Monday, September 18, 2006

Serving the repressive TPLF regime is a historical crime, say two senior Ethiopian officers who joined the OLF

Asmara, 18 September 2006 - Two senior Ethiopian Army officers who recently joined the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) abandoning the TPLF regime said that serving the repressive regime is a historical crime.

In an interview with Eritrean Television, Brig. General Hailu Gonfa, who was a senior official in the Ethiopian Defense Ministry and Col. Gemechu Ayana, commander of the 8th Mechanized Force said that the Ethiopian people have gone through untold suffering over the past 15 years and that they have been repeatedly putting forth demands to alter such a state of affairs but to no avail. The two senior army officers went on to say that as their demand fell on deaf ears, they were compelled to raise up arms against the regime and thus join the popular struggle.

Brigadier General Hailu Gonfa

They stressed that the Army being part of the people should serve a popularly elected government and not individuals. The two officers further pointed out that as the majority of members the Ethiopian Army have come to understand this way of thinking, they are being subjected to heinous repression on the part of TPLF cadres.

Stating that the regime is making futile attempts to pit the Ethiopian people against one another on the basis of nationality, ethnicity and regionalism so as to prevent them from fostering unity, Brig. General Hailu Gonfa disclosed that this same divisive policy is being practiced by cadres within the Army who have no sense of patriotism at all.

Colonel Gemechu Ayana

Recalling the defeat of the TPLF in the 2005 elections, Col. Gemechu Ayana emphasized on his part that serving this illegal clique is a historical crime, and as such it is naпve to think that such a brutal regime would change its ways.

In a message they conveyed to the Ethiopian people, the two senior Army officers called on the population to continue their resistance in an intensified manner. They particularly reminded the country’s Armed Forces to direct their weapons against the bloodthirsty regime.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Brig. General Hailu Gonfa and Col. Gemechu Ayana join OLF abandoning TPLF regime

By StaffSep
15, 2006, 18:07

Asmara, 15 September 2006 – Brig. General Hailu Gonfa, a senior Ethiopian Army commander, and Col. Gemechu Ayana, commander of the 8th Mechanized Force, joined the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) abandoning the TPLF regime.

In a message they conveyed to members of the Ethiopian Army after jointing the OLF, the two senior Army commanders said: “At a time when the dictatorial TPLF regime is resorting to increased suppression against the Ethiopian people by stealing the people’s voice, continuing to be at the service of such a repressive regime would only aggravate the people’s suffering. In this regard, we call on all members of the Ethiopian Army to detach themselves from the illegal regime and follow our example.”

The Eritrea media would like to announce that the interview conducted with Brig. General Hailu Gonfa and Col. Gemechu Ayana would be presented next Monday.

It is to be recalled that a month ago, Brig. General Kemal Gelchu arrived in Eritrea safely, heading tens of Ethiopian colonels and hundreds of soldiers along with their full logistics, communication equipments and military hardware, abandoning the TPLF regime.

Source: www.shabait

Friday, September 15, 2006

Two senior Ethiopian army officers have defected to join the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF)

Two senior Ethiopian army officers have defected to join the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), the rebel group says. The two are Brig Gen Hailu Gonfa and Col Gemechu Ayana, who commanded the Eighth Mechanized Division.

However, Ethiopian officials said they had no knowledge of the reports. Last month Brig Gen Kemal Geltu also joined the Eritrea-backed OLF.

The two men said it was time for them to take sides in the fight between tyranny and liberty, the OLF says.

Government critics say the defections are a sign of its unpopularity but the government has portrayed the defectors as malcontents.

Gen Kemal said he had crossed the border to Eritrea, along with "hundreds" of men.

The OLF, which was at first a secessionist movement, says it is fighting for more rights for the Oromo people in Ethiopia. The Oromo are the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia, comprising about half of its 70m people.

Demonstrations after Prime Minister Meles Zenawi was re-elected in May 2005 led to a crackdown on many Oromo and other opposition organisations.

