This report from Addis Ababa on recent brutality in the Ethiopian capital "done in the name of democracy" came in late yesterday through Glenn Brigaldino (an oD reader and writer). It has been posted elsewhere too but Glenn wanted to make sure the report and its call for international attention reached oD's democracy-minded readership.
Sat, 11 Jun 2005 10:45, anonymous
Large scale arrests of innocent people continue
Yesterday (June 10,2005), the brutal security forces of the TPLF arrested a lot of people who are suspected of being supporters of the opposition parties. The security forces arrested these young men by breaking into selected houses of those who had supported or organized people to support the CUD and UEDF (Coalition for Unity and Democracy and United Ethiopian Democratic Forces). A lot of people are missing in Addis Ababa these days and most of the arrests are carried out at night by cutting off electric light in the areas selected for the mission...
We can confirm that there are more than 3,000 people concentrated in Ziway town near Langano some 200KM south of Addis Ababa. Many students who oppose the cheating and stealing of people's vote by the ruling party on the May 15th election were arrested throughout the country's higher education establishments.
To mention a few: Jimma Universty, South University (Awassa), Gonder University, Bahirdar University, Arbaminch University, etc..
The total number of students arrested is estimated to be over 1500. Arresting of people still continues in the towns where EPRDF lost its candidates like Dessie, Awassa, Bahirdar, Gonder and so many places in rural country side. The 'crime' of these people is simply to cast their votes for the opposition parties.
Yesterday the Ethiopian Telecommunication Corporation (ETC) announced that it needs to interrupt short message services (SMS) due to traffic problems on the network. They say that the service will continue as soon as upgrading works are completed. AS if they have ever been much concerned about upgrading things here. This is simply a plot carried out by the TPLF leaders in order to stop transferring messages among the people.
Residents of Addis Ababa were passing on information about the current events in the country. The security forces stop people whom they suspect of using mobile phones for exchanging short messages, but most of the security force members do not know how to operate cellular phones, as the TPLF has not trained soldiers to do this. So their solution is to cut the service altogether. May be sooner or later the internet service and the telephone network could be cut only for those who are supporters of the opposition parties, but since they do not know how to do it, the best solution is to close down the whole system.
Yesterday the government TV and radio (by the way all electronic media in Ethiopia are controlled by the TPLF) announced that the Capital city of Oromia Regional State is going to be Addis Ababa. Previously it was decided that the Oromia capital state was to be ADAMA (Nazareth) and during that time there was strong opposition against this decision and the ruling party had jailed those opposed. Many students were thrown out of Addis Ababa University. But now that the EPRDF has lost all parliamentary seats in the capital, it came up with this idea to divide the people by its racist policy and to bring unrest to Addis Ababa.
To summarize what is going on in Ethiopia in the past few days:
1. Killing of civilians, arresting and torturing of students as well as of opposition party members;
2. 2.. VOA and Deutsche Welle Amharic service foreign reporters were banned from reporting what is happening in Ethiopia.
3. Heavily armed soldiers, security forces and federal police are in the capital city Addis Ababa and the citizens of Addis Ababa are very scared and terrorized by the merciless act of these brutal forces who are commanded by the evil minded TPLF leaders like Meles and Bereket.
4. No body is allowed to demonstrate or to oppose the government or the ruling party and meetings are not possible;
5. The security forces can break in any house and arrest those who are suspected of being opposition party supporters;
6. The leaders of the main opposition party leaders are under house arrest and they are not allowed to move anywhere. Even some of them are taken to unknown places to be tortured;
7. Many university students who are suspected of supporting opposition parties, are taken into military camps to be tortured. To mention some of these torture chambers: Sendafa camp located at 40 KM north of Addis, Kolfe camp somewhere in the West of Addis, Ziway camp some 200 KM south of Addis, Bilaten camp in the southern part of Ethiopia along the high way to Nairobi, also there a lot of detention centers in the capital;
8. The Ethiopian people are indirectly ordered to listen only to the TPLF controlled radio and television, but the propaganda broadcasted by the irresponsible cadres of EPRDF is sickening the people because the messages and the news are deliberately broadcast to terrorize and to create a psychological crisis amongst the Ethiopian people (by the way everything broadcast by these media is cheap propaganda and most of it consists of fabricated lies. As one neighbour said, the only truth they tell you is the time of day;
9. Information flows are controlled and now the SMS service is blocked; we have no guarantee that the Internet service may not be shut down as well. That would cut off important connections to the outside world;
10. Addis Ababa looks like a battle ground: the war is between heavily armed TPLF security forces and innocent poor people who have not much more than their vote. However, the people's vote has been stolen by the ruling party, by those who have clung to power the past fourteen years by force, pretending to be fostering democracy. Still they want to rule for another five years in the same way, but the majority people did not vote for them, this is the plain and simple truth.
