning of learning and intelligence to solve problems and I call it unreasonable unreasonableness which is an absolute cowardice of an imaginable magnitude.

The Syrian people today suffered the unseen kind of human tragedy that has never been seen since world war II and almost every Syrian person including intellectuals, professors of universities and colleges are part of the tragedy and there were right times before it was to late to take risk and tell their political leaders to do the right things and be the voices of reason, intellectual shields and saviors of their society but they chose silence and the consequences are world class social tragedy.

Dr. Dejenie Alemayehu Lakew is an adjunct professor of mathematics at John Tyler Community College, Virginia, USA