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Opinion: 65 Oromo refugees killed, over 90 injured in Puntland’s Bosasso city

By Qeerransoo Biyyaa* [posted February 12, 2008]

This article is a continuation of my previous article: "The horrendous circumstances of Oromo refugees in East Africa." This one is more of a translation of a press release by Oromo Liberation Front about the heart-wrenching act of genocide against Oromo refugees in Puntland, Bussasso. The statement was written in Oromo language, Afan Oromo. The translation is to help English readers understand the situation and help rescue Oromo refugees from future similar attacks.

[Beginning of translation]

The heinous crime committed against Oromo refugees in Puntland's Bosasso city on February 5, 2008 at 8:00 pm has been an act that has shocked all humanity. Two grenades were thrown at two 'tea-houses,' where Oromo refugees were watching videos in Oromo language, leaving 65 people dead and 90 people injured . The 'tea-houses,' equivalent of cafes, were the regular meeting and socializing places for Oromo refugees. Armed men opened fire and killed those who survived the deadly bomb blasts. The killers transported the bodies of the dead away from the site of the blasts in two convoys to conceal the tragedy. In addition to the scores killed, residences of 250 Oromo refugees were set on fire with all their properties. Some survivors of the attack were denied hospitalization, beaten and chased away. This shows Oromo refugees were denied human dignity and respect that everyone deserves. Therefore, we condemn the force that has caused these cruel and inhuman acts.

It is a well-known fact that for decades many refugees have been leaving Ethiopia to escape political persecutions. The majority of refugees fleeing Ethiopia belong to the Oromo people. Persecutions against the Oromo have reached a record high during the rule of the current TPLF-led Ethiopian government.

[End of translation]

By deduction, the statement translated above indicates how the conspiracy between the Ethiopian government and neighboring countries has led to hunting down refugees in exile and carrying out ethnic cleansing. Concerned organizations, such as the UN, UNHCR, the African Union, Genocide Watch and the Human Rights Watch, should be aware that the free mobility the Ethiopian Army has in and out of its neighboring countries is sure to cause ethnic cleansing such as the one translated above. It is extremely important to put international legal restriction on the free movement of the Ethiopian Army into its neighboring countries in search of refugees.

* Disclaimer: the opinions expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of