Jigjiga, Ethiopia, August 6, 2018 (Saxafi) – Breaking News: President of the Ethiopia’s Somali regional state Abdi Mohamoud Omar a.k.a. Abdi Iley resigns today after several days of standoff with the federal Government of Ethiopia.
Ahmed Abdi Ilkacase, the Finance Minister is named an interim president of the Somali region of Ethiopian.
The Minister for Information for the Somali Region of Ethiopia Idris Ismail has confirmed to the BBC Somali Service that the Regional President Abdi Mohamud Omar has handed over power and has agreed to step down, after along talks between Federal government and Somali regional authority.
The resignation of Abdi Illey, widely accused of gross human rights abuses, has also been reported by the Ethiopia Somali News Agency (ESNA), the region’s communication outlet.
Senior officials of the region told the Voice Of America’s Somali service that Mohamoud Omar popularly referred to as Abdi Illey was to be replaced by the region’s Finance Minister Ahmed Abdi Ilkacase.
The development comes in the wake of federal government’s orders that the national army and police enter the state, particularly in the capital of Jijiga, to restore order and maintain peace.
The Ethiopian Communications Minister, Ahmed Shide is reported to have said Addis Ababa’s move to enter the state was on the request of the government of the state.
Planks of the current armed intervention
- Intervention began this afternoon (August 6) after reinforcement army were deployed by military helicopters in and around Babile area as of early this morning.
- As part of the negotiation, federal army will now be in charge of restoring law & order in the region.
- Members of the regional paramilitary Liyu Police will “restrain” from conducting” any form of operation” while the army’s operation is underway.
Current developments follows a weekend of violence, including killings of civilians, looting and displacement. The situation has triggered another massive humanitarian crisis in the region.
The BBC Amharic service reports that non-Somalis in Jigjiga were in hiding for fear of reprisal attacks. Quite a number of people have also quit other key cities and towns in the region. Reports indicate that most of them headed to neighboring Somaliland.
Meanwhile, Ethiopian soldiers have taken control of major highways, government buildings and the airport in the eastern Somali region after violence in the capital of Jigjiga left at least 29 people dead.
Fighting broke out Friday after an apparent rift between local authorities and the central Ethiopian government. It is unclear exactly what led to the violence.
A senior official with the region’s Somali People’s Democratic Party, Khadar Abdi Ismail, tells VOA the federal forces are responsible for the deaths.
He blames the violence on what he calls public anger over “the illegal entry of the dangerously armed troops” into the city. Ismail says non-Somali ethnic communities were targeted, shops looted, buildings burned and at least one church destroyed.
Ethiopia’s military has vowed to take the “necessary measures … to restore order in the Ethiopian Somali regional state.”
The government recently accused regional officials of carrying out human rights abuses
The U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia is urging Americans in the region to shelter in place and pay attention to local news reports for updates on the situation.
There are several thousand regional paramilitary fighters known as the Liyu police, a force created in 2007 primarily to quell the rebellion of the Ogaden National Liberation Front. Liyu police have been accused of committing brutality and torture against supporters of ONLF.
Ethiopia’s Somali region was the first area visited by new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed after he was selected by the ruling party last April
At the time of the visit, Ahmed was trying to ease tensions between the ethnic Somali and Oromo communities, which have been engaged in deadly tit-for-tat attacks that have claimed the lives of dozens of people.