By; Ismail Mohammed Abdi
During the last few months, the border conflict between the Oromia and Somali Regions of Ethiopia has taken a new turn. First, it has attracted lots of media attention mainly originating from the Oromia opposition groups and individuals outside the country. The conflict has become a rallying point for such rogue groups as the Oromo Liberation front (OLF) whose intent is only to add flames to any domestic fire solely to advance their obviously crooked agenda which none of us here in Ethiopia has any doubts about.
Secondly, the Oromo People’s Democratic organization (OPDO) itself has ironically not chosen a different path and merely replicated the terror groups’ agenda of turning Ethiopian people against themselves. Instead of choosing to resolve the land-related problem peacefully with its neighbor, the Somali Region, as the case has in the past, all that the regional government, with the whole weight of its lawmakers and intellectuals, has done in the past seven or eight months was to send thousands of heavily armed militia and paramilitary police members to border areas to fight pastoralists in their villages of origin, leading to catastrophic casualties including unnecessary human deaths, displacement and devastation of local livelihoods mostly on the Somali regional state side of the border.
The fact that there are also some deaths reported by the Oromia opposition press and Oromia regional government on their side does not necessarily wash this tragic mess off the hands of the Oromia administration. Rather, it only confirms the common wisdom that no one is immune to the ills of warfare and even aggressors, like attackers from Oromia in this case, could be killed once fighting breaks out.
A very important question to be asked at this juncture is this: where did the reported deaths of the militiamen and paramilitary members from Oromia take place? The indisputable answer remains inside Somali Region and not otherwise. This fact does not change regardless of whatever side one may take in this conflict but most interestingly it says a lot about who is the attacking force in the first place and who is been attacked. In other words, those who are dying in a territory other than their own are the attackers, refuting all claims of the Oromia regional lawmakers and the opposition press that Somali communities in the border areas are on the offensive side.
It is not the first time that we have seen the OPDO in bed with these well documented malignant Oromo groups whether intentionally or unintentionally, that have fallen out with the country’s constitution.
However, this last one brings the OPDO approach to the border disputes into a whole new level where senior members of the Oromia Regional Government, including the current president and regional lawmakers, clearly feed on opposition propaganda and are openly praised by the opposition press for complementing their agenda.
It seems that there are clear convergence in the roles for each party here: the OPDO domestically becomes the operational arm running the fighting machinery intended to destabilize Ethiopian Somali communities in border areas whereas the opposition groups, including those banned by law, would run the media warfare needed to shape the opinion of domestic and international audiences and entities.
In this series will also look at the other interconnected issues and events as well as the maneuvers by the different groups whether it is that of the OPDO or that of other nefarious groups like OLF and their propaganda machines like Opride.com as well as other individuals in an upcoming pieces.
Editor’s Note: The views expressed in this article only represent the views of the author and not that of jigjigaherald.com. He can be reached at E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org