Aug 06, 2018

Ogaden: African Rights Monitor Call on Ethiopia’s New Prime Minister After Military Intervention in Western Somali Region

On 4 August 2018, the Ethiopian army launched a military intervention in Jijiga, thereby violating the principle of self-determination of the Ogaden Somali region. After decades of Ethiopian rule over the Western Somali region and several accusations of grave human rights violations against the population of the Ogaden, African Rights Monitor has expressed deep concerns following this illicit use of force and the ongoing occupation of official buildings. In particular, the NGO exhorts the new Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiye Ahmed, to keep his promises of “good governance” and to respect the Ogaden people’s fundamental rights. The UNPO condemns this new intervention by the Ethiopian armed forces, as well as the broader and systematic marginalisation and human rights abuses perpetrated against the Ogaden Somalis. The UNPO reasserts its support for dialogue, democracy and the principle of self-determination, in order to reach peaceful and productive negotiation in the region.

Below is an article originally published by African Rights Monitor

Yesterday [4 August 2018], the Ethiopian army intervened militarily in the Somali Region‘s capital Jijiga, occupying all important regional Government buildings. They cut off electricity, water and internet services. Due to the blockade on the region, the number of casualties on the civilians are unknown. Sources indicate dozens reported killed, others arrested and tortured by the army. The well-being of the regional Governments President and Parliament members are unknown.

For the last 27 years, the region is under huis clos war between Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) and the Ethiopian Government. Restrictions on movements and access to it are deliberately imposed by the Ethiopian Government while civilians suffered different kinds of human rights abuses, collective punishment, extrajudicial killings, rape, resource exploitation and illegal property confiscation committed by the army and their allied Liyu Police militia owned by the current regional president but trained, equipped and paid by Ethiopia.

The arrival of the new Prime Minister Abiye Ahmed and his promise of good governance has not yet benefitted to the Somali people in Ogaden. The epicentre of the conflict between Somali people and Addis Abeba Authority lies in the systematic denial of the central Government of the exercise all fundamental rights by the Somali People in Ogaden. The region is the richest while its people are the poorest. Ogden is the only region where its representatives are chosen by the Ethiopian army, the yesterday’s conflict was related to this.

African Rights Monitor exhorts the new Prime Minister to:

- respect the Federal charter allowing the Ogaden Somali to manage their own region while electing representatives capable defending their regional and federal interest.

- order withdraw the military from the regional institutions and restore the regional Government while allowing peaceful power transition wanted by the people throughout democratic elections.

- stop the gas and the other resources exploitations in the region as long as resource power sharing is not reached.

- go ahead with the peace negotiations with the political and armed Somali ONLF organization.

- lift the ongoing 11-year blockade and allow unfettered access to Somali region.

- dismantle the Oromo Regional militia responsible the ongoing Somali prosecution on the borders between the two people.

African Rights Monitor believes, as shown by the history, any military action is doomed to failure and encourages the Prime Minister to be different of those before him and take peaceful conflict resolution steps by satisfying the legal demand of the Ogaden Somali people.


Photo courtesy of Danielzolli @Flickr