Reports that a rebel commander with the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) has been handed “illegally” over to Ethiopian authorities by Somali government officials has caused a collective uproar by Somali’s both at home and in the diaspora.
The reports were confirmed to Voice of America’s Amharic division on Thursday by the Ethiopian Minister of Communication, Dr. Negeri Lencho.
The ONLF – a separatist ethnic Somali rebel group fighting for the right to self-determination in Ethiopia’s Somali region – accused Somali authorities of illegally detaining and transferring Abdikarim Muse “Qalbi Dhagah” to Ethiopia, which considers him a “terrorist”. The ONLF said that the decision was made at the highest levels of the Somali government, directly implicating Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi ‘Farmajo’ as well as Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khayre as well as the top brass of the security apparatus.
The group says the rendition violates a UN convention relating to the Status of Refugees.
“The current president of Somalia, Mohamed Abdullahi ‘Farmajo’, and his accomplices, the Prime Minister Mr. Hassan Ali Khayre, The National security advisor, Gen. Bashir Mohamed Jamac-Goobe, the Head of Nisa, Mr. Abdullahi Mohamed Ali “Sanbalolshe” have committed a national crime against the Somali nation and as such will bear the full political and moral consequences of their cowardly act. Mr. Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has set a new black record and vile precedence in the history of the Somali nation by becoming the first President of Somalia to hand over a fellow Somali to the enemy of the Somali nation – the TPLF regime in Ethiopia.” said the group in a formal press statement.
The ONLF was created in 1984, after the defeat of Somalia National Army in the 1977 Ogaden War.
The Somali government so far has yet to publicly comment on the transfer although many former and current government officials voiced their displeasure at the decision to transfer Abdikarim Muse.