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Archive for Sunday, June 1, 2008

Exiled Anuak confront Ethiopian official

June 1, 2008

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— Moderators made sure no one asked too many questions, but there was opportunity enough for exiled members of Ethiopia's Anuak minority to put Omot Obang Olom on the spot.

Omot went to the community meeting Saturday hosted by an Anuak organization in Minneapolis to urge emigrants to return home and help develop the Gambella region, where he heads the regional government.

But most of the 125 Anuak community members who turned out had a more pressing issue on their minds: the Dec. 13, 2003, massacre that Human Rights Watch says killed more than 400 of their kin. Omot was then in charge of security for the regional government, and many in Minnesota's Anuak exile community believe he played a role in the attack.

"We are supposed to talk about peace before we talk about development," said Ojoye Akane, a 31-year-old Anuak student who clutched an open notebook during his turn at the microphone. "You can't talk about development before you talk about peace."

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