Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Tuesday, September 17, 2019 05:22:08 PM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

Rising misery as Ethiopia struggles to stem ethnic tensions

photo by AP photo

More than a million people have been displaced due to ethnic conflict in Southern region of Gedeo state and West region of Oromia state.

Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

AFP, Cherqo :
More than a year after his house in southern Ethiopia was razed to the ground, his coffee plantation destroyed and cattle stolen, Teketel Memheru is still too terrified to return home.
The 22-year-old is one of hundreds of thousands of people uprooted from their homes by ethnic clashes in a burgeoning domestic crisis the Ethiopian government is battling to contain.
"I witnessed a neighbour of mine hacked to death and another neighbour was burnt alive in his house. I'm scared to go to farm my agricultural plot for fear of attacks," said Teketel, an ethnic Gedeo who says he came under attack by Oromos - the country's largest ethnic group. Officials insist that what became the world's biggest internal displacement crisis in 2018 is under control, and that more than a million people have returned to their homes.
However those working on the ground - speaking anonymously to avoid a government backlash - say the displaced are being forcibly returned. They warn that the dire humanitarian conditions are only set to get worse. "Peace is not restored, I didn't meet a single person who wants to return under these conditions. People are really scared. It will get more difficult," an aid worker told AFP.
The worker said that in May local officials and soldiers had entered the camps and ordered people to leave. Most people however had just disappeared once again into a fatigued host community and were living in utter "misery". In addition, hunger levels had become a "catastrophe".
"We believe levels of violence and displacement will continue," said the worker.
Since coming to power in April 2018 after two years of anti-government unrest, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed - himself an Oromo - has been hailed for his efforts to end the iron-fisted rule of his predecessors.
He has embarked on economic reforms, allowed dissident groups back into the country, and an easing of control has seen Ethiopia jump 40 points in the 2019 press freedom index.
But the loosening of the reins has had a far darker side, as years of tensions between ethnic groups who are divided into nine autonomous regions, have boiled over - usually over land and resources - leading to deadly violence in the country of over 100 million people.
One of the hotspots is along the borders of the Gedeo district - which is part of the vast Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Region - and West Guji in Oromia.
The verdant, rolling hills of this southern region, are where some of the world's best coffee is grown. It is also the most densely populated part of the country, with residents facing a critical shortage of farmland.
Tensions have long existed between the groups, but last year the Oromo of West Guji attacked the Gedeo living on their side. The clashes led to the world's largest displacement crisis, with over a million mostly ethnic Gedeos displaced, according to government figures.
Similar violence erupted in 2017 between Somalis and Oromos in the southeast Somali region, also displacing around one million people and leaving hundreds dead.
And last month dozens of people were killed in clashes between residents of northern Benishangul Gumuz and Amhara states.
"None of these conflicts are entirely new, but several of them have flared at a larger scale than we've seen in the past," said William Davison, the International Crisis Group's senior Ethiopia analyst.
He said there were multiple factors at play stoking tensions.
These include the weakening of the once all-powerful ruling EPRDF as a result of years of protests and infighting, an economic slowdown that has hit the poor hard, and a shake-up of the security apparatus under Abiy.
"There has been a loosening of control which has led existing disputes to take on a new dimension," said Davison.
Add to this a poorly functioning ethnic federal system, opportunities presented by the political transition, and competition for resources in an impoverished nation.
Abiy's opening has led to ethno-nationalists staking different claims, but at the same time he is loath to lean back on the repressive tactics once used to deter and crack down on intercommunal violence.
"Abiy has been clear his government is disinclined to use past methods and send in police or soldiers to apply lethal force and conduct mass arrests on the spot."

Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Football »

Klopp expects daunting ride as Liverpool eye Istanbul return

AFP, London :Jurgen Klopp has warned Liverpool that retaining the Champions League will be even harder than their incredible march to victory in Madrid last season.Klopp's side start their bid to win a seventh European Cup with a trip to Napoli for their Group E opener today.The Reds have reached ...

International »

Johnson the Brexit ‘Hulk’ finally meets EU's Juncker

AFP  :British Prime Minister Boris Johnson met EU chief Jean-Claude Juncker for talks Monday insisting a Brexit deal is possible, despite deep scepticism from European capitals with just six weeks to go before departure day.After a weekend in which he compared himself to comic book super-smasher Hulk, the British leader ...

