March 14th, 2018, Gambella
Gambella Nilotes United Movement (GNUM) condemns the Ethiopian government’s current plan and action of creating local integration for the South Sudanese refugees in Anuaks’ land of Gambella without the will of the local communities. This is the EPRDF/TPLF government’s racist plans to increase the ethnic cleansing conflicts and genocidal killings to exterminate the indigenous tribes to facilitate and increase the occupation of Northern settlers (mostly Tigrians) in Gambella.
The South Sudanese refugees’ influx started since 1950s in Gambella until to date. It has never been a welcoming experience to locals, as it has been manipulated by the Ethiopian government in favor of Ethiopian highlanders mostly of which they were from the North. The shift to economic and political powers in favors of the Northerners (highlanders) in the region, was the direct ethnic cleansing and extermination policy of the EPRDF/TPLF regime to ensure Gambella is fully occupied by the Tigrians from the North. The posting of the current Regional Administrator, Governor Gatluak Tut who is widely known as fully South Sudanese by nationality substantiates the point, as he has been posted to carry out such schemes in the interest of the TPLF’s occupation in the region.
Currently there are more than 400,000 South Sudanese refugees in Gambella region with vast majority being resettled in Anuaks land. The populations of refugees from South Sudan has increased more than the region/local populations. Even though the people of Gambella contributed for the freedom of South Sudanese people since 1955, the SPLA had caused disastrous act against the people of Gambella such as unprovoked coordinated mass killings of Anuaks in Itang and Pinyudo on September 1989 as well as constant attacks against Anuaks refugee in South Sudan camps of Alari/Pochalla, Pibor, Malakal, Lologo, Gorom and Renk.
We are calling up on indigenous people of Gambella and Benishangul Gumuz regions to condemn and resist against this plan of TPLF/EPRDF of local integration of refugee in your land and stand firm for your rights. Integration of refugees is the worst plan of all by the TPLF/EPRDF regime with the intention to displace and extinct the indigenous Nilotes from their ancestral lands and to promote the systematic settlements and occupations of Northerners in the land of Gambella and Beneshangul Gumuz Regions. With this genocidal act of the current dictator and corrupt regime in power, GNUM alerts all concerned parties that the local integration of the refugees in the Anuak land is a propaganda mechanisms to displace the Nilotes people to serve the EPRDF/TPLF government’s interest in the region. As our credible sources indicates, the government of Ethiopia is currently demarcated land for refugee in all parts of Gambella and Benishangul Gumuz regions. Gambella Nilotes United Movement (GNUM) condemns the TPLF genocidal plan to remove the indigenous people from their ancestral land.
The local integration of refugee in Gambella and Benishangul Gumuz will add to the tension caused in January 2016, in which many villages were burned down and many Anuaks were killed by the heavily armed Nuer refugees in Itang and Jikaw districts, while the TPLF soldiers were condoning the killings and the evacuation of the villages. The Anuaks villages evacuated are not yet rehabilitated well, yet the TPLF regime is masterminding another atrocious against the indigenous people while they are still suffering under the trees without security and government assistance.
According to the plan of local integration of refugees from South Sudan is to incite and create conflicts in the region among poor and marginalized people. We are calling all the people of Gambella and Benishangul Gumuz to resist this plan. It is clear that most of Nuers living along Itang district up to Jikaw are refugee from South Sudan who stayed there since 1975. They were given maximum support by the TPLF government to create massacre in the region. The same incidents will definitely occur in Gambella in which Ethiopian government should be held accountable any loss of life between the local people and the refugees, and we call the Ethiopian government to stop scattered settlement of refugee in different parts of Gambella immediately.
Moreover, it must be understood that the Ethiopian government is not neutral and will never be neutral in the current South Sudanese conflict as it does to Somalia people. According to our reliable sources most of the refugees who are crossing the border from South Sudan to Gambella, are trained soldiers whom endorse the spread of many refugees camps set by Ethiopian government to be used as military training headquarters. The Ethiopian government is currently arming the South Sudanese rebels to destabilize the peace and security in South Sudan and other Eastern Africa countries. With this obscure attitude and intension of the Ethiopian government in current South Sudanese conflict, Gambella will be a battle ground to weaken the existing social coping mechanism of local communities and to militarize the area.
We therefore, call upon the United Nations, USA, Canada, EU, AU, Diplomats, Donors and all other humanitarian organizations operating in Ethiopia aiding refugees, to closely monitor the current proposed local integration being implemented without the knowledge of local communities; as well as to bring their attention to this potential violation of UN protocol; and to seriously consider the relocation of refugees from Gambella region to different part of Ethiopia for safety of both local and refugees; and in accord with the international law of which the South Sudanese has signed under the UN convention and protocol. It is with the grave concern that the conflict in South Sudan and the flow of refugees to Gambella will provide ease access of guns flow to Gambella and will be in the hands of refugees to kill the indigenous people.
GNUM is aware and understood that TPLF/EPRDF government deliberately plays divide and rule politics among our nationalities using refugees as tools is mainly to extinct the indigenous communities from their ancestral lands. The leadership of GNUM would like to inform and encourage all the indigenous populations to collaborate and solidarity with other oppressed Ethiopians to condemn and oppose the current leadership of the EPRDF/TPLF government to bring regime change.
To this respect, GNUM/A would like to call upon the international community to review this plan and acts of local integration of refuges and condemn these genocidal plan against the indigenous people to bring peace in the region. We are particularly also calling upon the United Nations, EU, AU, and all other humanitarian organizations to closely monitor the political and military action against the innocent civilian in many parts of Ethiopia.
At last we call upon the TPLF/EPRDF government to stop killing of innocent Ethiopians; to release our brothers kept in various prisons in the country under inhumanly conditions; to recognize the communal land rights and ownership in accord with the UN provisions. The Gambella Nilotes United Movement (GNUM) will continue its struggle for all people of Gambella and neighboring Nilotic and Omotic people as well as other oppressed Ethiopian to ensure freedom, justice, security and prosperity are brought to all oppressed people of Ethiopia.