Ethiopiaï¿½s ï¿½bulldozerï¿½ government arrests 100 tribal people over dam
Survival has received reports that around one hundred Ethiopian
tribespeople have been arrested and jailed for opposing Ethiopiaï¿½s
controversial Gibe III dam.
Plans for the dam and irrigated land plantations nearby are gathering
pace, along with rising repression and intimidation to any opposition.
A policeman reportedly told one indigenous community that the
government was, ï¿½like a bulldozer, and anyone opposing its development
projects will be crushed like a person standing in front of a
Ethiopia is leasing out large tracts of tribal lands in the South Omo
region to foreign and state run companies for the growth of sugar
cane, crops and biofuel plantations. These will be fed by water from
But a climate of fear is growing in the region as opposition to these
leases is being brutally suppressed by the countryï¿½s secret police and
Survival has learned that security forces are encircling and
intimidating indigenous communities whose grass huts are built on the
land proposed for development.
Those with criminal records over the last ten years are being
arrested, and anyone caught voicing opposition, beaten or threatened
There are also reports of women being raped, and herds of cattle stolen.
Survivalï¿½s Director, Stephen Corry, said today, ï¿½The Ethiopian
government and its foreign backers are bent on stealing tribal land
and destroying livelihoods. They want to reduce self-sufficient tribes
to a state of dependency, throw all who disagree into prison, and
pretend this is something to do with ï¿½progressï¿½ and ï¿½developmentï¿½.
Itï¿½s shameless, criminal, and should be vigorously opposed by any who
care about fundamental human rights.ï¿½
The 100 arrested at the end of September were from the Mursi and Bodi
The Lower Omo Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It contains two
national parks, and is home to approximately 200,000 agro-pastoralists.
One Suri pastoralist said the Gibe III dam, and tribespeople being
driven from their land, signaled, ï¿½the end of pastoralism in southern
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