Minneapolis, MN – Reports from Mizan-Tepi University in southern Ethiopia indicate a massive crackdown on student protesters. Mizan-Tepi University is one of the thirteen newly constructed public Universities in Ethiopia. Mizan-Tepi University borders the towns of Tepi and Mizan Teferi in Bench Maji zone, Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples region.
According to our sources, the recent skirmish between ethnic Oromo and Tigrean students was instigated by Tigreans who purposely referred to Oromos with the derogatory G-word. When the federal police was called to the scene, as usual, they accused Oromo students of attempting to incite violence. Attempts by students to reason with the feds and peacefully resolve the matter did not materialize.
Oromo people make up the majority of Ethiopian population. The ruling cliques, ethnic Tigre, constitute a mere 6% of Ethiopia’s 82 million people. In recent years, conflicts between these two groups have soared allegedly masterminded by the regime that is intent on sowing discord and hatred among Ethiopia’s traditionally harmonious ethnic groups.
According to OPride.com sources, the clashes that began on April 6th have continued to date. So far, an unaccounted number of Oromo students have disappeared and/or were incarcerated. Reportedly, some 100 wounded students are receiving medical treatment at Mizan Teferi hospital. To put the severity of the situation in perspective, our informant speaking through the phone in Addis Ababa reports, “…students were thrown off house roofs.”
It is very difficult to enumerate the number of casualties at the moment but eye witnesses from the area say at least a dozen people have died since the clash broke out. Phones didn’t ring at the University. The Ethiopian regime is stumbling to preempt a popular uprising. Pundits say a wave of anti-government demonstrations by Ethiopian Diaspora, planned for tomorrow (April 10) in over a dozen US cities, may spark a non-violent revolution in the country.
In a frantic attempt to maintain its grip on power, Meles Zenawi has dispatched “high-level” government cadres led by Hailemariam Desalegn, Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister and Deputy PM, to North America. The so called Growth & Transformation Plan conference will be held April 9 – 10th, 2011 in over 13 cities across N. America.
To attend the demonstration in your respective cities, check the Ethiopian governments own interactive map at ethiopianembassy.org/GTP.