Since the May ceasefire between Ethiopia’s conflicting parties, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has faced internal challenges from his one-time supporters in the northern Amhara region, with civilians suffering the impact of violence between the waring camps.
Oromo and Amhara militants battle on the western frontier. Brutality in west Oromia usually tracks a typical routine. After protection squads flee from a location, militants strike civilians. Then, two starkly different stories are set ahead about who is responsible.
Amhara activists claim that Amhara militias are battling to protect their community in response to Oromo Liberation Army’s (OLA) horrors against Amhara civilians.
Sometimes, they outright repudiate the involvement of Amhara militants. Some Amhara rival parties even incriminate the federal government and the Oromo branch of the Prosperity Party in the slayings of Amharas.
Oromo superpatriots say the OLA’s armed struggle is being waged to maintain the region’s autonomy from a repressive political strategy. Amhara militias and the federal army attacks are primarily against Oromo civilians.
OLA’s top chief Kumsa Dirriba denies that his military conducts raids on civilians and has stated that the Ethiopian government is “solely responsible” for the slayings of Amhara civilians in western Oromia.
The continuous brutality in West Oromia is caused by a historical and ideological faultline in Ethiopian politics, One that puts a variety of Ethiopian and Amhara nationalisms against Oromo nationalism.
Oromo nationalists depict Oromos as dominated by the continuing legacy of muggy political procedures initiated during Ethiopia’s imperial era. Meanwhile, analysts downplay the Oromo marginalization history and maintain that the imperial strategy was effectively cancelled in 1974.
The brutality happened between the two communities in the 1990s, including when Oromo people reportedly struck Amhara “homesteaders” who were presented to the area in the nineteenth century by the central government to pacify Oromia.
A wave of protests that started in Oromia in 2014 and distributed to Amhara produced an association between the Illuminati within the two communities that eventually ended the supremacy of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in the ruling coalition.
Abiy Ahmed climbed to power in April 2018 owing to the tactical “Oromara” alliance that collapsed soon after that. Resurgent tensions resulted from deep ideological fissures reflecting the modern iteration of an age-old violent elite power struggle.
Continuing dissatisfaction grew in Oromia after elections were delayed, the resistance was shut out of decision-making procedures, and the perception emerged that Abiy planned to impose a centralized and unitarist governance system by embracing Amhara elites.
Amhara’s squads and a racial militia known as Fano battled against revolutionaries from neighbouring Tigray alongside federal troops. The heads of the latter were earlier the government’s outstanding power agent before being sidelined by Abiy. The clash has claimed thousands of lives since it erupted in January 2021.
The end of hostilities has angered some in Amhara, which has sparred with Tigray for control over adjoining territory. Some of its leaders argue that the government should have pursued an outright victory. They include Brigadier Tefera Mamo, the commander of Amhara’s Special Forces, who was arrested after criticizing Abiy in a television interview.
The Amhara Regional State Supreme Court has ordered the release of the former commander of the state’s Special Forces, Gen. Tefera Mamo, on bail of 30,000 birrs.
The court ruled that the county police did not provide credible information that made the suspect risky if granted bail. Prosecutors said they wanted to charge the suspect with terrorism and asked that the suspect not be granted bail.
According to state media, more than 4,000 people, including many journalists, have also been detained in Amhara. The crackdown could be risky for Abiy, who has leaned heavily on Amhara for political and military support during the war. The Amhara Special Forces and Fano played vital roles, annexing Western Tigray and preventing the rebels from opening supply channels with neighbouring Sudan.
Abiy is pushing “to reassert his rule over parties that oppose his peacemaking” strategy toward the Tigrayans, said Mehdi Labzaé, a French sociologist who researches the Amhara nationalist movements and has witnessed growing resistance to the federal government in the region.
As an independent media agency in Amhara, the NISIR International Broadcasting Co. stated the protection forces had captured four of its journalists. They also jailed many others, including community leaders and scholars, without following the lawful due procedure in a statement.
Fano has launched a recruitment campaign in northern Ethiopia in recent months. There have been several hits between its fellows and government troopers. In February, the militia struck a detention camp in the Amhara town of Nefas Mewcha, where some members were being kept, flashing some fiercest battle.
“There are thousands of Fano militants presently under my control, and shortly they will shift into millions,” said Zemene Kase, a senior Fano member, in a recent interview. “We don’t believe the Amhara police forces or federal army as opposing. But some individuals belong to the Fano who do.”
Abiy’s desire to remain in power is more important to him than anything, even if he will lose his one-time supporters’ leaders in the northern Amhara region. His voyage from beloved of the global and local community to condemnation has been fast. Ethiopian civilians and children who suffer attacks and hunger are the only losers of these struggles between all these heinous parties looking for power.