Ethiopia and Eritrea ended a border war in 2002, but Ethiopia has not withdrawn troops from the town of Badme which arbitrators awarded to Eritrea, and tensions between the two countries remain high.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Six Ethiopian soldiers arrive in Eritrea

Asmara, 7 September 2006 - Six Ethiopian soldiers who arrived here opposing the racist policy of the TPLF regime disclosed that at a time when resistance is gaining momentum within the Army, the regime is resorting to increased atrocities by imprisoning members of different ethnic groups.

They noted that many Ethiopian soldiers are defecting to different opposition organizations and fleeing to neighboring countries opposing the brutal and harsh measures the TPLF regime is taking against members of the Army.

The soldiers who arrived in Eritrea are Neguse Araya Tsadik and Gebreal Abraha Sebhat, both Tigrayans, Mohammed Adem Abdu from the Somali ethnic group, Tedros Zeleke Kasahun and Siyum Tesfayu Freisa, both of them Oromos, and Samsom Alemayehu who came from Birsheleko Training Camp.


Thursday, September 07, 2006

The TPLF Government Continue to Rob Food Aid

Oromo Liberation Front
Press Release

September 6, 2006 — It is a public secret that more than 10 million people are starving in Ethiopia. This is mainly the result of TPLF’s failed economic policies and lack of personal freedom. On the other hand, the government is using starvation as a weapon to silence the poor people and making them to focus on their daily bread than on the larger problem that the country is facing. Western governments and NGOs are responding to the incidence of starvation by providing food aid. Although this is the generosity by donors, our people are not making use of this support. It is the government is using the aid as a political tool.

The Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) has repeatedly recounted that the government of Ethiopia is diverting the aid to feed its own army or sell the food items provided as aid. We have also informed the international community that the government is using food aid to gain political support. They have been distributing food aid only to those who accepted their political program and denying those who question any of their failed policy. This is contrary to what the aid program has been meant for.

What is currently going on at food aid stations in Shashemenne, Wolayita and Finfinne (Addis Ababa) run by Oxfam and Alula Care is a good example. The aid was ear marked for the starved people in the southern Oromia and Somali region. However, with a direct order from the federal government office the aid are being loaded and sold somewhere else. Even though this is not a new phenomenon, the government is claiming that the owners and drivers of the trucks carrying the aid are stealing the aid food. Actually the government agents have been organizing and misdirecting the food aid by paying the drivers a lump sum of money corresponding to the volume of food they are transporting.

The following table summarizes the drama.

No. Plate No. of the truck Driver name Owner of truck Amount
loaded /quintal/ Dispatch No. Exit no. Date of dispatch Money paid
to driver

  1. 1 3-04879 Sisaay Yilmaa Riyad Ahmad 100 23884 08/06/2006 5,000.00

  2. 2 3-21792/05501 Indashow Fallaqaa Birhaanee W/ Sillasee 250 23879 12/06/2006 13,000.00

  3. 3 3-12947 or 3-29471 Nasir Aman Jamal Shikur 120 23900 32377 13/06/2006 6,000.00

  4. 4 3-11256 Kamal Umar Tariku Ijiguu 120 23934 32424 17/06/2006 6,600.00

  5. 5 3-27594/07740 Samu’el katamaa Tasfaye dastaa 380 23935 32413 19/06/2006 11,800.00

  6. 6 3-13303 Kifle Boggale Dani’el G/Tatiwos 182.59 24262 35035 06/07/2006 10,000.00

  7. 7 3-13393 Damise Wariye Li’ul Marqos 300 23936 32408 19/06/2006 16,000.00

  8. 8 3-22190 or 3-08912 Yared Tasfaye Balay Balachow 250 24305 32475 19/06/2006
  9. 11,500.00

  10. 9 3-16019 Alam Ara’ayaa Firew Girma 150 24307 32462 19/06/2006 7,000.00
  11. 10 3-02601 or 3-07175 Sintayohu Axnafu Shifaa Sharif 286.36 24347 26/06/2006 10,000.00

  12. 11 3-11757 Alabachow Kabbade Dani’el G/tatiwos 257.93 24319 32494 27/06/2006 10,000.00

