For those few outside the region who are paying attention, the sense of "Meet the New Boss" to Meles' rule was truly sinister. Under the Soviet-backed Mengistu, as under the Western-backed King Haile Selassie before him, Ethiopia's traditional Amharic ruling minority were on top. During the famine of the 1980s, Mengistu notoriously denied food aid to excluded peoples who took up arms against his brutal rule—most notably the Tigreans, who were also forcibly relocated by the thousands from their homes in the northern highlands to camps in the southern lowlands in a counterinsurgency strategy of "draining the sea." (See The Telegraph, Jan. 12, 1990) Meles' Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), upon overthrowing Mengistu, went about establishing what even Voice of America (May 25, 2010) had to call a "de facto one-party state"—with the TPLF clique being the real power behind the officially ruling coalition of the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). So a state dominated by minority Amharas was replaced by one dominated by minority Tigreans—and unfavored ethnicities continued to get slapped around. Principally, these have been the Oromo and Ogadeni.
The Oromo, in the west-central part of the country, are actually Ethiopia's largest ethnic group. The Oromo Liberation Front, which opposed Haile Selassie and Mengistu alike, now continues to oppose TPLF/EPRDF rule. The Oromia Support Group noted Meles' passing by accusing his regime of 4,407 extra-judicial killings and 992 "disappearances" since 1991. (QEERROO, Aug. 24)
The Ogadeni are the ethnic Somalis in Ethiopia's east, who have likewise waged an armed struggle against successive Ethiopian regimes. Ogadeni advocates on the Countercurrents website noted Meles' passing by accusing UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay of suppressing a report on his "genocide" in the Ogaden region:
As we have had plenty of reason to complain before, another Western-backed despot has died a free man. And this one still in power, to boot. Read full Report