Ogaden Youth & Student Union
Oromo militias have slaughtered 65 innocent Somali villagers in a government holding area in Gadulo, Balbalayti, a remote village on the Somali-Oromo border. Multiple reports indicate local Somali villagers, held in a supposedly safe military location set-up for civilians at risk of being caught in the middle of ethnic clashes between Oromo and Somalis (instigated by the Liyu Police), were escorted by the Ethiopian military for their own protection. It is understood, the 65 villagers - largely consisting of pastoralists and their families - were led to believe, falsely, they were under protection of the Ethiopian military. Further reports suggest the Oromo police had initially identified and rounded up Somali civilians at risk of reprisal attacks from Oromo militias, and despite being fully aware of the threat posed by the Oromo militias, failed to protect the Somali civilians who were killed indiscriminately.
The civilians, who were effectively remanded and held hostage by the Ethiopian military in the designated facility, were denied any opportunity to escape or defend themselves against militias already responsible for the massacre of thousands. To this end, both the Oromo police and the Ethiopian military were complicit in the massacre of the innocent and defenceless civilians by misleading and deceiving them into the false belief that they would protect them from what was a clear and evident threat.
Events have been unfolding since yesterday and continue to do so today according to local sources, Oromo militias continued their purge onto other villages such as Hagarooti where 98 civilians were killed, Ibsa and Barga where another 19 civilians lost their lives, Makaniti which has reported 5 deaths and at least 7 were killed in Mambisa. The majority of these civilians were killed in some of the most inhumane ways imaginable; being either burnt alive or butchered and subsequently forbidden from being buried, the intent being to instill fear into other villagers.
Ogaden Youth and Student Union vehemently condemns these ruthless and barbaric killings of which both the Oromo administration and the Ethiopian government are complicit. These heinous acts of killings have taken place amidst ongoing ethnic tensions between the Oromo and Somali communities which the TPLF are accused of fueling. Many have lost their lives throughout the course of this conflict, yet the events of the past few days represent a sharp and brutal escalation, and calls for a serious enquiry into this state sponsored massacre.