TENSION is running high between the population of the Afar Regional State and the central government run by the ruling EPRDF following the violent repression of Afar civilians by the federal police. The incident took place in the town of Awash, 160 km from Addis Ababa, on 20 April.
According to some witnesses, there were around twelve victims. Civilians had blocked the road from Addis Ababa to Djibouti for several hours to protest against the frequent bandit raids against their livestock. According to them, corrupt members of the federal police turned a blind eye to these raids.
An Ethiopian army general came to negotiate with the demonstrators. He promised them that the federal police responsible for the repression would be put on trial and that he would deal with the security problem in the zone. He then had the federal army deployed in Awash and the surrounding area.
However, a meeting on this issue between Afar elders and representatives of the Ethiopian government did not finally take place. For their part, some hundreds of students from the nursing college and the University of Samara, capital of the Afar Regional State, held a demonstration on 23 April to protest against the Awash repression and more generally against the fact that Afar land had been seized in Doubté, near Samara. About a dozen demonstrators were arrested and put in prison.
On 21 April, federal police spokesman Abebe Worku played down the incident and denied that any civilians had been killed. However, eyewitnesses confirmed that the federal police had indeed killed Afar civilians.
Confrontations like this are a frequent occurrence in this region, where Afars oppose being expelled from their ancestral land, being displaced and the shortage of water points for their livestock along the River Awash. So far, all their complaints to the federal authorities have been to no avail.
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Stop Military Aggression Against Civilians in Afar Region of Ethiopia!
Afar People’s Party (Qafar Ummattah Party)
THE ongoing atrocities committed by the TPLF/EPRDF regime are reaching the limit in Ethiopia in general and that of the Afar region in particular. April 20, 2014 the regime instigated conflict flared around Awash killing 12 Afar civilians. This act of state terror was committed by the federal polis. Outraged by this act of terror, the civilians in Awash blocked Addis Ababa-Djibouti road causing stop for all goods coming from Djibouti port demanding the removal of corrupt army from the locality.
Likewise, in March 2014 the militia of the Tigray Region besieged Konnaba district in North West of the Afar Region, which also ended in blocked road to Tigray Region until today. As usual, the Afar regional officials seem to be paralyzed to act on behalf of the Afar civilians. Hence, TPLF/EPRDF regime and its army should be held accountable for the brutal crime against humanity. Since Woyane seized power in Ethiopia, the Afar population is harassed, humiliated and hundreds of them have been killed by the army throughout these years.
In addition, displacement of thousands of Afar pastoralists continues due to land grabbing for Woyane affiliated investors in vicinities Afdera, Dallol, Teru and along the Awash Valley.The pastoralists have been evicted to desert areas without access to water and other facilities.
Afar People’s Party condoms the killing of the civilians, forced displacement, land grabbing, social injustices with strongest possible terms.
Afar People’s Party also shares the concerns of Horn of African analysts who indicate that the situation in the Afar region could lead to a civil war and destabilize Ethiopia. We encourage the civilian to continue their peaceful demonstrations to denounce the state terror in different places for the coming two weeks.
• We call on the army to immediately end the act of terror on civilian!
• We call on Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch and Journalists to investigate the situation in Afar regional state.
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