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IDPs Relocated to Oromia Region Struggle With Worse Conditions and Security Issues




Disclaimer: This is an English translation of an Amharic article taken from AI-Ain and is intended solely for information purposes.


Politics - We are living in a temporary shelter under worse conditions than before - IDPs who were relocated to Oromia Region


IDPs who were relocated to Oromia Region are traveling accompanied by militia escorts due to ongoing security concerns


Al-Ain - March 11, 2024



IDPs that were relocated from Amhara Region to Oromia Region said the promises made to them by officials were not fulfilled and that they are living under worse conditions in the refugee camp they are currently residing in.


In recent years, identity-based attacks have been carried out in various woredas and zones of Oromia Region according to reporting from numerous rights groups.

Starting from 2011 EC (since 2018-2019 GC), Amharas who escaped the attacks began seeking refuge in Amhara Region for better security.


At this time work has begun to resettle IDPs who were displaced from various parts of Oromia Region and were taking refuge in Amhara Region back to their former homes.

Al-Ain Amharic spoke to IDPs who returned to their former homes following the campaign to resettle IDPs which began one month ago.


Several people who were returned to Wollega Zones from a shelter in Debre Birhan 15 days ago and chose to remain anonymous for their security said, “officials from the Oromia region government came to our refugee camp and offered to return us to our homes saying peace had been restored there and we agreed and returned.”


The sources said not only did the government not return them to their former homes but they made refugee camps and placed them there, and added their standard of living was better in the refugee camps in Debre Birhan.


The sources said their standard of living is now worse than it was before with some food and water provided but the security situation being very troubling.


Another source who opted for anonymity said they were threatened, being told if they chose to remain in the Debre Birhan shelter and refused to return to Oromia their land would be confiscated.


The source adds after the officials from Oromia Region intimidated and relocated them, they were transported to an area with unreliable security. “We can only pour drinking water under the protection of militias.”


Another returnee IDP says it has been two weeks since he was relocated to a makeshift refugee camp based in a school located in Wayu Tuqa Woreda in East Wollega Zone, “I returned here with my infant child with 500 people in accordance with the promises made by Amhara and Oromia Region officials but our living is not as promised.”


The returned said they are escorted by militias and although they have received 7 kg of rice and 7 kg of corn, drinking water remains an issue.


The source said when they asked why they were not being returned to their former homes they received the following response, “OLF Shene militants are operating in your home areas so do not move from here.”


Another returnee IDP said they were returned to Laeqa Dulcha Woreda in East Wollega over a month ago and said even now it is difficult to move or farm as the Shene is stronger than before and that there is no action being taken by government security forces.


The source says they were told to live in their former homes while the security problem persists and prior to any peace settlement with locals, and added in addition to the security issue there is no grain mill, electricity or water.


The source adds for this reason when we said we would return to Amhara Region they constructed a camp in our kebele and told us to live there.


“We came here after being told to leave from our previous residence and now they told us we were wanted and we happily returned, however no work has been done and the Shene are worse than ever, they are untouched.”


He adds, “they brought us IDPs in Amhara Region for their politics but it wasn't to resettle us or out of respect for our citizenship, they had promised us fertilizer, seeds, farmland and equipment but when we asked them for it they laughed at us, there is no circumstance for us to farm.”


Repeated efforts to contact the Oromia Region Government for responses regarding the questions raised by the IDPs and related matters were unsuccessful.


The government has repeatedly implicated the terrorist designated “OLF Shene” for security problems in Oromia Region.


Months ago negotiations between the government and “OLF Shene” in Tanzania ended without agreement.


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