Most victims of Ogaden conflict are women & children
(Ogadentoday Press)- As is common in every conflict that ravages war zones around the world, most victims of the Ogaden conflict are women and children. Unfortunately Ogaden victims lack international NGO attention since the Ethiopian government in Addis Ababa barred NGO from operating freely in major parts of the Ogaden region in Eastern Ethiopia.
A study carried out by Ogadentoday press has shown that the conflict in Ogaden has affected women and children, psychologically, physically and economically.
“I have five children, my husband was taken by security agents in the middle of the night, while they attacked our house located at Fik town in Nogob province. My sons have since dropped out of their schools as their father was the one who provided income to support their education. My daughter travelled to Djibouti out of fear of rape and arrest” a mother who preferred to stay anonymous told our reporter in the region.
A government official who refused to have his name published in the media told Ogadentoday Press that 4 out of 10 arrested in Ogaden are women, he estimated the number of women currently held in the Ogaden central prison located in Jigjiga is around 700.
A mother in Godey, who again preferred to keep her identity hidden for security reasons, said: “My son was arrested and later was forced to join a branch of Ethiopian troops commonly known as the Liyu Police. He was 17 years old, he did not finish his school, when I asked why did you join the Liyu Police, he replied, “I want to save my life and no one will arrest me or you”.
“There is bloodshed 24/7,” said Ardo Abdi, a 20-year-old refugee from the town of Degehabur in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia. “When you wake up every morning you hear that four or five people were killed last night,” Abdi said.
The children are mostly used as future drivers and snipers. They are then notorious for driving cars at high speed, many locals complain about the drivers of the Liyu Police, if they run over any civilians, they do not stop and simply continue driving.
Another woman from war torn Ogaden told us: “I have been living in Bosaso since 2010. I have fled the Ogaden region because I had been raped by the Ethiopian military. I was taken to a military camp near, Nustariq village in Korahay Zone where I was raped. My biggest fear was getting infected by HIV or AIDS. When I arrived here, I went to a hospital. I shared my problems with the doctors here, fortunately for me, my tests for HIV/AIDS showed negative.
The reasons I was concerned was because I knew seven girls who were raped by the Ethiopian troops, five of them became HIV positive. One of them even suffers psychologically now.”
Ogadentoday Press has learned that most of the Paramilitary forces are uneducated young children from nomad villages, while some others are town children who are often orphans and lack care.
In Dadab Refugee camp In Kenya, there are around thousands of Ogaden refugee who are mainly women and children, where they recount terrifying stories of their past, most of them have had family members killed, while some are missing.
In 2007, Ethiopia’s crackdown on insurgents belonging to the ONLF, has left thousands of Ogaden civilians displaced, who are mainly women and children. Ethiopia’s government refuses the wide accusations against their mistreatment of civilians in Ogaden region. Media and journalist are banned in the Ogaden region and hence the media “black out” in the region.