Oromia. Prosperity Party is preparing an offensive near Ramadam and Orthodox Easter.
Unfortunately, even for 35 million Ethiopian citizens in Oromia, Ramadam and Fasika this year could be eclipse by the storm of violence and destruction that the Federal Government, led by Premier Abiy Ahmed Ali: Prosperity Party is preparing.
Ethiopia is famous for tolerance and coexistence between religions and for the profound faith of the population. We are approaching two very important and popular religious celebrations. Ramadam will begin on April 13. Fasika (Ethiopian Orthodox Easter) will be celebrated on 2 May. It is certain that these two important appointments of faith will not be celebrated in Tigray where the military escalation due to the third offensive by the Eritrean troops is creating more victims, destruction, war crimes. In Tigray there will be no time to observe Ramadam or to celebrate Fasika. In Tigray, the dead are mourned and some food is sought to survive.
Unfortunately, even for 35 million Ethiopian citizens in Oromia, Ramadam and Fasika this year could be eclipsed by the storm of violence and destruction that the Federal Government, led by Premier Abiy Ahmed Ali: Prosperity Party is preparing.
Since Friday 9 April, columns of armored vehicles, tanks and long-range heavy artillery from the Eritrean and Ethiopian armies are entering the State of Oromia in an attempt to defeat the armed uprising of the Oromia Liberation Front — OLF and its military wing Oromia Liberation Front — OLA. Photos of Chinese-made Type 89 AFV armored vehicles were leaked on social media as evidence of an impending Ethiopian-Eritrean offensive.
In total 25,000 soldiers (mostly Eritreans), 3,000 Fano Amhara militiamen and about 2,000 men from another fascist Amhara militia: Liyu Hayil, after stopping the OLF-OLA offensive on the capital Addis Ababa are now preparing the hell in Oromia identical to what we already know in Tigray. A gift from the Prosperity Party for the period of Muslim and Christian holidays. As happened in Tigray, telephone and internet communications were also interrupted by the federal government in various areas of Oromia.
Verified reports suggest that the escalation of the civil war in Oromia has already begun. Between Friday and Saturday there were two important clashes between the triple alliance coalition (Eritrea, Ethiopia, Amhara) and the OLF-OLA. The first in the locality of Gimbi, West Wellega, where a convoy of trucks carrying reinforcements from federal troops was ambushed. The second in the locality of Liben, East Guji, a federal army patrol was ambushed on their way to the military camp of Gimii Eldelo, occupied by the Oromo rebels a month ago.
The OLF-OLA in both cases claims victories, which are not easy to verify. The only evidence comes from the health authorities of the hospital in the town of Nedjo. They confirm that they have received a high number of federal soldiers with gunshot wounds. “The destruction of enemy units in Gimbi and Liben are a clear message of what federal, Eritrean and Amhara militias should aspect in Oromia,” said the Soddom Booroo Brigade, one of the elite units of the Oromo Liberation Army. Also according to the OLF intelligence service, its guerrilla units have seized an important government weapons depot after an attack on an unspecified military camp.
One sure news is that the Wallagga area, western Oromia, is under siege by Eritrean troops and Amhara militias. Communications, electricity and water have been cut off. Already a few thousand people are fleeing the fighting. Local sources say that the OLF-OLA militiamen in Wallagga would find themselves in serious difficulty with the possibility that triple alliance forces will destroy the Western Oromia defense line. Resistance in Wallagga is becoming a symbol of the Oromo struggle against the central state.
Humanitarian sources say that there is a mass recruitment of Oromo youth. Under the slogan Nutis Wallaggaadha (we are all Wallagga) several hundred young people have activated in wards of partisans with the task of attacking federal army logistics columns to stop the supplies of food, water, weapons and ammunition. Objective: to force Eritrean soldiers and Amhara militiamen to withdraw from the Wallagga front line. The OLF-OLA claims the death of Ethiopian brigade commander Getinet Mulgeta who fell on Saturday 10 April during a battle in Wallagga.
Human rights activists report that in the past week in the areas of the Amhara Region with a mixed population the Amhara militias have killed at least 303 ethnic Oromo citizens. It is feared that ethnic cleansing has begun in the region as in the southern parts of Tigray now populated by Amhara settlers and under the direct administration of far-right Amhara leadership.
In Addis Ababa, there is a wave of arbitrary arrests of Oromo dissidents and University students orchestrated by the head of the NISS secret services: Temesgen Tiruneh already suspected of having coordinated in Addis Ababa the arbitrary arrests of many citizens of Tigrigna origin between November and December 2020. Tiruneh, together with Agegnehu Teshager (current President of the Amhara State) they are at the top of the leadership of the nationalist Amhara leadership, held responsible for the repression of the NISS services and the crimes committed by the Fano and Liyu Hayil militias.
The tactics of violence consisting of massacres of civilians, mass rape and looting are very similar to those adopted by the Serbian and Croatian militias during the civil war in Yugoslavia in the 1990s. The political leaders of the OLF arrested from August 2020 onwards remain in prison as Premier Abiy consider them a serious danger to his control of the country and to the project to destroy the ethnic federation by imposing a centralized and authoritarian state.
