The President of Ethio-Somali Region is “Captured”

Mengistu D. Aseefa, for East African Policy Research Institute

The Ethiopia Somali Regional State President Abdi Mohamoud Omar aka Abdi Illey is said to be captured today. He had resigned his post yesterday.  He surrendered to the Ethiopian army early this morning after his initial attempt to escape to Puntland was blocked by the army. 

The unprecedented clash between the Ethiopian federal army and Somali Regional Special Security force aka Liyou Police has claimed the lives of 30 people, the state media reports. Non-Somali Ethiopians were targeted by the youth group called HEEGO, which were organized by the president. Properties were looted, banks robbed, and churches burnt to ashes over the last three days.

Ahmed Shide, Ethiopian Government Communications Affairs Minister confirmed that “this act of crime has been orchestrated by the regional officials”.  He further stated that the president threatened to secede the region by misinforming the public as if the federal government was trying to violently overtake the region. He explained that “it is a violence perpetrated on human and by extension on the constitutional federal system”.

Abdi Mohammed took power as a regional president in 2010 after serving as an informant before which he was an electrical technician. He has been in control of the regional Liyou Police, a paramilitary militia composed of entirely Somali ethnic for a counter terrorism against the insurgency by the regional rebel group, Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF). This Liyou Police is accused by rights group of severe rights abuses, killings and rapes in the region. It also created a violence on Oromia Region by which hundreds lost their lives and above one million Oromos have been displaced and whose humanitarian crises are not yet halted.

Some army generals and security apparatus in Ethiopia have long been accused of installing Abdi in the region to smoothen the illicit trades and contrabands. Abdi himself accused Getachew Assefa, former intelligence chief of Ethiopia for intervening in the regional issues.

Ahmed Abdi, the former regional finance bureau head will be a caretaker president of the regional state. The region is now under a de facto state of emergency after the federal defense force and federal police are deployed to the region as of yesterday to “restore order”.

Ethiopian Constitution Art. 51 and the 2003 Proclamation by the name of “System for the Intervention of the Federal Government in the Regions” (Proclamation No. 359/2003) grant the Federal government to intervene in regional security problems.000

This article first appeared on East African Policy Research Institute