Ethiopia: February 5, 2005


Ethiopia -- with some international prodding, primarily by the US-- is bringing court cases against the "instigators "of the ethnic-based violence that occurred in its Gambella region (west Ethiopia highlands) in late 2003 and early 2004. There were some reports of violence at the time, but the extent of the violence was not at all clear. The first reports put the Anyuak ethnic group at the center of the violence. Subsequent reports said the fighting had spread to other tribes. It appears that the final death toll was in the 500 to 600 range, and the fighting produced several thousand refugees. The biggest crime was the murder of 196 workers at a gold mine. Blood feuds keep tribal conflicts simmering, and these lead to tribal warfare. Ethiopia is trying to use "the rule of law" to forestall further fighting. Of course this isn't a new idea, but it is tough to implement. There will also be arguments about "justice imposed by Addis Ababa."


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