Role of OMN media for inciting Ethnic Violence in Ethiopia

4 min read
Role of OMN media for inciting Ethnic Violence in Ethiopia

Oromo Media Network (OMN) is a news organization headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. OMN is consistently airing programs that label the non-Oromo speaking natives of Oromia region of Ethiopia as well as the majority residents of Addis Ababa Ethiopia as "Menelik Sefari" meaning aliens/settlers of Menelik, a king who ruled Ethiopia some 100 years ago. This labeling of non-Oromo speakers sends a direct message to their followers, the Oromo extremist self ruling mob that refer to themselves as "Quero/ Qeerroo". The message OMN sends propels these self-proclaimed “Qeerroo” to cause violent expulsion of the so labeled "aliens" from the self-claimed “land of Oromo”.

This propaganda of OMN alienating non Oromo speaking Ethiopian citizens has incited ethnic based violence in the past. Recently, on Sunday September 16, 2018  the “Qeerroo” extremists have murdered non-Oromo speaking men, women and children in the suburbs of Addis Ababa - majority of them in towns of Burayu, Asko and Ashewa Meda as a result of the toxic rhetoric that was fueled by OMN and its director Jawar Mohammed.

Jawar inciting religious violence 2013

ጃዋር መሃመድ ትላንትና ቄሮዎችን ሰብስቦ በኦሮምኛ ያስተላለፈውን የቪድዮ መልዕክት አባይ ሚድያ እንደሚከተለው ወደአማርኛ ተርጉሞታል።

Posted by Fitsum Gosaye on Thursday, March 7, 2019
Jawar inciting ethnic violence 2019 [starting 1:05 minutes]
Reuters: Article “At least 23 die in weekend of Ethiopia ethnic violence” Sept. 17, 2018.

Thousands are displaced from their villages and are being sheltered in Addis Ababa public facilities like schools. The form of killings included beheading, hacking with machetes and blunt objects as evidenced via digital social media and corroborated by credible news sources. This cruelty has shocked the Ethiopian people as a whole and has a potential to lead the country to ethnic clashes that will not be easily resolved. Priority must be given to stop the hatred propaganda by OMN news media who are playing a role similar to the role RTLM radio has played in the 1994 Rwandan Genocide
AP: Article “Deadly ethnic-based attacks erupt near Ethiopia’s capital”, September 16, 2018 Article “Oromo Ethno-nationalist attack is said to be motivated by ethnic cleansing”, September 16, 2018

Abbay Media: Video showing Addis Ababa residents showing their concern and demanding justice on a rally held on September 17, 2018
Concordia University:  Newsletter, “Rwanda radio transcripts; the role of radio”

The current leaders of Ethiopian government are not seen taking the necessary action to control the crisis. In the meantime OMN is airing hatred propaganda with no accountability.
Amnesty International: Article, “Ethiopia: Investigate police conduct after deaths of five people protesting ethnic clashes” 17 September 2018.
Borkena: Article, “Only 1,700 displaced people returned to their places in Burayu” September 22, 2018
The Guardian, “Shadow falls over Ethiopia reforms as warnings of crisis go unheeded” March 14, 2019

The executive director of OMN Mr. Jawar Mohammed is a US resident living in Minnesota. Even though the “Qeerroo” have no officially known organizational structure they regard Jawar Mohammed as their leader by which he prides himself with. On August 13, 2018 the “Qeerroo” mob lynched a young man in the town center of Shashemene, Ethiopia accusing him of “conspiring to assassinate Jawar Mohammed”.
Africanews: Article, “Ethiopian activists condemn mob action, violence during rally in Oromia” August 14, 2018

Jawar Mohammed has held several rallies in Minnesota during which he was recorded making hate speech chanting “Ethiopia out of Oromia”; “The region I am from is 99% Muslim Oromos. If anyone else dares to raise his head up we will slash his head with Mencha” (“Mencha” is a type of Machete). Such hate rhetoric has the potential to drive people into ethnic and religious clashes. On one occasion, Jawar Mohammed made such hate rhetoric in the US WHERE the American flag stands behind the podium. On the week of September 16, 2018 the young kids he indoctrinated with hate did just that in the suburbs of Addis Ababa.

The capital city Addis Ababa is the melting pot of Ethiopia. People from all regions of Ethiopia have a stake in Addis Ababa mainly because it is home to their loved ones, close family, relatives or friends. Most recently, including this week, OMN is heavily engaged in propaganda type programs that claim Addis Ababa as Oromos’ only. OMN programs are busy trying to justify that claim with filtered interviews of extremists  claiming that “they have paid enough blood while protesting for their claim on Addis Ababa so Oromos deserve Addis Ababa” despite the fact that the oromo protests was only and directed against displacing farmers around the city limits not about the ownership of the city. This has already sparked anger and tension in the residents of Addis Ababa.

“ፊንፊኔ የኛ ናት ! የኦሮሞን 5ሺህ ወጣት ገብረን ነው ወያኔን የጣልነው”

Posted by Ethiopian DJ የኢትዮጵያ ሙዚቃ on Tuesday, March 19, 2019
OMN: News segment, March 19, 2019

The more days pass by as we bystanders do nothing, we are allowing ourselves to witness another tragedy of the kind of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide in Ethiopia. The Rwandan Genocide was started by labeling people as "Cockroaches" (insects encroaching into spaces). The propaganda and terror advanced by OMN and Jawar Mohammed against non-Oromos is shockingly following a similar pattern. Similar to RTLM radio fanning the "cockroaches" label, the OMN has made it a standard to refer to the residents of Addis Ababa as "SEFARI" (alien settlers). Similar to the Interhamwe who did the unthinkable, “Qeerroo” are unofficially organized, unregistered, and hence, unaccounted youth extremists of exclusively one ethnic composition who are directed by OMN broadcasts and OMN manager's Jawar Mohammed Facebook posts. Jawar has proudly declared that he will unleash the “Qeerroo” against Addis Ababa residents if they elect a non-Oromo in the next election. In an interview with OMN TV, he said, “ I am tired of telling the Qeerroo to calm down. I will tell Qeerroo to finish the job”

OMN: Interview, February 6, 2019 [ beginning the 36th minute ]

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