Ethiopia arrest ex-Somali region president

The conflict in Ethiopia’s Somali Region, which has resulted in the death of dozens of people in Jigjiga and Dire Dawa towns a few weeks ago, is resolved with the arrest of the former president of the region.

The conflict was resolved wisely with less causality, as compared to the dangerous intention of the perpetrators to spread the conflict to neighboring countries with Somali and Oromo communities, according to the reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who briefed reporters on Friday afternoon.

His statement was followed with the arrest of the controversial Abdi Mohamoud Omar, President of Somali Region of Ethiopia, who was allegedly behind the chaos and human rights violations since taking office ten years ago. The state media  reported this afternoon that the police have also secured five guns in Abdi Illey’s house in Addis Ababa when he was arrested.

Reacting to the news of the arrest, “Hopefully, today’s arrest of Abdi Illey is a start to justice for victims of serious crimes in Ethiopia’s Somali region,” said Maria Burnett, Associate Director for Africa Division at Human Rights Watch.

“Other officials, who directed and supported abuses, including crimes against humanity and war crimes, should also be held to account. The federal authorities should ensure that prosecutions are transparent, rigorous and fair and that victims and witnesses can testify without fear of reprisals,” she said.

The attack on Djibouti nationals in the neighboring Dire Dawa town a few weeks ago was aimed at destabilizing the region, according to Prime Minister Ahmed Abiy.

Following the incident recently the ruling party in Somali Region of Ethiopia Somali People’s Democratic Party (SPDP) has recently appointed the Federal Government Communications Minister Ahmed Shide, as its new party chairman.

Abdi Mohamoud Omar also commonly known as Abdi Illey, was replaced about a week ago by the human rights activist Mustafa Omer, who was in exile. As Mustafa refused to stop criticizing, his brother was killed back home under Abdi Illey regime in 2015.

Gangsters allegedly organized by Abdi Illey, was behind the recent chaos in Ethiopia’s Somali region and Dire Dawa Town, according to media reports.
Reports also suggest that the crisis has resulted in the death of around 40 people and burring of several churches before it was finally contained by the intervention of the federal army.

Had the intervention of the federal government in the Somali Region of Ethiopia not done with the highest level of care and maturity, the problem could have led to greater instability as it was designed to destabilize the whole region, according to the premier.

“The objective of the attack on Djibouti nationals in Dire Dawa Town following the chaos in Jigjiga Town was aimed at destabilizing the region by expanding the problem to the neighboring Djibouti,” he said.

Prime Minister Abiy stated that because the government of Djibouti, especially the President of Djibouti managed to properly handle the issue with great wisdom, the evil plan of the perpetrators was contained, according Prime Minister Abiy.

“The human right abuses we heard in this area [Somali Region of Ethiopia], is like what we seen in horror movies of read in fictions. It is not something one can imagine happening in Ethiopia,” Prime
Minister Abiy said.

He stated that prisoners used to be kept in prison cells with wild animals such as, lion, tiger and hyena. “The people in that region [Somali Region of Ethiopia] used to be victims of rape, robbery and killings. What has happened in Jigjiga was also similar in nature,” he said.

Commenting on about the fate of former President of Ethiopia’s Somali Region Abdi Illey, Prime Minister Abiy has said that he will be brought to court.

Indicating that what has happened in Somali Region of Ethiopia under Abdi Mohamoud Omar’s leadership was shameful, Prime Minister Abiy stressed the need for all those in the leadership in other parts of the country to take lesson from it and exercise their duties legally.

“We will continue to expand what we are doing in Somali Region in other parts of the country as well,” Prime Minister Abiy said.