A wave of atrocities against villages in Ogaden
”No proper evidence has reached the world until now” The task force that arrested and wounded the Swedish journalists Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson in Ethiopia are now accused of widespread abuses in the Ogaden province.
Swedish Television’s Africa correspondent Johan Ripås has become privy to further documentation, smuggled out of Ethiopia. The video evidence shows that whole villages have been emptied of inhabitants through executions and mass flight from terror.
–These atrocities are well known in Ogaden. But no proper evidence has reached the world until now, says Abdullahi Hussein, a defected Ethiopian civil servant who smuggled out the material.
The task force accused of these atrocities is called the Liyu Police or Special Police. The unit was formed three years ago to combat the separatist rebel group ONLF. According to information obtained by Swedish Television, the Liyu Police has since spread terror in the Ogaden province by mass executions of civilians.
–They have deliberately recruited unemployed youths from the streets to the Liyu Police. These have then been drilled in carrying out executions, says Abdullahi Hussein.
On May 16th 2010 ONLF reportedly carried out a major attack against a Liyu Polices camp in southern Ogaden. Retaliation followed the next day. Early on the morning of May 17th the Liyu Police came to the village of Malqaqa in the same region. The locals were accused of having helped ONLF, and the task force opened fire on the unarmed villagers.
Swedish Television has met an eye witness to the event. Bashir Ali managed to escape the bullets.
–They split up into smaller groups, advanced methodically and gunned down everybody in sight. I counted 73 dead, says Bashir Ali.
The Liyu Police are headed by the president of the Ogaden region, Abdi Muhammed Omar. In the video footage that was smuggled out you can see the president visit the neighbouring village of Malqaqa. Several representatives of the village talk to the president and thank him for coming. An elderly man suddenly grabs the microphone and speaks his mind about the attack on his village.
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