Photo: A still from Graham Peebles’ film, We’re Still Breathing: Amhara Genocide in Ethiopia.

As Western governments and partisan media concentrate on the genocide in Gaza and war in Ukraine, the Amhara genocide in Ethiopia and the simmering conflicts in the Amhara region remain largely ignored.

The Ethiopian government, led by Prime-Minister Abiy Ahmed is, directly or indirectly, behind virtually every act of ethnic violence in the country.

Within the Amhara region of the country fighting, which many believe constitutes war, between the Ethiopian National Defence Force (ENDF) and the Fano, has been raging with varying degrees of intensity since April 2023.

Fano is an Amhara armed (often poorly armed) group, made up of men and women of various ages and backgrounds from within the community. Historically a youth movement, a volunteer force, charged with defending their village/town/city from attack.
In the current conflict the malign forces come in the uniformed shape of the ENDF and recently, TPLF (Tigray People Liberation Front) forces. The same TPLF that in November 2020 went to war with the Ethiopian State and tried to violently overthrow the government.

The United Nations estimate 600,000 were killed in two years of fighting (making it the deadliest war of the 21 Century), however Ethiopian sources believe the figure is over 1 million; in addition millions were displaced. Much of the fighting occurred in the Amhara and Afar regions, which border Tigray, to the south and east respectively.

Under the auspices of the African Union and with American meddlers close at hand, on 3 November 2022 the waring parties signed The Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoHA) in Pretoria, South Africa. The CoHA was hailed as a peace treaty and the country breathed a collective sigh of relief.

The CoHA is littered with noble intentions, most of which have not been realised. For example, the commitment to “respect fundamental human rights and democratic norms and principles”. Human rights in Ethiopia are trampled on, as for democratic norms and principles, there is no democracy in Ethiopia, and no observation of democratic principles.

Over and above the basic agreement to stop fighting, the TPLF promised to disarm, to “refrain from conscription, training, deployment, mobilisation, or preparation for conflict and hostilities”, and to stop “aiding and abetting, supporting or collaborating with, any armed or subversive group in any parts of the country.’

The government, for its part, agreed to remove the terrorist designation of the TPLF. Thereby welcoming the enemy back into the political space.

Unsurprisingly perhaps, the TPLF has retained its guns, and it is widely reported that they recently took delivery of heavy weaponry from the very same government they tried to overthrow.

TPLF Join the Party

While war between the TPLF and the government may have stopped, in the 18 months since Pretoria, for Amhara communities living in Oromia and parts of Amhara there has been no peace, far from it.

The Amhara ethnic group is the largest or second largest (depending on who you believe) in the country. Amhara communities have been oppressed for generations, but since Abiy Ahmed came to power in 2018, persecution of Amhara people living in Oromia specifically, has morphed into genocide.

Tens of thousands of Amhara men, women and children, have been killed (estimates range between 30 – 50,000), hundreds of thousands arrested, over three million displaced. Oromo extremists (Oromo Liberation Army or Shene), Oromo Special Forces under the control of the Oromo Regional Authority (ORA), and the ENDF are carrying out the ethnic slaughter. Behind all of these various armed groups sits the federal government and Abiy Ahmed, himself an Oromo.

In recent months the TPLF, with the backing of the ENDF, have attacked towns in Northern Amhara. The area, which the TPLF are claiming to be part of Tigray, was ‘colonised’ by Tigray settlements during the TPLF’s time in power, but historically sits with Amhara. The attacks, described by the Amhara Regional Authority as an “invasion”, are a clear breach of the CoHA by the TPLF.

In this latest act of aggression against Amhara, the Abiy regime is accused of colluding with the TPLF; an organisation that despite having the terrorist label removed, remains a terrorist group through and through.

The Amhara regional government has called on the TPLF and its supporters to… “fully adhere to the Pretoria agreement and swiftly vacate from the areas it currently controls”, and is demanding all troops (TPLF and ENDF) be withdrawn from the Raya Alamata (occupied by TPLF forces during the 2020 -2022 war), Raya Bala, Ofla, Korem, and Zata areas.

According to the UN, over 50,000 civilians have been displaced as a result of the incursions. “The humanitarian situation is dire, with thousands…in need of broad humanitarian support to survive”. The majority of those forced from their homes are women, children/youth and elderly.

The African Union (AU) has called on both sides “to urgently halt hostilities….ensure the safety of civilians to end the renewed displacement of the local population”, “ and to fully implement the CoHA.

Despite the fact that much of the fighting during the 2020-2022 war took place within the Amhara region, the Amhara authority was excluded from the Pretoria talks, as a result the Amhara people feel betrayed by the Abiy government.

The details of the CoHA are widely known, what isn’t clear is what was agreed in private. In exchange for the TPLF agreeing to stop making trouble, did the government for example, commit to stand aside when TPLF forces marched into Amhara; and, did Abiy commit to disarm the Amhara Special Forces in order to remove any military obstacle to TPLF regional ambitions?

Speculation perhaps; what is not in doubt is Abiy’s duplicity, the depth of his political weakness and his reliance on extremist forces within Ethiopia; whether they be Tigray expansionists or Oromo nationalists.

The TPLF were in power for 28 years, Abiy Ahmed was a member of the ‘coalition’, through which they ruled. They are old friends then – Dictators in Arms we could say; partners in suppression and profiteering, with it seems a common enemy – the Amhara people.

Geographically the Amhara region is sandwiched between Oromia in the South-West, where the ethnic slaughter of Amhara people has been taking place, and TPLF thugs to the North keen to expand their kingdom, and politically Amhara politicians are being pushed to the fringes by the weight of Oromo extremists, Tigray tribal nationalists and an insipid duplicitous government led by a narcissist.

As the country hovers on the brink of another internal war, as millions wander homeless, displaced by fighting, and millions more live in utter destitution, Abiy is embellishing his genocidal reign by building a national palace (estimated $10 – $15 billion) – for himself, and luxury villas for his mates, and destroying cherished landmarks in the centre of Addis Ababa. It is sickening; he clearly cares not for the people or the country, is driven only by personal ambition and vanity and is not fit for political office of any kind.

Ethiopia is a diverse nation with dozens of ethnic groups, which for generations lived side by side in harmony. The internal conflicts taking place are not the result of community hatred and division, but flow from the hands of ambitious manipulative politicians, including Abiy and his Prosperity Party. Far from working for peace and social cohesion as they should be, the government are either perpetrating ethnic violence themselves, or due to political weakness and indifference to the suffering of Amhara civilians, are enabling the perpetrators.

Source: CounterPunch by Graham Peebles

Is Abiy Ahmed the Most Dangerous Man in Africa?

Deliberate Destruction of Museum, Hospitals, Schools, and Hotels. (2)

Ethiopia: Rulers, Reputations, Reality and the Promise of Fano. (2)