Dec 20, 2010

Ogaden: Villages Burnt By Ethiopian Troops

Ethiopian troops have burnt several villages in the Ogaden region, causing civilian deaths and leaving many families homeless. Tension in the affected districts remains high and local residents are outraged at the government’s ‘inhumanity’.

Below is an article published by Ogadentoday:

Ethiopian Troops alongside with the Liyu Police Militia burned the Farmadow and the Gaba-Gabo Villages in Qorahay Zone, a source said.

The incident happened on the Saturday [18 December 2010] morning, as one of the residents told an Ogadentoday reporter in Jigjiga and confirmed civilians including women and children are killed in the villages. The burning comes after [a clash between] Ethiopian troops and Ogaden National Liberation Front fighters three days [earlier] in the Qorahay Zone and Dhagahbour.

[When] asked who burned the villages exactly, the resident reported, that the convey of troops came to the village in the early morning and they gathered the civilians, blaming them that they support the ONLF, a nationalist movement fighting for independence of the region. […] Ethiopian troops and the newly recruited Liyuu Police militia under the Somali Regional state […] burned 21 houses and killed 6 persons.

Some analysts in the region believe that the act is a matter of revenge and is common when Ethiopian troops loose the fight […] against the ONLF troops.

[…] one of the relatives, who asked for Ogadentoday not to [identify him], confirmed that his grand-mother aged 71 […] died in the house burned by the Ethiopian troops. I am shocked, that my grand-mother was killed, [it] was such an inhumanity, said one of the relatives, […] crying loudly.

Tension is high in Jigjiga, Kebridahar and Dhagahbour, people are talking about the matter and are very shocked. Rights organizations have been accusing the Ethiopian troops for civilian killing, rape and arrest in the Ogaden region for the last 5 years but Ethiopia denied all accusations.

There was no comment from the Ethiopian government and the ONLF about the last three days of clashes. The ONLF, founded in 1984, says the Somali-speaking population in Ethiopia's oil-rich Ogaden region has been marginalized by Addis Ababa.

Ethiopia's military launched an offensive against the ONLF after its fighters attacked a Chinese-run oil venture in Ogaden in 2007.