Ethiopia: Shocking Widespread Arrests in Ogaden



By:Ahmed Abdi

Somalilandsun – The Silence of Western and African diplomats when it comes to human rights abuses in the Ogaden Region, is not being Somalis in Ogaden,Muslims and Ethiopian government, Christian as many locals believe, but injustice happens anytime, any-where says, an Ogadeni intellectual, Sulub, citing a story happened in a Somali village.

“A father willed all his property (livestock) as a heritage to his sons when he was at his bedside, not sooner than his corpse buried into the grave,the elder son started to sell the livestock one-by-one without the consent of his younger brother or giving him a share. The Younger brother continued to complain to the elders that his older brother was selling the livestock without the consent of him or giving him a share, but nobody listened to him as his older brother refuted the claim. As he (the younger brother) got older, he borrowed a gun from his sympathizer friend and made known to everybody in the village that he had only two options: ‘Either to get back his share or to kill his corrupt, older brother?’ Then Everybody listened to him and involved in the case’.

This story samples to International Community,mainly the Western and African diplomats that hold meetings in Addis Ababa and ignore the plight of the Somali population in ogaden Region, he said

Ethiopian Government made very difficult for Journalists and writers about the region to enter into region to cover what is going on freely. The Only way to receive the news is to send calls to the people on the ground.

On Monday night,I spoke with Sahra Hassan( Not her real name) on phone and she said:”I was walking the main street,Kara’marda,when gradually I encountered a lot of Liyu Police,I saw them blocking all the lines and scooping out all the people that were passing through.Then, arresting and taking young men between 15 to 30 years old.And Beating with their guns those resisting arrest “

“I had completely shocked and scared,then I returned to my home,It was the strangest thing I have seen recently”,she added.

The Notorious Liyu Police militia is accused of serious human rights abuses by the rights groups such as Human Right Watch,Amnesty International and Genocide Watch.

According to local sources,several thousand people were arrested.This Security sweep comes after the Regional Administration of Jigjiga preached for several months that its hosting the Ethiopia’s Nations’ and People’s Day which is due to the end of November.And It’s believed that the puppet Administration is draining the sea to secure the big fish.

In an Ogadentoday Press portal,writer Mohammed Farah reported civilians killed in a part of this crackdown.

As the Group, Ogaden National Liberation Front website states, “The Notorious Jail Ogaden, where thousands of innocent civilians are tortured to death is located just few hundred meters away from the festival area”.

Nobody can visit his/her jailed relatives in Ogaden Jail and those arrests will likely to end up in Ogaden jail without taking them to court.

MSF and Red Cross were operating and providing assistance to villagers in the Ogaden, but expelled from the region when they were accused of middling in the political affairs in the region, a charge they strongly denied.

Those (NGOs) remained in the region are under government surveillance, and when it comes to reporting human rights abuses in the region that they witness occurring in front of their eyes. They(NGOs) face a stark choice indeed, to remain in Ogaden region to keep proving the little assistance to population and watch incidents of human rights violations as it happen, like watching a movie trailer, or to speak out to break the silence which is likely to be very risk-taking to be detained, kidnapped, expelled, killed or injured by landmines planted by the Ethiopian Army.

The Oil-rich Ogaden Region borders Djibouti, Kenya and Somalia and many of its residents are ethnic Somalis. The region was Italian and British-colony, but in 1954, Britain handed over the region secretly to Ethiopia, a decision rejected by the Ogaden Somali population who have since fought for full independence.

The Pressing question on the minds of many Somalis from the region is how long will it continue the silence of the International Community,and Ethiopian donors when it comes to human rights violations of the Region?