Civilian abuses by Eritrean troops reported in Oromia and rest of Ethiopia

Eritrean forces are responsible for committing ongoing and widespread human rights abuses against civilians in Oromia and Benishangul-Gumuz regions, the Oromo Liberation Front detailed in a statement to Today News Africa on Sunday.

“As per the secret agreement made between Ethiopian ruling group and the Eritrean regime, the Eritrea forces have been deployed to Oromia and Benishangul-Gumuz regions and repeating the same atrocities on civilians as that of the Northern part of the country,” said the statement.

While the abysmal humanitarian situation in Ethiopia’s most northern region of Tigray has drawn a great deal of international attention, Eritrean forces are reportedly responsible for ongoing human rights abuses and violations throughout much of Ethiopia including Oromia and Benishangul-Gumuz regions.

According to the statement from the OLF, reliable information and tangible evidence points toward that Eritrean soldiers have been beating civilians, confiscating mobile phones, and arbitrarily detaining civilians in recent months.

The prolonged continuation of Eritrean military occupation in Ethiopia is believed by many to be a compromise of Ethiopian sovereignty and the ongoing disrespect for human lives has caused much controversy and has garnered condemnation from prominent players in the international community, including the United States.

The Ethiopian government announced in late March that Eritrean forces had agreed to withdraw from Ethiopia, chiefly the war-torn region of Tigray where millions are in need of assistance. However, Eritrea has yet to follow through on this agreement.

Foreign leaders have appealed on multiple occasions for Eritrean troops to leave Ethiopia. Yet, Eritrean forces continue to indiscriminately commit appalling human rights abuses and atrocities throughout the country, including other regions such as Oromia.

“The atrocities, that were proved in Tigray operations and evidenced by the international community investigations, are observed in similar fashion in Oromia,” asserted the Oromo Liberation Front.

As international attention focuses on the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Tigray, stability and security are threatened throughout Oromia as well. The OLF implores the international community to take a firm stance and condemn the actions of Eritrean forces in Oromia.

“We insist that due attention be given to the behaviors of this perpetrators and the development in Oromia as it is causing suffering of civilians and loss of civilian lives in these conflict areas,” said the statement Sunday.

As civilian lives continue to be threatened not just in Northern Ethiopia but throughout Oromia and other regions of Ethiopia, it is imperative that the international community take action and call for an immediate end to all hostilities and atrocities in Ethiopia that threaten civilian lives and respect for national sovereignty.

Noah Pitcher is a global politics correspondent for Today News Africa covering the U.S. government, United Nations, African Union, and other actors involved in international developments, political controversies, and humanitarian issues.

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