Despite remarkable achievements in Somalia in the recent past, structural challenges remain and continue to undermine the country’s security and political stability, the United Nations envoy for the country has warned.
DAKAR, Senegal, September 14, 2018 – Briefing the Security Council for the last time in his capacity as UN Special Representative for Somalia, Michael Keating called on all Somalis to draw strength from the positive transformations going on inside the country and work collectively for the common good.
“The future of Somalia is in the hands of the Somalis,” he declared.
In particular, Mr. Keating – who also heads the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) – urged unity among political leaders.
“The more [they] show unity, the greater the opportunity, and the responsibility, of international partners to invest in all parts of the country and its leadership,” he said.
In his remarks, Mr. Keating highlighted four key concerns the country’s leaders need to address, and issues that the international community should keep focusing on.
These include the threat posed by the Al Shabaab and other extremist groups; the risk of political differences overshadowing progress in legislative, reform and security areas; fragmentation within the international community; and the danger of a humanitarian “catastrophe”, especially with most of the population already living in precarious circumstances due to climate change and other vulnerabilities.
“Future crises will result from the combination of climate related shocks; armed conflict provoked by Al Shabaab and unresolved grievances; competition over natural resources; and systemic marginalization of certain groups,” warned Mr. Keating. He underscored the need to reduce the vulnerability faced by ordinary Somalis, through job creation and smart investments that safeguard natural resources and help unlock the enormous economic potential of the country.
Besides political will, Mr. Keating underscored, success will depend on leaders from the political, business and traditional spheres “working together for the common good, leveraging the country’s potential wealth to transform prospects for people – especially the young.”
On 1 October, Nicholas Haysom will replace Mr. Keating as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia and the head of UNSOM. Mr. Keating was appointed the top UN official in the Horn of Africa nation in November 2015.
Women have brought ‘important voices’ to Somali politics
Alongside Mr. Keating, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the Executive Director of the UN gender equality and empowerment agency for women and girls (UN Women) highlighted the “once-in-a-generation opportunity” that Somalia currently has to establish lasting peace, and gender equality.
She commended the nation for improving representation of women in public office, illustrated by the “jump” in women’s representation in parliamentary elections from 14 to nearly 25 per cent of seats in the most recent elections.
This progress, she underscored, has brought many “important voices” to Somali politics.
She said it had brought to the centre “the fight to end child marriage, end female genital mutilation (FGM), and change laws that discriminate against women,” noting that the participation of women will be further boosted if more leaders, especially clan leaders, embrace gender equality and support women.
She also called on the international community and the Security Council to support Somalia’s federal and provincial authorities, advance gender equality, act strongly against sexual and gender-based violence, advocate for meaningful participation and recognition of women in all sectors, and support women’s groups in the country.
“Women’s organizations in Somalia are organized. They are dedicated to their country: they are activists, advocates, entrepreneurs, professionals, and patriots,” said Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka, noting that as the country prepares to confront the challenges in the days ahead, “women will make the difference.”
The Somali Region or the Ogaden Region have been under-fire for months. Over the weekend the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Defence Force (EPRDF) send the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) to takeover the capital of the region, they ceased the important buildings as the looting and destroying of city, therefore, the army took the Parliament, the banks and major buildings. While the local group Heego of Abdi Illey created havoc. By Saturday, there was reports of calm, but the army was out and the Liyu Police had taken control.
Today on Monday after time in house-arrest, Illey have been sacked and he has gotten a successor by the authorities. However, the violence isn’t slowing down, but escalating to heavy proportions. You can wonder how many Somali people have to die, because of the will of Oromo to annex this region and its resources. Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO) and the EPRDF needs to react and stop the violence. That Dr. Abiy Ahmed Ali have been silent and not really reacted, but let the Oromo attack these areas and killing, also accepting the army ceasing JigJjiga, isn’t a good sign. That is a sign of internal battlefield within the Federal Republic. Not pacing down, but more violence and more hurt for innocent civilians.
“The town of Tuliguleed has been a flash point for conflict between indigenous Somalis and Oromo settlers in the past but what has transpired in the past 24 hours has never been seen before. Heavily armed Oromo militia’s launched an indiscriminate attack on multiple Somali inhabited villages on the border between Ogaden and the neighboring Oromo regional state. Armed Oromo militia’s entered the villages and began indiscriminately opening fire on civilians, forcing hundreds to flee to the nearby town of Tuliguleed and the surrounding areas. The rogue paramilitary militia’s began subsequently burning villages to the ground, till it was completely ash. A total of nine villages where burned to the ground” (Halgan Media – ‘Oromo Militia’s Burn Down Nine Villages In Ogaden Within The Past 24 Hours’ 06.08.2018 link: http://halganmedia.net/oromo-militias-burn-down-nine-villages-in-ogaden-within-the-past-24-hours/).
There are reports of violence also in Harar, Dire Dawa and not only in the areas around Jigjiga. But this is deliberate activity, especially when the authorities have cut the Telecommunications, the internet and everything else used to spread a single word. This is what the EPRDF have done in Amhara and Oromia, when they have forced their State of Emergency to control these areas. Instead of doing it there by the Tigray People’s Liberation Force (TPLF), not the Queero and the Oromos feels big enough to charge at the people of Ogaden. This happens as the oil revenue has come.
