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‘I Visited Mass Graves’, OBJ Explains Role In Resolving Ethiopia Crisis

Former president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, has explained his role in brokering a peace deal between the Federal Government of Ethiopia and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front.

Obasanjo was on October 25, 2022, selected to serve as the African Union High Representative for the Horn of Africa, alongside others, with a mandate to engage in direct talks with warring parties until a political solution is reached.

The internal conflict which lasted from 3 November 2020 to 2 November 2022 led to a “massacre” according to the United Nations agency, while Ghent University in Belgium estimates the death toll in the country to be between 385,000 and 600,000.

On November 2, a peace deal was finally brokered between the parties with Obasanjo praying for a “systematic, orderly, smooth, and coordinated disarmament.”

Recounting his experience, the ex-president through his spokesperson, Kehinde Akinyemi, said he traversed the country consulting with regional leaders and stakeholders from all walks of life, observing and feeling the impact of the destruction and loss of lives at close quarters.

“I witnessed the wailing and crying of those who had lost loved ones, at the sites of mass graves. The frustration, anger, and desperation caused by the war were everywhere to be seen,” the statement partly read.

OBJ estimated that it would take about $25b to reconstruct properties destroyed during the conflict.

“If the destruction of lives caused directly and indirectly in other parts of Ethiopia, particularly in Amhara, Afar, and Oromia is added, the estimated total lives lost in Ethiopia’s civil war would be close to one million. The cost of the reconstruction and rehabilitation of private and public properties and institutions has been estimated at about $25 billion.

“To the quantifiable loss of lives and properties and other material losses must be added the unquantifiable losses of opportunities occasioned by the war.

The cost of the destruction of trust and the breakdown of relationships within and without the country is high and will take years if not decades to fully rebuild,” the statement said.

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