Regarding the Alleged Massacre of Civilians in Gidami Woreda of West Oromia

(OLF-OLA Press Release)

The Oromo Liberation Front-Oromo Liberation Army (OLF-OLA) condemns, in the strongest possible terms, the alleged killing of civilians in Gidami Woreda of Kellem Wollega Zone in the Oromia region. Despite the repeated, bordering on perpetual, misinformation and malign propaganda campaigns by the genocidal Abiy regime, the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) has always been committed to its perennial objectives of liberating the Oromo people from the yoke of national oppression in the Ethiopian Empire. Our army fights with systems of oppression, not with individuals, much less defenseless innocent civilians.

As a political party and liberation army with a singular objective of sustainably relieving the Oromo people from their suffering under successive repressive regimes, there is no political or military objective, none whatsoever, that our army would generate by targeting innocent civilians. In reality, short of putting ourselves in the affairs of others and imposing our will, as some group of elites in the country would wish to do, we empathize with vulnerable communities everywhere, including innocent non-Oromo civilians who call Oromia home, and go all the way to aiding their quest for liberty and dignified existence.

For any close observer of the recent Ethiopian political life, it is easy to see that the Abiy regime has been using the Oromo Liberation Army as a scapegoat for any atrocity crimes that it commits against our people. Abiy kills the Oromo and blames the Oromo for their death. If recent memory serves us well, the original accusations of the regime for the Karrayyu Massacre of our Gada leaders, the truth of which escaped between the regimes’ fingers in a matter of weeks, is the epitome of scapegoating the victim. It’s a twisted version of Machiavellianism that has been normalized in Ethiopia.

Independently verifying what happens in west Oromia through credible third persons is virtually impossible. In an attempt to prevent the international community from finding out the atrocity crimes that it commits in west Oromia, PP has blocked the region from the rest of the world for three years, barring a few intermittent occasions when phone lines and some internet connectivity is possible. Abiy keeps the region in the dark precisely to conceal his crimes and, despite the deafening silence, the world also knows it. As always, OLF-OLA is urges the conduct of an independent investigation into the alleged atrocity crimes committed in Gidami Woreda and making sure that those responsible are held to account. We also remind the international community to put pressure on the regime to open up western Oromia to international media. If the regime is not culpable as it claims, there is no reason to seal the region from independent media.

As we have repeatedly indicated in our prior press releases, the PP has been on a mass killing spree in western Oromia for three years. However, the news of such crimes only occasionally comes to light: only when the regime wishes to accused OLA. In fact, the regime made conceal anything that happens in that region its primary job. In this regard, it helps to remember the leaked internal letter that the regime’s Media Authority wrote in November to its US-based mouthpiece, ESAT, not to report on anything coming out of the Oromia region where the OLF-OLA operates except when there are accusations against our forces.

The only anomaly to this rather consistent modus operandi is that the regime decided to make this recent massacre of civilians in western Oromia a matter of public debate. Why did the regime, therefore, make this recent massacre public? It did so because Abiy benefits politically in, at least, the following ways:

1) As we indicated before, the genocidal regime has a declared policy of punishing entire populations for their political views. By accusing OLA of its own atrocities in public, Abiy is renewing his justification for yet another round of genocide on our people in the region in the name of OLA;

2) Abiy is losing a firm grip on his extremist Amhara allies both inside and outside the PP. To shorten the leash on the expansionists, he has to demonstrate (sadly using the blood of innocent people) that they are vulnerable in the Oromia region and only he can do something about it. He accomplished this without even identifying the ethnic background of the victims. He only has to put ‘civilian massacre’ and ‘OLA’ in the same sentence to have the Amhara extremists infer the ethnic background of the victims and go haywire into his trap;

3) A decision has been made to purge a faction in the OPDO branch of the PP. Following the current news, accusations that the governing Oromia PP is unable, repeatedly, to protect civilians in the region will give Abiy the needed political upper hand to eliminate this dying click.

Finally, we reiterate our call for ANY credible independent investigation into the allegation and for perpetrators to be held accountable; serve justice to the victims, and adequate compensation for their families.

May justice always prevail!

Victory to the Oromo and all oppressed people!

OLF-OLA High Command

January 29, 2022

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