This comes after killings last month in Moyale, as their been movement and seems to be planned violence now within the Ogaden. Like they want to burn and destroy, so they can move in and occupy it. It is an ancient tactic done by plenty and now the Oromo is doing it to their Somali brothers. This is sad as the Oromo and Oromia have been protesting and fighting for their rights. Instead of living in solidarity and trying to forge unity with the rest of the Federal Republic. They are using violence against brothers. That is just sad and mediocre of the people whose deserved to be free from toils of the TPLF. Is using the same means and deception of violence against others. They should know better, because they really had their hurt and pain for so long because of EPRDF.
It is impossible to know at the moment how many whose died in the skirmishes from ENDF and Queero in Ogaden. But each one, is one to many, just like every single one dying in Oromia because of the TPLF, was one to many. No one deserves to die because of the attitude of supremacy or ideals of that sort. Peace.
We have seen how the Ethiopian government and the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Defense Force (EPRDF), the coalition government, which have selected Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO) own man as Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed Ali. He has been on a peace-mission and been visiting and signing agreement with Eritrea, been in Djibouti and even made engagement with the Federal Government of Somalia. However, with his connections and peaceful endeavors. There is one piece now missing.
As the EPRDF and the TPLF have tried to amend with the opposition of the Oromia and the Amhara. But the Ogaden/Somali Region haven’t been taken care of, where the Oromo or the Queero “The Youths” have been used to annex or to further control the region. That seems more plausible, as the oil production started in late June 2018. This will be an important source to the foreign exchange and revenue for the state, as the economy of Ethiopia haven’t been that strong of late. They need this more than they will ever say in public. Would make any reason to secure the oil and gas resources in the Ogaden.
We know the state are doing what they can to get control over the situation of yesterday, as they have cut electricity, internet is down and even water was cut. Therefore, the 1000 of soldiers, ceasing of the Jigjiga. Only thing that was working was the telephone lines. The day after the fatal day of Heego and looting, shows that the army isn’t there, but the Liyu Police has taken over. Still, this is not a certain situation. To close these basic needs of after the hostile takeover yesterday, isn’t coming in peace, but showing supposed strength. Not trying to fix the issues or even address the mischief.
The Prime Minister Abiy if he can clear the air between him and the Eritreans, he should be capable to do the same for the Ogaden. If he doesn’t have a plan to takeover the Ogaden and make that a giant colony of the Oromo. I don’t think that is wise idea and will only hurt the moves for peace and national reconciliation that is needed after all the protests from Amhara and Oromo. Now the same violent and deteriorating activity is happening in Jigjiga. Where they are feeling the same sort of pain, that the others has done.
Abdi Iley, the leader of the Heego is reported to be under house arrest. While there is not certainty what is really happening in the city. As the major buildings was ceased and the Regional Leadership have lost their power in a way. Since the hostile takeover yesterday.
We don’t know how many who died, as there been various reports of both police officers, soldiers and civilians dying as a result. All these deaths are tragic, as their lives was cut short because of naked ambition from both parties. The control of the Ogaden, the control of the oil and own will to reign supreme.
We have to hope this will not escalate, as this is bad enough as it is, and the oil curse has hit Ethiopia. As the greed and the lack of service delivery are hitting the government. They feel left behind, as the oil and gas production have appeared and the Somali Region wants their fair share. That is obvious, as well, as the EPRDF shown disregard for the Somali public.
Hopefully, there will be movement and signs of progress, but right now, it is just a hostile takeover of Jigjiga and lack of reasoning from the EPRDF. The EPRDF and PM Abiy should meet and greet with the Ogaden/Somali Region leadership, try to work the issues out like gentlemen. Not just send the army to takeover the area, like it is war. That is just unreasonable and disgraceful, just like cutting of basics for living like electricity and water. Peace.
The Federal Government ordered its military Force in Jigjiga to attack and take over the Somali regional Administration. This unilateral act resulted in Loss of Life and has endangered the law and order of the Ogaden, creating chaos and uncertainty at a time the Somali people were expecting to get peace and their rights.
ONLF believes that any transitional change in the Somali region shall come through a peaceful negotiated process where all relevant stakeholders including ONLF, the Federal government, and all other relevant stakeholders. Any entity that take unilateral act, that could jeopardise the situation will be responsible for consequences such an act produces.
ONLF calls upon the new Prime Minister of Ethiopia to halt immediately any military activities and initiate a peaceful process, including direction negotiations with ONLF, which would lead to a national conference where a peaceful road map for change in the Somali region is charted and the future course of the Somali people’s cause is decided.
ONLF calls upon the Somali people in Ogaden to stand up for their rights and never allow external forces to decide their fate. However, religious shrines and the properties of civilians shall be protected against opportunist individuals.
ONLF also laments the continuing fighting alone the borders of the Somali Oromo borders. This will further exacerbate the future relations between these neighbourly communities.
All ONLF members in the Ogaden shall endeavour to stabilise the situation and call for calm and peaceful engagement with all authorities and educate the people to respect the lives of minority communities, state and private property and Religious institutions.
Issued by ONLF.