February 27, 2015

Ogaden: OYSU Holds Mourning Ceremony for Civilians Killed in 1994

The Ogaden Youth and Student Union (OYSU) at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) hosted an event to pay tribute to the innocent civilians killed by the Ethiopian armed forces. In September 1994, the Ethiopian occupying forces massacred a group of civilians , including mainly women, children and elderly people in Kebri Dahar and Werder. The event at UJ gathered representatives from South African and Ogaden organizations, as well as students and lawyers. 

Below is an article published by the Somaliland Informer:

 

A mourning for the massacred Civilians in Ogaden region was held in Johannesburg, South Africa on Wednesday [25 February 2015], which highlighted the atrocities that continue to affect the people in the Ogaden region.

February is Ogaden National Month of mourning, following the killing of innocent civilians, mainly women, children and elderly, by the hands of the Ethiopian occupying forces in Kebri Dahar and Werder towns in September 1994. After this event, the Ogaden MPs voted yes to self-determination.

The event was hosted by the Ogaden Youth and Student Union (OYSU) at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) Campus and invited International NGOs, Lawyers, Human Rights organizations, members of government organizations, ONLF Spokesperson, Ogaden Women Association (OWA) and Ogaden Community in South Africa (OCSA), Somali and South African students from University of Johannesburg.

The event opened with a presentation from the Chief organizer of the Ogaden Massacre Day Abdirisak Aden, an OYSU representative, who gave detailed accounts about the atrocities that are taking place in Ogaden and the past human rights violations, which were extensively reported, published, documented and denounced by leading Humanitarian and Human Rights NGOS like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Genocide Watch.

After guest speakers, poems and presentations the OYSU representative Halganto Zamzam asked the honorable officials from Human Rights Lawyers, ONLF Spokesperson, Ogaden Women Association and Ogaden Community in South Africa to answer questions from the audience.

Abdulkadir Sheikh Hassan Hirmooge, ONLF Spokesperson, who has been in South Africa since early of February spoke to the audience.

”Ethiopia’s scorch-earth policy is continuing for decades now. We call on South Africa, which is one of the most powerful countries in Africa,” said Hirmooge.

In February 2012, the Ogaden Community in South Africa filed a complaint, comprising 700 pages of evidence against Ethiopian Security Forces in Ogaden and was lodged with the director of public prosecutions, according to an Al-Jazeera English report.

According to a report published on Ogaden News Agency, the OYSU has renewed filing a complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC) with the help of South African Lawyers.

”We will pursue to bring in front of justice those who have committed war crimes and Crimes against Humanity in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia,” said Siyad Badal, a South African Lawyer based in Johannesburg.

Abdirahman Sanweyne attended in the event and said, “without U.S-UK money, Ethiopian Security Forces would not be able to commit crimes including extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detention, rape, torture, disappearance, the destruction of livelihood, the burning of villagers, confiscating livestock and forced marriage."

Donors, mainly the U.S and the United Kingdom, give 3 billion dollars to Ethiopia annually and he urges the U.S and the UK to stop funding Ogaden-genocide.

”They are the ones that can do something about it. They can put pressure on Ethiopia to refrain from committing more atrocities against Somali people in the Ogaden region,” said Mr. Sanweyne.

Finally, the audience watched a shocking footage regarding Ethiopia’s ethnic cleansing policy towards Somali people in the Ogaden region.