All this is being done in the name of democracy, in front of those donor countries that are trying to help the Ethiopian government to practice good governance and exercise true democracy. Sadly, most of your money will be used to kill innocent people unless you put pressure on the TPLF leaders to stop killing, arresting and torturing innocent and defenseless civilians. The Ethiopian people know that donors like the EU and U.S.A are aware of what is happening here and we hope they will not come up with excuses like they did when the Rwandan genocide was starting. Even now you are late to act fast and your representatives here in Addis Ababa are thus indirectly encouraging or supporting the Ethiopian fascist government in its crimes against the citizens of Ethiopia.
Yesterday (June 10, 2005), the main opposition parties the CUD and UEDF have signed an agreement with EPRDF to accept the results of the May 15th election after investigations are carried out concerning alleged irregularities at many polling stations. But the CUDs pre-conditions were not supported by the EU commission representative. The CUD commented that in order to implement the peace pact signed, the leaders of the CUDs have to be released, the house arrest of the leaders of the CUD must be lifted, the intimidation and harassment of the security forces on the CUD and its supporters must stop and the killings of innocent civilians must be investigated and the criminals must be brought to justice. In the evening news the EPRDF mass media propagated that CUDs rejected the peace pact by putting up pre-conditions and claiming that EPRDF is the only party that stands for peace and democracy. They were quick to add that the EU commission representative also condemned the preconditions of CUD. But later on from VOA, the legal advisor of CUD explained that it will be difficult to implement an agreement while so many constraints on the movement of the parties leaders remain in force.
Some CUD leaders have been arrested and taken to unknown places, others are under house arrest. Members who want to enter the CUD office risk being questioned or simply arrested by the security forces of the TPLF.
So I ask of you please, if you or anyone you know of who has access to the EU commission representative in Addis Ababa ask these questions:
How can it be possible to implement the signed peace pact with all these obstacles?
Do any of the CUD leaders have access to the media to express their views?
Who controls the Ethiopian electronic media established with the people's money, much of which was donated from the international community?
Don't you think that the CUD must denounce the massacre carried out on innocent civilians by the merciless security forces of TPLF?
How do you define justice?
I hope these questions are not difficult to answer for those with a clean conscience and for those who believe in genuine democracy. This is my message to those donor countries and NGOs:
The TPLF leaders under the name of democracy have fooled you for the past fourteen years. The result has been bloodshed of innocent citizens on the streets of Addis in broad daylight. The TPLF leaders claim that they killed only bank robbers and they sell you fabricated lies about their dirty works. But the truth about what has happened top those innocent civilians is undeniable: there were women, mothers, teenagers, young ones, students with their uniforms etc. and most of them shot in their heads, chests or in the back. The bodies of the dead were everywhere in the hospitals like Black Lion, Zewditu, St. Paul, Ras Desta etc..
Addis Ababa is a city full of diplomats from many countries and the massacre carried out by the soldiers of the TPLF (by the way they are not regular army Ethiopian soldiers) was witnessed by most of the international community. To those of you who really spoke out in support of the Ethiopian people, we much appreciate your courage.
To the ambassadors and representatives of the EU countries who observed the signing of the peace pact yesterday, we ask of you to tell the Ethiopian Government that the massacre must be investigated by a neutral board of inquiry: do not let the criminals go free. I heard somebody saying that establishing democracy could defeat terrorism. What was established in Ethiopia for the past fourteen years? Democracy or terrorism? I leave the answer to those who are struggling to establish genuine democracy around the world. Those of you, who are trading by the name of democracy, do not even think about answering the question.
Peace, freedom and democracy are global goods: don't let it be robbed from us, nor from your selves.