March 4, 2013

Ogaden: Ethiopian Army Occupies Water Wells

The Ethiopian Army (EA) and its Associated Militia have occupied the Ogaden Water Wells since mid-February.

Below is an article published by Ogaden Online:

Since mid-February (2013), the Ethiopian Army and its Associated militia-the Liyu Police has occupied most of Ogaden well during the rainy season and has imposed draconian scheme to collect illegal money on the poor agro pastoral communities.

The EA is forcing the people to pay the following amounts of Ethiopian Birr per animal and per person every time the families come to water their livestock or draw water from the wells.

An average family may bring to the wells 50 camels, 80 goats and sheep, 2 camels carrying water containers for the families ( Dhaan), four members of the family (5950 Birr a day). This may happen twice for the camel watering and four times for the sheep/goat and people a month. The cost to family for a month will be around 12, 800 ETB, which is equivalent to 640 USD (12800 x 0.05). The cost for a family with 40 cows, 2 water-carrying camels, 2 donkeys, 50 goats and sheep, and 3 family members may be around 10,500 ETB (Ethiopian Birr), which is equivalent to 525 USD. The Ogaden Somalis are the poorest in Ethiopia and forced to pay each month six times the amount of Ethiopia’s annual per Capita GDP of 1200 USD.

Imposing these hefty sums to a people already burdened by the economic and aid embargo and constant oppression during the dry Jilaal season, when life is hard in the Ogaden is tantamount to genocide and is intended to destroy the livelihood of the Ogaden people.

ONLF calls the international community and the UN to intervene immediately and stop this new attempt to annihilate the Ogaden people. Furthermore, ONLF calls the international NGO’s working in Ogaden to stop kowtowing to Ethiopian government bullying and speak about the atrocities they are witnessing on a daily basis.

The Ogaden National Liberation Front strongly condemns this callous and inhuman act and hold accountable for any human catastrophe that results from this to the Ethiopian Prime Minister and his administration.