The government’s decision to attack OLF bases in Wellega is worrisome in so many ways.

While no one encourages the belligerent and thuggish attitude of the OLF wing that’s involved in creating chaos in Western Oromia, robbing banks and terrorizing civilians; yet to order airstrikes on few outlaws hiding in the bushes is tantamount to collective punishment of civilians in the area. It will only alienate the population of the area, and there is a risky that many of the affected civilians will take up arms against the gov’t and join the rebels. You can’t kill someone’s family and expect him to support you. This is exactly what the rebels want: to drag the gov’t into a treacherous war with the intension to damaging the reputation of the prime minister and his party.

Make no mistake, no conflict is without a root cause. The gov’t can negotiate itself out of the crisis by talking to OLF and finding a solution instead of aggravating the situation by militarizing the conflict and ordering airstrikes.

We in Somali region know about the consequence of such actions. It’s very easy to get into conflict, but hard to get out of it. And the longer the conflict continues the likelihood that part of Oromia will become a war zone, where the army is given free hand and human rights abuses will take place. We will be back to the TPLF era where political disagreements are solved with violence and military power!

Prime minister Abiy Ahmed and president Lemme Meggersa must avoid being dragged into a preventable conflict with their own kit and kin. A civil war in Oromia will have grave consequences for the rest of Ethiopia. This must be avoided at all cost.

SR News