by Asafa Jalata, PhD

The University of


On October 2, 2016, the

Tigre-led Ethiopian

regime massacred more

than seven hundred

Oromos and injured

hundreds more at

Irreechaa , the Oromo

national holiday of

Thanksgiving held in

Bishoftu in which

millions had gathered.

During the Irreechaa

festival, Ethiopian

security forces shot live

ammunition into the

crowd and fired tear gas,

although they claimed

that the lives lost were

due to a stampede.

Western media have

joined in this claim,

spreading inaccurate

information about the

tragic events of this day.

However, Oromo victims

know what happened to

them, and they are

telling their truth. They

have used videos,

pictures, and social

media to release

accurate information.

The victims say that the

Tigre-led government

used live bullets,

teargas, helicopter

gunships, armored cars

and snipers to terrify

and kill Oromo children,

elderly, women and

other sectors of the

Oromo society that had

gathered to celebrate

Irreechaa . During the

holiday, many young

Oromos had chanted


slogans to show support

for Oromo Protests, a

protest movement that

has been taking place

since November 2015.

Although the holiday

festival had this political

moment, the massacre

of hundreds of people on

this day was an

inhumane violation of

one of the most sacred

rituals of the Oromo.

Irreechaa is a sacred

holiday of peace and a

celebration of culture,

and the Ethiopian regime

continues to push the

limits of its inhumane

violent practices.

For a quarter of a

century, the Tigre-led

regime has targeted

Oromo mosques,

churches and Galma

(the house of Oromo

indigenous religion) and

killed hundreds of

Oromo religious leaders

who have expressed

their Oromummaa

(Oromo identity, culture,

and ideology) through

their religions, language,

clothing, and other

activities. The regime,

mainly representing the

interests of the Tigre, 6%

of the Ethiopian

population, has been

committing heinous

abuses and violence

against the Oromo

people, the largest

ethno-national group in

Ethiopia, and others,

since its coming to

power. Furthermore, in

the process of

transferring Oromo land

and other resources to

Tigre colonial elites and

their collaborators, the

regime has also targeted

Oromo activists,

politicians, students, and

farmers who oppose its

discriminatory and

terrorist policies.

It is estimated that more

than one million Oromos

have been killed and

thousands of Oromos

have been suffering in

prisons and secret

concentration camps.

Oromos who have been

released from these

prisons and

concentration camps

have exposed how

Oromos are tortured,

castrated, blinded,

incapacitated, killed, and

infected with HIV in

various prisons and

concentration camps.

Also, hundreds of

prisoners have perished

due to the lack of

adequate food, clothing,

healthcare and other

essential services. All

these criminal acts have

been committed on the

brightest and conscious

elements of the Oromo

society. Unfortunately,

the financial, military and

diplomatic support of big

powers has contributed

to these genocidal and

terrorist policies and

practices for twenty-five

years. Still these big

powers refuse to take

practical actions to stop

the regime from its

criminal acts. While

giving lip service, these

powers have continued

to provide material

support to the regime.

Currently, the Oromo

people are determined

more than ever to

establish their political

destiny. Despite

continuous violent

crackdowns and heinous

massacres such as that

at Irreechaa, they

continue to protest

peacefully and raise their

voices to challenge the

Ethiopian regime’s

oppressive anti-Oromo

policies. Tigre colonial

elites and their

collaborators have

somehow convinced

themselves that

continuing and

escalating violence

against unarmed and

peaceful civilians is their

answer to controlling

and quieting a people

who are determined to

struggle for their rights,

sovereignty, and

freedoms. The reaction

from the Oromo has

instead been more

protests and more

outrage at the Ethiopian

regime’s inhumanity.

The Oromo, the Amhara,

the Somali, the Konso,

the Sidama, the

Gambella and others

need to join the Oromo

protest movement to

remove the Tigre-led

terrorist and genocidal

regime. Learning from

the failures of the last

two decades, the Oromo

movement must rebuild

its national

organizational capacity

and form an alliance

with all peoples that are

suffering from Ethiopian

state terrorism,

genocide, and war on

the principles of national

self-determination and

an egalitarian



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