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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Political, Civic, Media and Religious groups call for peace and reconciliation in Ethiopia

Check back with ETP for more news throughout the day

Also in the news:
[Members of the U.S congress ask the state department to Intervene in Ethiopia] - [Mogadishu clash kills 7, body dragged in streets]

[Mugabe's Days Numbered In Zimbabwe?] - [Bill Gates Urges U.S. to Allow More Immigration] - [Chirac to support Sarkozy] - [Death toll hits 70 in Pakistan clashes] and more of today's top stories!

Wounded Somali government soldiers captured by Somali insurgents lie in the back of a van in Mogadishu March 21, 2007. Somali insurgents dragged soldiers' bodies through the streets of Mogadishu before burning them on Wednesday when at least eight people were killed and scores injured in heavy fighting. REUTERS/Shabelle Media (More on this below)

We have received pictures that show the corpse of an alleged Ethiopian soldier being dragged through Mogadishu streets, but these gruesome pictures will not be posted on this site


Petition to save Eng. Hailu Shawl’s eyesight which is deteriorating due to denial of medical access (Kinijit)



Nine Members of the U.S congress ask the state department to Intervene in Ethiopia

Dear secretary Rice,

We are writing to you to express our strong concern about the continued detention of elected parliamentarians, human rights advocates, and independent journalists in Ethiopia.

It has been reported that thousands of prisoners languish in prisons across the country and many prisoners have been tortured, some of these prisoners are senior citizens and are sick. We encourage you to use all means available to ensure that the Ethiopian government is participating fully in active negotiations for the prisoners’ release.

We understand that Ethiopian security forces continue to harass, detain, torture people they consider opposition sympathizers and advocates of human rights. A number of journalists and human rights advocates have fled the country, fearing persecution. While Ethiopia is clearly a key ally of the United States, we hope that the U.S. would play a stronger role in ensuring that domestic conditions in Ethiopia improve.(More...)

Joint Call for Peace and Reconciliation

(Political, Civic, Media and Religious groups call for peace and reconciliation in Ethiopia)

Whereas, the current political situation in Ethiopia is deteriorating and we are entering into a new phase where the political, social and economic crisis is leading us to a point of no return.

Whereas, we are inviting disaster unless urgent actions are taken to solve this crisis, there is no doubt that there will be no winner — we will all be losers.

Whereas, the only path out of the political crisis in Ethiopia is the release of all prisoners of conscience and dialogue with all peace-loving forces inside and outside of Ethiopia.

Whereas, the ruling party is not willing to take this path and has refused to accept repeated calls for peace and negotiation.

Whereas, the political and civic groups, and major Ethiopian websites listed below believe that the ruling party can play a big role and has a huge responsibility to save the nation from catastrophe.

Whereas, if all parties have the will and the desire for peaceful solution we can withstand the challenges facing us.

Therefore, we call on the regime in power to give peace and reconciliation a chance.

In the light of these self-evident truths, we, the undersigned, call on the EPRDF to:

1. Immediately and unconditionally release all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in Kaliti prison and in all other prisons throughout Ethiopia.
2. Come to the negotiation table in good faith.
3. Respect the rule of law and guarantee democratic and human rights in Ethiopia.

It is our hope that the EPRDF government will heed our call, and join us to work for freedom, peace, equality and good governance so that we can, together, focus our energy to combat our common enemies poverty, disease and illiteracy.

Kinijit (Coalition for Unity and Democracy Party)
Southern Ethiopian Peoples Congress
Tegbar League
Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church
International Ethiopian Women Organization
Anuak Justice Council
Ogaden Human Rights Group
Ethiopian National Congress
Ethiopian American Council
Ethiopian American Civic Advocacy
Network of Ethiopian Scholars
Michigan Association for Democracy in Ethiopia
Ethiopian Review
Addis Voice
Ethiopian Politics Blog
Qaliti Radio
cudethiopia Forum
Kinijit Forum

Joint Call for Peace and Reconciliation (Amharic)
Joint Call for Peace and Reconciliation (English,pdf)

Mogadishu clash kills 7, bodies dragged in streets

MOGADISHU, Somalia Mar 21, 2007 (AP)— Somali and Ethiopian troops entered an insurgent stronghold in central Mogadishu on Wednesday, setting off a battle in which at least seven people were killed and 10 were wounded, witnesses and medical officials said.

Hundreds of masked insurgents confronted the government forces, which were supported by tanks and armored vehicles, said Ali Haji Jama, a resident of the northeastern neighborhood at the center of the fighting.

An AP photographer saw insurgents drag the bodies of one Ethiopian soldier and one Somali government soldier through the streets of northeastern Mogadishu and then set them on fire.

"Ethiopian tanks rolled out of the former defense ministry and moved into nearby Shirkole area, which is seen as the stronghold of the insurgent groups and they met with stiff resistance," he said. Other witnesses said minibuses filled with insurgents were racing through the city to reach Shirkole and defend against the Ethiopian advance. (More...)

Also see:
-7 Dead in Heavy Fighting in Somalia (7 Dead in Heavy Fighting Between Ethiopian Troops Somali Insurgents in Mogadishu)

Today's Top Stories

-Mugabe's Days Numbered In Zimbabwe? (U.S. Ambassador Says People "Losing Fear" Of President, International Outcry Rising)
-Bill Gates Urges U.S. to Allow More Immigration
-Anti-Clinton Web Ad Draws Attention
-Israeli general strike halts flights, public services
-U.S. missile shield touches raw nerve in Europe
-Chirac to support Sarkozy in French presidential elections
-Athens embassy attack reward (Greece and the US both offer rewards of $1m for information on an attack on the US embassy in Athens)
-Death toll hits 70 in Pakistan clashes
-Opera star wins "underwear throwing" case