  13. 12 3-27699 Indale Idiris Dawit Nigus 182.53 24325 35021 27/06/2006 6,000.00

  14. 13 3-19456 Addis Habte Lamma Habte 125 24351 17/06/2006 6,000.00

  15. 14 3-15299 Shamsu Samman Ahmad Indiris 100 24371 32439 21/06/2006 11,600.00

  16. 15 3-02940 or 3-06414 Nardos Gizow KidaneG/mariyam 250 24376 32447 21/06/2006 10,000.00

  17. 16 3-21161 FasilTasfaye Nuradin Ahmad 200 24386 32476 24/06/2006 6,200.00

The above table shows that more than 3250 quintals of aid have been stolen by the government during the month of June alone. With the current market value of Birr 250 per quintal, the total amount of money stolen from the food aid depot sums up to more than Birr 815, 000 (more than USD 100,000).
We, therefore, request all donors to transport the food aid they provide and devise a mechanism that ensures their food aid reaches the needy people. We also ask the international community, US government, EU and AU to put necessary pressure on Ethiopian government to allow aid agencies to deliver food aid to the victims. It is our conviction that unless the government’s sinister activity is curbed soon the already debilitating conditions of the population in Ethiopia will continue to worsen.

Information Division
OLF Foreign Relation

Source. S/T Thursday 7 September 2006

Dismissal of Oromo Students from universities continued; several have disappeared

September 6, 2006 (Oromia) - The condition at Haramaya University is deteriorating. A few among the over 60 students on the lookout list by the Federal police have reportedly been arrested. Many others are still in hiding. They are afraid of giving themselves up for fear of torture and possible killings at the hands of the TPLF militia. So far, it is confirmed that 42 students have been dismissed from the university, all of them reportedly Oromo. The names of some of the students who have been dismissed from Haramaya University include:

1. Irmaal Tasfaayee, Economics,
2. Demisse Ugussee, ADM,
3. Ebraam Daargee, Geography,
4. Kadir Adam, Soil Engineering,
5. Taaddasaa Mangashaa, Soil Engineering,
6. Waaqjiraa Emmiruu, AOL,
7. Eeliyas Adam, Agro Economics,
8. Mustafaa Maammiruu, Agro Economics,
9. Amiinaa Shibbiruu, Chemistry,
10. Hamid Milkeessa, Physics,
11. Kaamil Ahmad, Animal Science, and
12. Kibroon Takkaa, Education.

In addition, over 10 support staff at the University have been barred from their jobs. These are guards, cafeteria workers, proctors and others engaged in the non-academic and auxiliary functions. Out of these the following four have been arrested:

1. Ibsaa Muummad, Guard,
2. Ingilizuu (Nick name), Guard,
3. Hassan, Cafeteria worker and
4. Kadir, Cafeteria worker.

In connection to the unrest at the University of Haramaya, there is a widespread arrest and harassment of residents from the town of Baatee, Haramaya. Accordingly, the following high school students are under incarceration:

1Muraad Ahmed and 2. Ramadan Abdalla.
It is reported that these students are denied family visit. Their families fear that they will be subjected to torture. In addition, the following four other high school students are also arrested, but their whereabouts is unknown:
1. Ramadaan Galiilee,
2. Abdii Ammaa,
3. Kadir Raabsaa and
4. Dhaqqabaa Bakar

Oromo Students Dismissed from University of Adama

In a related report, students at Adama University are also facing the fate of their counterparts at Haramaya University. Accordingly, the following students are expelled:

1. Waaqjiraa Magarsaa, Computer Science,
2. Daani’eel Birraatuu, Accounting,
3. Gammachuu Immiruu, Math,
4. Gammachuu Fayisaa, Banking,
5. Taarikuu Olaanaa, Surveying,
6. Tolasaa Nagaraa, Accounting,
7. Malaakuu … ELC, electrical, and
8. Gurum Waldee

Many other students were also abducted during the night. Some were snatched from their dormitories. They were initially taken to the prison known in the city as 04, but now their whereabouts is unknown.

