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Monday, October 09, 2006

Was excessive force used to quell post-election violence in June and November 2005? YES, says Independent Commission

Also in the news: *An article by Professor Mesfin Wolde Mariam from Qality penitentiary*, Somali militia declares jihad against Ethiopia and more of today's top stores!

An old man with wounds to his mouth and hands is hoisted on to a trolley before being taken into Zawditu Hospital in the centre of Addis Ababa. He was one of scores injured on the third day of clashes between armed police and protesters on the street's of Ethiopia's capital. Up to 20 people are also reported to have died in the confrontations. Addis Ababa 08 June 05.
The violence erupted after students defied a government ban on demonstrations to protest against alleged irregularities in Ethiopia's May 15 National Election. Picture by A. heavens

Was excessive force used to quell post-election violence in June and November 2005? YES, says Independent Commission

(ETP - Sintayehu Tefera) On Monday 14th November -2005, Ethiopia’s “House of Representatives” decided to establish a neutral commission that will investigate the causes of the June and November street riots in Addis Ababa. Many had doubts as to the independence of this commission; since "Independent commissions" previously set up by the EPRDF government had dubious records - merely serving to underline the ruling party’s standpoint.

However, it is becoming apparent that this particular IC is quite different from the earlier ones. Attitudes towards the IC started shifting when rumors started circulating which alleged the IC’s findings were going to be drastically different to what the government was purporting in the media. This suspicion was confirmed when recently, two of the commission’s members defected to the west along with documents of the IC’s findings.

According to our sources, based on the video evidence of the discussion of the Commission, conclusion has been reached that excessive force had been used by the Agazi unit (Elite military unit, loyal to the ruling party EPRDF ). The review of the video has just been completed, but the audio review will take longer. Below you will find a copy of the list of victims in the post election violence; a list which was compiled by the members of the independent commission.

Capital Ethiopia reported on this week's issue, Michael Gahler, Vice President of the eight member delegation visiting Addis, composed of high level officials of the ACP-EU, has said on a statment "It is very wise for the government (of Ethiopia) to accept the establishment of the Independent Commission's decisions and it must also be prepared for the results of the findings,". The delegation is tasked with assessing progress of Ethiopia’s democratization process.

The IC was scheduled to present its report last Ethiopian year but the report was postponed on the order of the house speaker, Teshome Toga. The House of Peoples' Representatives will begin the second of its five-year term today (Monday). It is expected that the IC will present its findings to members of the parliament soon.

- list of Victims of the post election violence as compiled by the members of the independent commission

“Bzemne grimbit mai niaqib” By Professor Mesfin Wolde Mariam from Qality penitentiary

(Read article)

Somali militia declares jihad against Ethiopia

Somali Islamist leader Sheikh Sharif Ahmed (C), flanked by Sheikh Yusuf Indho-adde (L) and Sheikh Abdulkadir Ali Omar (R), address a news conference at Villa Somalia, former presidential palace in the capital Mogadishu, October 9, 2006. Somalia's powerful Islamists on Monday declared holy war against Horn of Africa rival Ethiopia, which they accused of invading Somalia to help the government briefly seize a town controlled by pro-Islamist fighters. (Shabele Media/Reuters)

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Ethiopian troops briefly entered a strategic hilltop town in Somalia Monday alongside government fighters, residents and Islamic militia said, and Somalia's radical Islamic forces declared a holy war against Ethiopia.

"I urge all the Somali people to wage holy war against the Ethiopians," said top Islamic leader Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, wearing combat fatigues and holding aloft an AK47 assault rifle. "We need action rather than words," he told a brief news conference in Mogadishu, the capital his forces hold.

He also put the Islamic forces on full alert. "Ethiopian troops have intentionally invaded our land," Sheik Sharif said. "We will counter them soon." (More...)

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