By Jilcha Hamid
It has been 5 months since the Liyu Police, security forces in the Somali Region entered the Oromiya region1, expelling the local Oromiya regional administration in the town of Mino and raising the flag of the Somali regional state. Since entering the town of Mino in January of 2013 (and prior to that) their harassment, looting sprees and killings perpetrated against of the Oromo inhabitants of Mayyu Mulluqe county have been reported by numerous sources in the county. It was also reported in a previous article on the Gulelepost2 that there had been no response from officials of the Oromiya Regional state in Finfinne and Adama. Similar appeals made to the Federal Police did not receive any response from the Federal government. Federal Police in the vicinity of Mayyu county made no effort to resolve the issue or protect the civilians from the harassment and killings carried out by the Liyu Police. On the contrary, sources in the region say that they have continued to transport arms to the Liyu Police bases in Oromiya. Up to 37 civilians, including women and elders have been reportedly killed by the militia. Up to 20 000 inhabitants have fled into neighbouring counties such as Burqa.
Since that time local cattle herders and inhabitants of Mayyu county have taken up arms to defend themselves, occasionally clashing with the Liyu Police militia in the rural areas. The Liyu Police are said to conduct nightly raids into Oromo settlements in the rural areas, essentially engaging in banditry, killing civilians and robbing their property. Since the locals have begun taking up arms and clashing with the Liyu Police, the Liyu Police have reported these incidents to the Federal Police who are now making efforts to disarm the Oromo civilian militia. The inhabitants of Mayyu county sent a delegation of elders and representatives to the Oromiya regional administrations headquarters in Finfinne making contact with the office of Oromiya regional President Alemayehu Atomsa to address the issue. The response which came from the Oromiya regional government was that the elders must disarm their civilian militia. An inhabitant of Mayyu Mulluqe county spoke with the Minnesota based Oromo community radioprogram and explained the situation of the thousands of displaced people in Mayyu:
“Our people have no access to food, shelter, or medicine. The Regional and Federal governments have not done anything to help us. All the local [OPDO] militia have fled the county. We have managed to find some weapons to defend ourselves, and our militia is currently facing off with the Liyu Police. But the Federal Police are trying to disarm us. They’re searching for armed Oromo civilians as if they’ve seen an antelope. The Federal Police have very close relations with the Liyu Police, they arm and train them. They Liyu Police sometimes travel in Federal Police vehicles in Oromiya region, freely moving in neghbouring districts up to Burqa and Girawa.”3
With the blatant collaboration of the Ethiopian Federal government in the ongoing ethnic cleansing in East Hararge zone, the inhabitants of Mayyu have appealed to communities in thediaspora for assistance. Humanitarian relief efforts are being made online via Paltalk.