International »

Outsider leads after divisive Tunisia presidential poll

AFP :Political outsider Kais Saied was leading Tunisia's election with just over a quarter of votes counted, the election commission said Monday, in the country's second free presidential vote since the Arab Spring.Saied was on 19 percent, leading imprisoned media magnate Nabil Karoui, who was on 14.9 percent, and ahead ...

City »

Chairman of Human Rights Society Anwar-e-Taslima along with its five members paid a courtesy call on Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal at the latter's personal office in the city's Dhanmondi on Monday.

Editorial »

Check widespread corruption before it is too late

ROAD Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader yesterday said that investigation would be conducted against allegations of purchasing defective buses by the Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation from India. He said BRTC chairman has been directed to investigate the matter. About 600 buses and 500 trucks have been procured by the ...

Entertainment »

Shanu coming as Alta, to publish her new books

Entertainment Report :On the occasion of coming Ekushey Book Fair, popular actress Shanarei Devi Shanu-written three books will be published. She has already finished writing of a novel book titled Lipstick and a poetry book titled Priyotom Megh. She will also write another book for the children. According to her, ...

Editorial »

They are byproduct of corrupt politics

MANY Chhatra League leaders often share on social media the Prime Minister's quote "let high principles and a simple way of living be your ideologies in life". She had said this to Bangladesh Chhatra League many a time. But the pro-AL student body's some leaders had other ideas.  BCL now ...

Football »

Rashford penalty edges Man United past Leicester

Marcus Rashford put the disappointment of a previous penalty miss behind him by scoring from the spot to give Manchester United a much-needed 1-0 win over Leicester at Old Trafford on Saturday.The result was also a personal triumph for United's £80 million ($99 million) defender Harry Maguire, signed from Leicester ...

International »

Former British PM Cameron slams Boris Johnson over Brexit

Former British prime minister David Cameron launched a blistering attack on the UK's current leader Boris Johnson in extracts of his memoirs published Sunday, accusing him of only backing Brexit to further his own career.He said Johnson, who took office in July, believed that campaigning for Britain to leave the ...

Entertainment »

Sushama as Draupadi on stage

Sheikh Arif Bulbon :Sushama Sarker is a versatile actress in both TV and theatre plays. She also got appreciation for acting in several numbers of movies. Since 2000 she has been attached with theatre group, Desh Natok. Under the banner of this group her performances in plays Jonomey Jonmantor, Birsa ...

Editorial »

Better find out a permanent solution

THE government has planned to build barbed wire fencing around the Rohingya refugee camps in Cox's Bazar due to increasing incidents of human trafficking. Following a proposal placed by Cox's Bazar police, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Defence Ministry in a meeting on September 4 agreed on the need ...

Cricket »

I always had the outswinger: Bumrah

He may have become as important to India's bowling as Virat Kohli is to their batting, but it's clear that Jasprit Bumrah doesn't have the flamboyance of his captain as yet. In these times, where cricketers wear their confidence, and at times arrogance on their sleeves, his shy persona, humble ...

Cricket »

I will support De Kock in any role he wants me to: Miller

Quinton de Kock possesses an "incredible cricket brain", feels senior batsman David Miller, who is ready to perform "any role" that the new South African white-ball skipper wants him to.Left-handed Miller along with De Kock and Kagiso Rabada form the core of a new-look South African limited overs set-up which ...

International »

EU citizens uneasy at UK’s Brexit ‘settlement scheme’

AFP, London :After days attempting to apply online to remain in the UK after Brexit, EU citizen Bina Gayadien was faced with the same message: her information was "insufficient".The Dutch lawyer, a UK resident for 20 years, is one of thousands discovering that the British government's system to process their ...

International »

Joe Biden weathers Democratic debate but uncertainty persists

Joe Biden did what he needed to - avoid major blunders - in the latest debate featuring the top Democrats in the 2020 race for the White House, but the frontrunner faced lingering doubts Friday about his ability to take on President Donald Trump.The centrist former vice president weathered sustained ...

Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Write a comment to this news