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.