Radio Afuura Biyyaa: The Nile Crises and Oromo Refugees in Cairo
The Nile Crises and Oromo Refugees in Egypt
Nile is the longest river in the world constituting about 6700 km or 4100 miles long, and drains almost all of the ten riparian countries; namely, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. The economy of those countries more or less linked to the flow of this river. Traditionally, Egypt has been entitled to a lion’s share of the resource. For Egypt, Nile is everything. About 90% of Egypt’s land is desert, and therefore, many people have concentrated along the Nile river basin due to the economic opportunities available along the Nile river basin coupled with irrigation activity for landscape farming and animal rearing. It is often said in Egypt that ‘Egypt is a gift of the Nile and, by implication, the Nile is a gift to Egypt.’ For Egyptians, therefore, a threat to the natural flow of Nile is a threat to their life.
On the other hand, the Ethiopian government has vowed to pursue the planned construction of its multi-billion dollar grand dam on the Nile River – which Egyptians consider as a serious threat to their share of Nile and their very existence. Aides to the president of Egypt discuss openly about sabotaging the construction and urging their president to take military action. World media outlets are contemplating a possible outbreak of war on Nile between Egypt and Ethiopia. In his speech this week on the opening of one national conference, President Morsi of Egypt said, if Egypt is ‘the gift of the Nile,’ then the Nile is God’s gift to Egypt, therefore, Egyptians would not tolerate any threat to their traditional allotment of Nile water, describing the river as the country’s primary source of livelihood, history and civilization.
In Cairo, Egyptians are attacking whom they think are from Ethiopia. It has been reported that Oromo refugees in Cairo suffered mistreatment and serious physical attacks. Some attacked and injured members of the Oromo refugee community were denied medical attention. The Oromo refugees in Cairo have been demonstrating in front of the UNHCR office for several consecutive days demanding protection. The demonstration has grabbed the attention of the national and international media, including Al-Jazeera.
In Calgary, Canada, last Sunday, angry protesters greeted the appearance of the representatives of the Ethiopian regime for the purpose of fundraising for its Nile Dam Project. As happened recently in many American, European, Australian and African cities, the planned fundraising effort was successfully aborted in Calgary, too.
Radio Afuura Biyya (RAB) has been following the development of events connected to the Nile Crisis. Representative of the Oromo refugees in Cairo discusses with RAB about the current situation of Oromo refugees in Egypt. Participants of the Calgary demonstration also talk to Radio Afuura Biyyaa about the rally in this program.