Tag Archives: Ogaden

Ethiopian Soldiers Brutalize Somalis In Ogaden Region

Ethiopia has been used by the Bush administration as its chief ally in the fight against terrorism in east Africa. The Ethiopian army was encouraged by Bush to invade Somalia in order to defeat Muslim fundamentalists. As part of the anti-Somali stance, the Ethiopian army has been engaged in destroying any Muslim opposition in the region of Ogaden in its own nation. The area is inhabited mainly by Somalis some of whom are part of the Ogaden National Liberation Front(ONLF). Human Rights Watch has uncovered evidence of a systematic campaign by the Ethiopian army to destroy villages and drive people away from their homes in order to deprive the ONLF of support. Civilians have been forced to fight and the Ethiopian army is killing livestock, driving people from their homes, burning over 80 villages and publicly executing people it deems to be part of enemy forces.

Human Rights Watch representative in Africa, Georgette Gagnon, said, “We don’t like to rank abuses in the world, but what is happening in the Ogaden is up there with the worst.” She added there were numerous examples of women being raped by Ethiopian soldiers.

New Darfur Emerging In Ethiopia

A new Darfur is emerging in Ethiopia as government troops are engaged in a devastating attack upon the civilian population living in the Ogaden region of the eastern part of the nation. Troops recently entered the village of Kamuda, selected seven girls and took them away. The next day the body of one girl who was raped was found hanging from a tree. The following day another girl’s body was hanging while the other seven were never seen again. A 12 year old boy was gang raped. Each night, villagers heard knocks on their door to be greeted by soldiers in search of more women. Finally, most of the villages fled. It is estimated at least 200,000 people have left their homes in search of safety while troops burn villages, rape women and kill in the name of fighting a Muslim led insurgency. UN food destined for the area has frequently been halted. There is scant doubt a systematic program of violence and intimidation is occurring sponsored by the Ethiopian government.

Ethiopia is America’s main ally in the Cape of Horn area in Africa. The Bush administration provides arms and ammunition and coordinated American air strikes with the Ethiopian invasion of Somalia to overthrow a fundamentalist Muslim government. Most Ethiopians are Christians but the Ogaden region is mainly Muslim and many people are sympathetic towards the ONLF rebel group. The Darfur horror that is emerging is mainly caused by American assistance to the Ethiopian government. Bush can end this brutality by threatening to withhold arms and ammunition, but he will not since the “war against terror” is justified to allow any act of horror or attack on civil and human rights. Perhaps, it is time for a congressional investigation into how our assistance is a factor in rape, murder, and violence against innocent civilians.