The University of Adama was under the control of the Oromia police the first couple of days. Today the Federal Police, known as Agazi, has taken control of the university after accusing the Oromia police for sympathizing with the students.

The teaching-learning process in the three universities (University of Haramaya, Adama, and Jimma) continues to be interrupted.

Division of Information
OLF Foreign Relation Office

In the names list of some students who have been dismissed from Haramaya University listed above we saw spell error. It is corrected as follows. Thank you for your understanding.

1 Ermias Tasfaye Daba, Agro Economis
2 Damasa Negasa Kum ABM
3 Abrha Darge
4 Kadir Adem, Plant Science

Rising Tensions: Addis Patrolled by Heavily-armed troops

September 6, 2006: Finfinne, Oromia —Thousands of heavily armed troops on pick up trucks mounted with machine guns patrolled all major roads and intersections in Addis today. The police was also put on high alert throughout the day. The dawn to dusk patrol was particularly different in the sense that highly agitated soldiers with looks of nervousness on their faces were looking passerby in the eye as if looking for specific individuals.

Such levels of troop presence were not seen after the disturbances following the botched elections of May 2005 were put down with a heavy-handed security crackdown.

The immediate cause for the heavy troop presence in the capital is not known. However, observers of the situation point that it has something to do with increasing tension within the armed forces following the defection of Brigadier General Kemal Galchu.

Tension has been rising lately in Ethiopia, especially in Oromia. In a mood reminiscent of the last days of the imperial and military regimes, there is a general and visible sense of uneasiness and anxiousness among the population, most notably among the youth.

Clashes between security forces and students at three universities in the regional state led to the dismissal, arrest, wounding and killing of scores of students. Opposition groups have accused the ruling party for deliberately sowing discord between students from different ethnic groups. There were also unconfirmed reports of rancor between the local Oromia police and federal security forces.

Schools are not officially open until after October. However, the disturbances in the various universities during the summer season, where the number of students attending school is relatively small and where students tend to be older elementary school teachers attending continuing education, is a harbinger of what is most likely to come when the regular school season starts in earnest later in October.

According to analysts observing the situation for a long time, this coming year could be a turning point in the rocky relationship between a highly unpopular regime and a population anxious for change. As Ryszard Kapuscinski wrote in “The Emperor, Downfall of an Autocrat”, Addis is a city of rumors, rumors which usually turn out to be true. Rumors are flying throughout the city that the tension within the army is almost out of control. In a manner indicative of serious trouble for the regime, the loyalty of the bureaucracy to the regime is declining as evidenced by the increasing number of incidents where a number of those closest to government funds have been missing with large amounts of money. There are also unconfirmed reports of mounting contradiction within the top echelon of OPDO, one of the satellite organs of the EPRDF regime.

In addition, EthioTribune has just received a report that over fifty cars and trucks traveling from Addama to Addis have stopped at Kalitti and prevented from interring Addis and forced to go back to Adama.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Ethiopia holding 250 members of Oromo ethnic group without charge, officials say

The Associated Press
Published: September 4, 2006

ADDIS ABABA:-The Ethiopian government has detained without charge more than 250 members of the Oromo ethnic group, including teachers, high school students and politicians, Oromo officials said Monday.

The Oromo make up a third of Ethiopia's 75 million people, and it have been the center of dissent against the ruling Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front.

"The government claims that there are some people in the area conducting illegal activity," Merera Gudina, head of the Oromo National Congress, told The Associated Press.

Officials at Ethiopia's Ministry of Information declined to comment.

Human rights group Amnesty International said Monday it feared the detainees were taken into custody last week "because they are members of the Oromo ethnic group."

In early August, an Ethiopian army officer of Oromo descent, Brig. Gen. Kemal Geltu, defected to traditional enemy Eritrea with more than 100 Ethiopian troops under his command. He said he was unhappy with the Ethiopian government's treatment of the Oromo.

There was no indication that those arrested were members of the Oromo Liberation Front, an insurgent group that has been fighting for greater autonomy in southern Ethiopia.

"These people are not connected to the OLF," Merera said