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No sooner than the xenophobic incidents in South Africa, which enraged Ethiopians watching their fellow countrymen being set aflame, another shocking news came from the fragile state of Libya. Showing no sense of humanity and with zero morality, the Islamic State brutally slaughtered and shot 30 innocent Ethiopians. The April 19 video footage that was released on the internet by ISIS left its scare in the hearts of Ethiopians. Families of the deceased asked in tears, “Why God let this happen to our children? Where is the justice of the world?” They were not left alone to grief over their lose. Many went to the mourners’ home, shared the pain, and shed tears. Others expressed their sympathy and solidarity with families of the fallen on social media and on the streets, at schools and workplaces. The public was so charged with rage that the state called rally at Meskel square that took place on the second day of a three days National Mourning entertained opposition chants on government’s inaction and some scuffles between federal police and demonstrators.
Above all, it was heart sinking to see those migrants down on their knees, with no hope in their faces, and eventually slaughtered like a sheep by the ISIS militias that were dressed in rangers and hiding their faces with masks.
Among the massacred, the first two that were identified from the released video were Balcha Belete, 35, and Eyasu Yekunoamlake, 30, who are from Kirkos area. The men went to Libya two months ago after hearing a story of a village man who made it to London crossing via Libya and Italy. Eyasu, who had been in Qatar for six years returned home empty-handed and he left to Libya to support his mother who has a bad health. Balcha has no family. He had jobs at Sigma Electrical Engineering and Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation. According to their neighbors, the men first consulted the brokers who persuaded them to go to Libya. But sadly, their dream of getting to Italy or England was cut in its prime. Their hope of leading a comfortable life after the years of migration vanished like a mourning vapor. All because they are Christians.
“The men are innocent civilians who went to Libya to go to Europe. They were searching a better job. I have no idea why IS did that brutal act on these migrants and gave them undeserved punishment. There is no benefit in killing innocent people. We all are humans and we should show humanity to others,’’ Tedros Adhanom, Foreign Minister of Ethiopia, said in a speech in front of parliament on Tuesday. “After the Saudi Arabia incident on our citizens, I had talked to the brokers what they were feeling. But despite that occurrence, many citizens migrate with the help of illegal brokers, paying a large sum of money which can create a business here. Most of the migrants die on sea and some end up in the hands of terrorists like the ISIS. What do the illegal brokers feel now watching their brothers being slaughtered by the brutal terrorists?” he inquired at the televised address. Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn vehemently condemned the action and called it a barbaric act.
“By no means, no human being has to die like this. This group pretend to be Islams, but I strongly believe that Islam doesn’t allow such kind of barbarism. This is complete insanity. All Ethiopians and the world should unite to stop such kind of murder.’’
The prime minister urged the public to make use of the job opportunity that is created in the country, and advised migrants to prefer safe ways if they chose to go abroad in search of better opportunities.
“We have seen many people leaving the country through illegal migration, and we have seen that they face many problems including losing their lives. I want to tell the migrants first to explore the potential prospects. But if they want to go abroad, they have to choose legal migration methods and countries that don’t threaten their lives.” Why ISIS targeted Ethiopian migrants for its terrorism act and who is behind the evil incident remains a big question. Unraveling the real cause of the slaughtering, how government can protect migrants, how it can reduce migration are critical topics that need a government’s response.
Except telling the migrants to return home on emergency flights the government has arranged, the government has not spoken yet of any retaliation measures on ISIS, while Egypt showed her willingness to help Ethiopia if it plans an air strike on the terrorist group.
A young man, from his hiding place in Libya, told the Voice of America that there are more than 50 Ethiopians captured by ISIS soldiers and nobody knows whether they are massacred. Ashebir Woldegiorgis, Vice President of the Pan African Parliament, demanded the African Union and the Ethiopian government to form a fact finder team. “Libya is fragile and it is very comfortable for terrorist or others to do what they want, to slaughter and kill migrants. And the Africa Union and Ethiopia should send fact finders to know exactly who did this kind of action on innocent people, and find answers to the question why ISIS’s murdered Ethiopian Christians.”
Today, IS has killed Ethiopians and Egyptians. Tomorrow, other countries will also face the same brutal punishment if they don’t stand and fight together such a terrorist group,’’ he added.
There is a shower of suggestions that asks increased government effort to create a conducive environment for the youth to live and work in their country.
However, it is widely known that terrorists target communities at their weakest point – its civilians. They deliver their point via terrorizing strategies. The point of terrorism is to induce fear; it is most effective against unprepared and vulnerable people.
IS’s beheading of illegal Ethiopian migrants had given a lesson for all. Creating more jobs for the jobless, and creating awareness on the devastating impacts of illegal migration is a big assignment that must be done quickly.