The emergence of ethnic militia and its constant rise in Africa is a big threat to the continent.
If anyone had doubted the size, structure, strength, and audacity of ethnic militia in Africa, the coup attempt in Ethiopia surely clears that mindset.
The militia group that staged the failed coup attempt against president Abiy Ahmed had in its ranks over a half a dozen senior officials from the country’s military. During the attack, five senior officials in Ethiopia including the Amhara regional president and the army chief of staff were killed.
The incident which came to many across the continent as a shock further proves that the existence of ethnic militia in Africa is a bigger threat than we all assumed.
The two attacks last week Saturday night on the Ethiopian president were led by Amhara’s head of state security General Asamnew Tsige.
Tsige has no other issues with President Abiy Ahmed other than those involving ethnic ties. It was reported that he has been openly recruiting fighters for ethnic militias in a state that has become a flashpoint for violence.
The sad reality is that there exist stronger and more dangerously organized ethnic militia groups in other parts of Africa. What happens when such groups succeed in organizing a coup? What happens to the people who come from the ethnic group that is under threat?
The big question, however, is what really fuels ethnic militia groups and the motive behind their organization.
Another interesting point of note is their recruitment. What are the incentives and why are there never a shortage of people who want to willingly join these groups and engage in suicidal battles against more organized and equipped militaries? Could this be a reflection of the government’s failure n addressing poverty and lack of education in the continent?
Indeed, something must be wrong, and if we weren’t on our toes already, the incident in Ethiopia should be able to make us more alert.
Africa is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious continent. Each country in the continent boasts of over a hundred ethnic groups who are in different disputes with one another. His perhaps is the greatest advantage to the emergence and rise of ethnic militia in the continent.
Local leaders are now taking advantage of the new freedoms to build ethnic power bases.
It is high time African governments began taking the issue of ethnic militia more seriously because it leads to further division and chaos in the land. If not checked, it is capable of tearing Africa apart, from within.
Header Image Credit: Journal du Cameroun