FARGO – “Who can stop the killing of women and children?” a man yelled outside the post office here Wednesday afternoon.
“U.S.A.!” two dozen protesters responded.
The repeated chants were part of a protest organized by members of the “I CARE Campaign,” a worldwide effort to bring recognition to a conflict in a region of Ethiopia known as Ogaden.
Abdikarim Rabi, 24, was born in Ogaden and moved to the U.S. when he was 11. Now a Fargo resident, Rabi said he and the roughly 20 other Ogaden immigrants at the protest were there to bring awareness to the human genocide happening in his former home.
“There are 12 million people dying there,” Rabi said. “This is the next Holocaust, a Holocaust in the 21st century.”
The “I CARE Campaign” wants the U.S. government and United Nations to force Ethiopian leaders to allow independent humanitarian organizations into the Ogaden region to assess reported killings, torture and rape of civilians.
The Ethiopian government and Ogaden rebels have been at bloody odds since 2007 when rebels killed many civilians at an oil field.
While some Ogaden residents and groups like I CARE claim the Ethiopian government is guilty of killing thousands of civilians to crack down on rebel forces, the group actually responsible is under debate.
A recent report to the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs found the rebels were mostly responsible for massive acts of brutality and killings.
Since media is not allowed into the region, there is little information to determine the extent of the crisis, Rabi said.
Rabi claimed media are considered terrorists by the Ethiopian government.
Protests similar to the one in Fargo were held Wednesday in Minneapolis, San Diego, Denver and Stockholm, Sweden.
Rabi said he and the men, women and children at the protest want Fargo-Moorhead residents to be aware of the problem in Ogaden.
“We want to show the world the truth,” Rabi said. “Everyone who cares about humanity should take immediate action.”
Rabi said he hoped those who saw the protest would take action by contacting their legislators.