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.