Somewhere in the middle of the vast Ogaden plateau lies the village of Qorile, Wardheer District, the scene of yet another orgy of murder of scores of innocent Somali Ogaden civilians by the trigger-happy Ethiopian army. A convoy of Ethiopian army trucks and armored personnel carriers surround the small pastoral settlement. Terrified civilians wake up to the sound of rattling boots of men with Kalashnikov assault rifles. People, young and old, scream for dear life and there is an attempt to escape to one direction where the men in the Ethiopian military garb are not clearly visible. They are confronted by salvos of machine gun bullets. Few manage to get away. Some are slaughtered by the first volleys .The rest take cover in the scattered shanties of the town. Those who survive the initial shock and terror are rounded up and ordered to head to the village center.

What follows then is beyond description. The troops shoot each resident of the town in their custody at point blank range. They do not even spare the women and the children. Afterwards, they hang the bodies of the victims from roof tops and trees before going on a looting spree. And so one of the most brutal genocides of the Somali Ogaden civilians in the recent past at the hands of the Ethiopian forces is executed.

This writer can not confirm the exact number of casualties involved and the date of this incident owing to the fact that the region is closed to the outside world, the international media and foreign missions in Ethiopia. But reliable sources and survivors who contacted the Ogaden Human Rights Council (OHRC) indicate that it happened a fortnight ago and speak of over sixty civilians being killed. Villagers who buried the dead told the OHCR they hid in the thick forest near the village and came out a day after the gruesome massacre took place. They are traumatized and petrified beyond imagination.

No one knows the motive behind this latest extra judicial mass killings of civilians by the Ethiopian Defense Forces. But it is common practice for the regional paramilitary forces, locally known as the LEW police and supported by the Ethiopian army to besiege entire villages which they suspect sympathies with members of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) rebels, fighting for the independence of the disputed Somali Ogaden region.

It is not the first time the Ethiopians went on large scale summary executions of civilians in that part of the Somali inhabited Ogaden region. Two months ago, over thirty civilians died when Ethiopian troops staged indiscriminate attacks on civilians in the same fashion in the village of Gunagado, Dhagahbur District. And there are new reports reaching the Ogaden Human Rights Desk of more killings of civilians in the tiny commune of Barajisale, Khabridahar District.

The Ogaden civil society condenms in the strongest terms possible the actions of the tyrannical Ethiopian military on hapless Somali Ogaden citizens and calls on the international community to hold the dictatorial regime in Addis Ababa to account for deliberately targeting unarmed civilians. World Leaders should put a halt to aid to the current Ethiopian regime since it uses the economic aid package to fuel its scorched earth policy against Somali Ogaden civilians.

Citizens of countries that financially support the Ethiopian government should know that their tax payer’s money is used to kill innocent people in other countries. They should vet their governments’ foreign aid spending and make sure it is used to alleviate poverty in poor countries and not used to harm them. After all, there is a world wide economic recession and the money could be wisely used at home if it is not doing good abroad.

The Ogaden diaspora communities.




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