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The conflict on the border of Oromia and Somalia, particularly in the Borana region, has been characterized as a simple conflict that arises from a dispute on a grazing land and water shortage. However, what happened in Moyale starting December 9, 2018, is a clear rebuttal of this notion and a strong indicator of a greater crisis ongoing in the area.
Actually, what we saw was a coordinated attack on Borana Oromo civilians by Garii SomaliLiyu police, as well as Ethiopian federal army. It is very hard to imagine what kind of grazing land or water exists in the middle of a town that prompted the killing of innocent people in the market, burning of buildings, and desecrating Oromia regional flag.
Displaced Oromos
The current conflict in Moyale is a saddening reality of the current situation in the country, particularly the Oromia region. While the silence of the entire nation is not expected, the inaction and obvious disregard of the Oromia regional government following the conflict is confusing and alarming. The leader of the Oromia region, President Lemma Megersa, has an obligation to address such significant issue in the region. To go a little far, not only addressing the issue, but the president has also an obligation to be on the ground and observe and assess the situation and comfort his people. However, we did not see any of the above.
The Oromia president and his government chose to be silent and act as if nothing happened. The sad part is that the only official who addressed the issue was out to blame the Oromo citizens instead of those committed the crime. Abebe Garasu on his interview characterized innocent Oromo citizens who sacrificed their lives to defend their land as a lawless and gangs. In his interview, Mr. Garasu suggested the information was given to him from the local office, the account since disputed by a local official whom he cited. Is this an honest misstep by Mr. Garasu or a well-thought response that reflects the Oromia regional government’s viewpoint? Well, it is hard to know. However, up to this moment, there is no clarification or demand for an apology. Thus, any assumption is a fair game.
More disturbing is the absence of outcry from Oromo activists and opposition parties. I am wondering where all the activists went and why they are silent when Borana bleeds, when Hararge bleeds, when Wallaga bleeds, ……. and so on. What happened to the slogan “Ummata Kenya wajjin duna” or “Hanga donutti miraga ummata Kenyaa falmu irra booda hindebinu”. It seems the entire uproars at the past were a pure propaganda after all. Interestingly, the same individuals were full of opinion and anger when Moyale was under similar siege early this year before everyone went back to Ethiopia. What happen to that emotion? These are the same Oromo people and the same Oromo land that is under attack. This shows standing for Oromo is not measured by atrocity committed against Oromo but by the compatibility of the situation for activists and opposition party narrative. When one is part of the government or supports the government, all the opinion and fearless talk vanish overnight.
Currently, the Ethiopian Government and all opposition groups are trying to promote the notion that Ethiopia is peaceful and things are going back to normal. Therefore, anything that contradicts this notion does not get attention.
That is why Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed and his admiration has not addressed any of the conflicts ongoing in the Oromia regions like BoranaWallaga, and Hararge. Well, it is not normal to burn down Oromia, it is not normal to displace Oromo citizens, and above all, it is not normal to kill innocent Oromo civilians in MoyaleDambi dolloCinaqsan or anywhere. Thus, the government has to snap out of its illusion and address the issue to make sure all citizens are protected.
Regardless of the government’s stand and activist’s opinion, the Oromo people shall continue to stand for their right and protect their land. All Oromo should know that what is happening in BoranaHararge, and Wallaga will happen anywhere. It is a matter of time. If we leave those on the front line alone, the enemy will not stop. Let us defend our borders.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr.
Horaa Bulaa Deebana
Also read:  Somalia conflict: Al-Shabab 'collects more revenue than government'

About Whispers from the North

Whispers from the North is an online platform that appreciates the ecological, cultural and socio-economic diversities of Northern Kenya. We also acknowledge that the lives of the communities of northern Kenya has been shaped by a number of intrinsic and extrinsic factors which have led to complex challenge that calls for a multifaceted approach.

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