ESAT News (March 7, 2016)
A photo that surfaced on the social media on Sunday showing the Surma people of South Ethiopia in a chain gang has triggered an uproar and condemnation against the brutality of the forces of the tyrannical regime in the country.
The undated pictures show a group of men, loaded on a police pickup truck, one’s neck tied to the upper arm of another while also tied at their knees. The story that circulates with the picture in the social media say the people were arrested while protesting the encroachment of their natural habitat by the regime for sugar plantation. The exact location of the pictures is not clear but the insignia on the pickup truck is of the police in South Ethiopia.
Previous reports by media and rights groups show thousands of indigenous people in Ethiopia’s lower Omo valley were uprooted due to land grab by officials of the government and their cronies, commercial plantation as well as the building of hydroelectric dams.
Statistics show there are about eight tribes with a total of 200,000 indigenous people in South Omo whose way of life has not been tampered by modernization.
Survival International say it has been a documented fact that those indigenous people were being uprooted from their land without their consent and were exposed to health problems in their new settlement. SI also recalled the recent brutal action by the police against the people of Omo.
The people of the lower Omo valley in Ethiopia have been one of the top tourist attractions in country due to their unique way of life, culture and their interaction with the natural environment.