December 2008 Genocide in the Somali Region of Ethiopia

I feel compelled to write about a horrible genocide that has orphaned many children, widowed many women, and left a permanent scar on the hearts of many innocent families from the Somali region of Ethiopia. On December 18, 2008, the Ethiopian army raided a hamlet called “Mooyaha,” which is on the outskirts of Araarso town, a town that is about forty-five kilometers north of Dhagahbuur. The Ethiopian troops, equipped with modern weapons, rounded up innocent peasants of the hamlet and killed 55 of its men.

Upon hearing the carnage, I began searching several of Ethiopia’s official media outlets but did not come across any information about the horrible event that befell the people of Araarso town. The carnage and how it is being covered up exemplify the daily misery that the Somali region’s people go through regularly. This is an unheard-of genocide in the recent memory of the Somali region of Ethiopia. The merciless Ethiopian soldiers massacred about sixty innocent civilians in one location, at one time, on that sinister night of December 18, 2008.

The cold-bloodedly murdered civilians were accused of being members of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF). This is a big lie; the murdered civilians were not members of ONLF, nor did they belong to any political organization. They were simple peasants who led normal, harsh lifestyles. It is a fact that ONLF is not supported in the area where the innocent civilians were massacred, and the Somali region’s administration is aware of this fact. However, it appears that Ethiopia is not in the business of differentiating between armed groups and unarmed civilians, who primitively farm and eke out a living to support their helpless families.

There were many avenues through which the Ethiopian troops could investigate false allegations without levelling an entire hamlet to the ground. The unscrupulous, hatred-motivated soldiers did not ask any questions, or speak to anybody about anything; they just rounded up the civilians and began gunning them down. 55 innocent men soullessly lay on the ground after a few minutes. Their children and women, overcome by fear and deep sorrow, ran in all directions, but they have not found any helping hand thus far. The massacre of the Mooyaha hamlet has deteriorated the lives of many people and left a permanent scar on their hearts, but situations will change, and justice will be served.

Those criminals who carried out the horrible carnage must be brought to court if there is any Ethiopian court that cares about the tragedy that befell the people of the hamlet. The region’s people are killed daily, but there are no effective media outlets that can report on the plight of the region’s people. The region’s administration is anything but effective; it cannot safeguard its population or acceptably improve the living conditions of its people. Somali intellectuals ought to write about this horrible massacre and condemn both the region’s administration and the Ethiopian government regarding this current carnage that has afflicted many innocent Somali families who have nothing to do with what is happening between armed groups and the Ethiopian regime.