July 1, 2022

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Somali region

Ethiopia’s Somali region says some forces are trying to overthrow the govt

Somali region
Somali region president Mustafa Omer

Ethiopia’s Somali region government says that some forces are trying to create conflict in the region and they want to seize power by force.

Somali Regional State Communications Office has released a statement amid new political developments in the region. The government says that it is fighting on two fronts. It is fighting to help the drought-stricken population on one hand. On the other, it is countering the conspiracies of those forces which are trying to use drought situations for political gains.

The statement says that last week 30,000 quintals of food and daily grains were distributed in 46 woredas and more than 70,351 families from 10 drought-hit zones benefited. In addition, 200 million birr daily meals have been distributed to more than 38 thousand 978 households.

“At this time when the regional government and other regions of our country are working together to end the drought, the criminals who have committed different human rights violations in our country and region for the past three decades, and those who have not broken their ties with the terrorist organizations after the change are gathered here. The main purpose of these forces is to create conflict between the people, to disturb the region, and to hold power by force”, says the government.

The regional government has urged media not to air false news and has vowed that it will not tolerate conspirators.

In November last year, a new political alliance CSC was formed in the region. Congress for Somali Cause (CSC) says that six political parties are part of the alliance. Dozens of President Mustafa’s PP party officials are in touch with us, says CSC head Ahmad Mohamed Hasan.

The alliance accuses President Mustafa Omer’s government of total failure. It wants a transitional set up in the region to hold deliberations about the future status of the Somali region. The alliance is mainly based abroad. It announced its formation in Nairobi Kenya.

But since the formation of the alliance in Kenya, political tensions in the Somali region are on the rise.

Last week, several ex-officials of the Somali regional government and three local journalists were arrested in Jigjiga city while attempting to attend a meeting at a hotel in Jigjiga, the capital of the Somali region.

The meeting was called by former cabinet-level officials and central committee members of the regional branch of the ruling prosperity party. “The goal of the meeting was to discuss the politics of the region and find solutions to challenges facing the people of the region”, the members later said in a statement. 

The members complained about the track record of the regional president Mustafa Omer and called on the national central committee of the ruling party to take corrective measures.

The meeting was stormed by Somali Region police. At least three local journalists including Awkee Ali Ibrahim of Horayaal TV, Najib Tayib, and Muhyddin Mohammed of RTN TV were arrested. The journalists were covering the meeting of dissident PP party members. They were later released. Read more…

Another vocal critic of the Somali regional government and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy is Filsan Abdullahi.

Filsan Abdullahi Ahmed, also known as Filsan Abdi, is an Ethiopian activist and politician from the Somali Region. She is the founder of the Nabad project and satellite television station. She was appointed the federal Ethiopian Minister of Women, Children, and Youth on 12 March 2020, becoming the youngest person in the Abiy Ahmed cabinet. 

Filsan resigned from the Cabinet in September 2021. In December 2021, she stated to The Washington Post that she had resigned in relation to Abiy’s handling of the Tigray War.

She is being seen in international media on regular basis. In her interviews on CNN, BBC, Washington Post, she has accused the Ethiopian Federal Government and Somali regional government of being incompetent and biased. Her TV channel Nabad TV was closed by the Somali regional government in November last year.

This week, three former presidents of the region held a joint press briefing. Khadar Mallim, Abdullahi Hassen Mohammed (Lugbur), and Ahmad Makahil lashed out at President Mustafa Omer’s government accusing the regional government of silencing dissenting voices in the region.

While the Somali region is in the grip of severe drought, political wrangling is reaching new levels. The opposition groups are trying to launch a street movement. They want to exploit this situation to weaken the government. On the other hand, President Mustafa Omer’s government seems to be adamant not to let opposition parties start any street movement. State crackdown against dissenting voices is underway.