Oromia Violence involving Ethiopia’s Somali Region Police Likely to Increase Local Anti-Government Militancy, Attacks on Commercial Projects

 

Several members of Ethiopia’s Somali region’s Liyu special police were reportedly killed by armed locals on 14 February in Gursum district,Oromia region, allegedly in response to recent raids into the area by these security forces, according to Ethiopian opposition media. Locals also seized unspecified amounts of police ammunition and weapons during the violence.

Earlier in February, both an Oromia government official and an Oromo opposition party had claimed Somali regional police involvement in recent cattle raids, looting, and killings in Oromia’s East Haraghe (which includes Gursum), Bale, Guji, and Borena zones.

Complicity by the Ethiopian government, dominated by its Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) wing, in these raids would most likely be part of a strategy designed to prevent the formation of a cross-ethnic domestic opposition and marginalise the ethnic-Oromo opposition ahead of the scheduled end of the state of emergency in April.