The last 30 days have been by far the most painful days endured in the Gambella history between the Nuer and Anyuak. In recent days, the regional capital has been in a lockdown with many innocent souls from both sides perishing by the hour.
But for whose interest is this? Would there be any Anyuak or Nuer who would be amazed with the carnage inflicted on innocent people? I don’t think any decent Anyuak or Nuer who is guided by human dignity, love and respect of the rule of law and humanity would be pleased with what we are seeing in our region today.
In fact our beautiful Gambella has got no difference with the state of Kanu in Northern Nigeria where Boko Haram terrorizes the civilian population.
Perhaps, one would say that the people who live under the siege of Boko Haram are much safer than the law abiding citizens of Gambella who cannot go about their businesses to the river or to the shops adjacent to the vicinity of each other’s demographic and come back alive.
The worst recent murder was that of a woman who happened to be a refugee from Nuer tribe of South Sudan. In reality she got nothing to do with the Gambella civil strife or political climax between the Nuer and the Anyuak in the region.
She was in fact a foreigner who came to Ethiopia for protection due to the conflict in South Sudan. Leading up to her death she was having trouble with giving birth in the health centre in the refugee camp run by the UN. As such she was transferred to the Gambella Hospital for immediate help of caesarean.
While she was being rushed to the hospital the vehicle in which she was traveling with was stopped by culprits who placed road barriers for random check of any Nuer who might be in the vehicle.
After being identified as a Nuer by the culprits, that was enough for them to end her life regardless of her place of origin of birth although she was a South Sudanese. More similar situations like that had happened to Nuer Sudanese who were caught up in the violence between the Anyuak and Nuer Ethiopians. One of the recent example was the killing of inmates in Abobo prison who were detained by the UN in Anyuak controlled areas.
They were not Ethiopians but lost their lives for being Nuer. One question one would like to ask is that for whose benefit is this carnage going to please when we see the rest of Ethiopia going well pass this barbaric acts of ethnic cleansing?
What distinguishes Nuer from Anyuak and more importantly, what distinguishes a human race from one another? It is sad to see that the criminals of Gambella do not fear God or do not give any regard to human life at all. In spate of few days, many people have now been killed. Most of the the special force (Liyu Haile) particularly the Anyuak deserted their positions well pass this violence erupted. They were the one fired upon Nuer civilians after the failed bomb attack on Nuer students.
Such people were designed to maintain law and order in the region but mingled with the criminals. Ever since, people have been dying in Gambella without any known motive as to why Gambelians are taking up arms against each other.
The problem of maintaining law and order in Gambella is is well evidenced in Jor wereda with the death of nine Nuer Special forces who happened to work in Anyuak wereda. Do these criminals realize how difficult it would be to maintain trust again?
Do they realize that we are creating an apartheid system of South Africa in Ethiopia as for sure Nuer would be hesitant to work in Anyuak areas and vice versa?
As a Gambellian, my heart is broken because there is nothing more sinful than seeing grown up men willing and determine to blow up school kids in the school compounds with bombs? It is really saddening stuff to see that because there is no gain in killing innocent souls. Worst of all is that the culprits are not willing in any shape or form to relinquish the violence.
It is sad to see that both Nuer and Anyuak are not able to adopt the examples of other regions of Ethiopia who live side by side harmoniously as we could see that in case of the Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPR) which composes of 44 ethnic groups.
But Gambella which contains only five ethnic groups finds it hard to tolerate one another. We need to stand up for our region and punish those who are causing us enormous pain by bringing them to justice.
We cannot be forced into submission by these barbaric criminals. Gambella belongs to us all and so no one could live in fear by these terrorist. The special force which was established ostensively to oversee situations like these needs to be revamped and placed on hotspots.
The Nuer Special force personal would be held accountable for any attack instigated in Anyuak Demographic areas and so the same would apply to members of the Anyuak Special force personal who may allow or instigate any attack in Nuer demographic areas by the Anyuak as well as attack between roads further from the city.