Oromos call for immediate U.S. action, say Oromia is under invasion by Eritrean forces

Eritrean forces have begun an invasion of Oromia and are “killing, looting, and destabilizing communities,” said the Oromia Global Forum in an open letter Monday to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Isaias Afwerki and Abiy Ahmed 
Presidents Isaias Afwerki and Abiy Ahmed

The Oromia Global Forum, which is an alliance of 45 Oromo organizations, reported that Oromia is being invaded by Eritrean forces- a development it considers to be a “serious escalation of the civil war in Ethiopia by Abiy’s government” and a threat to the stability of the entire Horn of Africa.

In the letter, the Oromia Global Forum urged Secretary Blinken and the United States to take immediate action to prevent the humanitarian situation from deteriorating any further and an unspeakable tragedy from unfolding in Oromia.

We are seriously concerned that the invading armies of Ethiopia and Eritrea will cause yet another human tragedy in Oromia at a similar or even larger scale than they caused in Tigray,” said the letter, underscoring the immense urgency and severity of the situation.

“Abiy Ahmed’s regime is expanding the war into Oromia by deploying – reportedly – more than 30,000 Eritrean troops and Amhara militias,” asserted the Oromia Global Forum.

In Tigray, multiple humanitarian and governmental organizations have reported systematic and indiscriminate killings, forced removals, sexual assaults, and other widespread human rights abuses.

According to the United Nations, an estimated total of 5.2 million people, equivalent to 91% of Tigray’s population, are in need of emergency food assistance in Tigray due to the conflict that has been ongoing since November.

Yet, the Ethiopian government has dismissed international pleas for a ceasefire and unfettered humanitarian access to Tigray, maintaining that the conflict is nearing an end. However, these claims have been disputed by reports that the conflict in Ethiopia is escalating into other regions such as Oromia and Benishangul-Gumuz.

President Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea who has been in power since 1993 
President Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea who has been in power since 1993

“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 in a May 30 statement.

While the actions and abuses taken in Ethiopia’s Tigray region have received widespread international attention and condemnation, the Oromia Global Forum asserts that the consequences of prolonged conflict will be even greater and more tragic if an invasion of Oromia is not prevented. Oromia is Ethiopia’s largest regional state in both geographical area and population.

The OGF applauded the United States for its leadership in calling international attention to the Tigray crisis but is urging Secretary of State Blinken and the Biden Administration to apply political, economic, and diplomatic pressures for the immediate withdrawal of Eritrean troops and Amhara militia from Oromia.

“Unless the world community, led by your good office, takes prompt action the Horn of Africa will soon sink into chaos, humanitarian catastrophe and famine of biblical proportion aided by the pandemic that is already raging in the region out of control,” pleaded the letter to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

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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