No news from the front reported here finds any confirmation from the Ethiopian Federal Government.
Although the OLF-OLA militiamen are proving to have several men at their disposal well supplied with weapons, ammunition and military training, it will be hard for them to stop the imminent offensive in Asmara and Addis Ababa. The risk is that Oromia and her people will suffer the fate of the Tigray regardless of which of the contenders will be the winner.
With the escalation of the conflict in Oromia, the situation in Ethiopia worsens. A significant percentage of the national territory is in fact outside the administrative control of the government: Tigray, Oromia, Benishangul-Gumuz (where the GERD mega dam stands), border areas with Sudan, Afar, Somali Region (ex Ogaden). The ongoing conflicts in these regions are increasing the number of displaced persons and refugees. According to Humanitarian Aid experts, this number is destined to increase this year due to the various offensives and counter offensives that are destroying public infrastructure, crops and foodstuffs. Escalations of food insecurity, malnutrition and a drastic worsening of sanitary, water and hygienic conditions are expected.
Various regional observers fail to understand Premier Abiy’s policy which led him to unleash conflicts against significant sectors of his population (Oromo represent 40% of the national population while Tigrigna 7%) and then be forced to entrust the majority of military operations to foreign troops from Eritrea. Various observers agree that prior to the military adventure in Tigray (which opened the Pandora’s box of ethnic warfare across the country) there were real possibilities to solve Ethiopia’s internal political problems by peaceful means in a very simple, less expensive, honorable and lasting way.
According to what reported by the Ethiopian government media, the conflict between Afar and the Somali Region could find a solution. This would ease the pressure suffered by the Eritrean troops who are now fighting everywhere in Ethiopia to defend the Amhara leadership, the Prosperity Party and Premier Abiy. According to what reported by the state media on Thursday 8 April, the Presidents of the Afar and Somali Region states have agreed to resolve peacefully the problems and ethnic tensions that have led to the recent clashes between the respective regional security forces. The federal government security services would participate in the meeting.
The probable escalation of the conflict in Oromia seems inevitable to prevent the OLF-OLA forces from continuing to occupy territories and threaten the capital Addis Ababa. Unfortunately, the immediate side effect is the reduction of the Triple Alliance troops fighting in Tigray. Many divisions now moved to Oromia. This situation give advantage to TPLF, which can now launch new offensives to free Tigray.
Between Thursday 8 and Saturday 9 April there were several clashes in Tigray. Ethiopian and Eritrean forces lost the locations of Wukro Maray and Selekleka now under the control of Tigrinya forces. Before retreating, may have carry out massacres against civilians to avenge the losses suffered. Massacres of civilians are also recorded in the cities of Shire and Axum. It is still unclear who actually controls the historic Ethiopian city of Axum. Other clashes between the forces of the Triple Alliance and the TPLF are record in other locations in Tigray. The situation is extremely confusing but one gets the clear impression that the third military offensive attempted by the Eritrean government has also been shattered in the face of the resistance of the TPLF.
It is now clear TPLF counter-offensives are aimed at expanding territories under its control in Central Tigray trying to liberate north and south areas. This is mandatory strategy because if the TPLF remains closed in Central Tigray, it risks being defeated.
We must ask ourselves how does the TPLF resist by engaging in pitched battles with extensive use of artillery and heavy weapons, just as it was possible that OLA Oromo militias, defeated in 2020, are now able to was a direct threat to the capital forcing the launch of a second military campaign in the country. There are strong suspicions that both “rebel” formations are receiving support and supplies from Sudan and Egypt, the two countries involved in the very dangerous dispute over the waters of the Nile and the GERD dam.
With the offensive in Oromia, Nobel Peace Prize Premier Abiy finds himself making a difficult choice. Concentrating troops in Oromia to maintain control of the capital Addis Ababa by weakening the war capacity in Tigray or vice versa. For obvious reasons it seems that the Premier has opted for the defense of the capital and for the control of Oromia. Abiy is struggling to impose the supremacy of her political formation: the Prosperity Party has been leading the country since December 2019 thanks to a constitutional coup that replaced the ruling coalition led by the TPLF: Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democrats Front EPRDF).
The unity of the Prosperity Party is suffering the effects of the civil war. The P.P. it is base on ethnic lines. In practice, it is a party that unites five ethnic parties: Amhara PP (APP), Oromia PP (OPP), Somali PP (SPP), Sidama PP and Tigray PP (TPP). The crisis between the Oromia PP and the Amhara PP, which began in March 2021, is now worsening due to the war events in Oromia. Both the two ethnic parties accuse themselves of being the cause of the violence and massacres carried out so far. One wonders how it will be possible to promote the Ethiopian national identity at the expense of the ethnic one and create a strong central state when the ruling party itself is divide on ethnic grounds and reflects all the tensions existing between the various ethnic groups in conflict with each other.