08/05/02 Open Letter to His Excellency, Mr Meles Zenawi, The Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE). The Afars and Issa conflict. (Adan Bodaya)

26 April 2002

Letter to His Excellency, Mr Meles Zenawi
The Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

The Afars and Issa conflict

Dear Mr

We are
writing to express deep concern about the consequences of
the present armed conflict between Afars and Issa in Afar
Region of eastern Ethiopia.

We would
like to inform Your Excellency that this war is not motivated
by the economic or cultural considerations but merely by the
territorial ambitions of Issa who wish to occupy Afarland.
It is not an internal conflict between two communities of
Ethiopia; rather it is an external aggression and an invasion
carried out by Djibouti soldiers of Somali-Issa origin and
soldiers of the Somali regime of Mogadishu in cooperation
with Issa and Somali Regional State militias (Ogaden).

sources say that the Issa terrorist group has been and is
still receiving financial support, training facilities, and
military equipment from the tribalist undemocratic regimes
of Djibouti, Iraq and Somalia and from Al Qaeda and Ittihad
fundamentalist organizations.

Your Excellency,
the following factors are self-evidence of the Issa ambition
to occupy Afarland:

1 The
map of the Somali Regional State includes big areas of Afar

2 The Somali Regional State’s flag is raised over all occupied
areas of Afar country by the Issa.

3 Settlement in Adaytu, Qadaytu, Ounda Fo’ou, Qunda foqo,
Gadamaytu etc…

4 All historical or archeological statues or properties representing
Afar culture
and history have been destroyed in all occupied areas.

5 Collectively organized operations of war by Issa militia
and responsible States
and organizations mentioned above.

6 The Ethiopian Somali Democratic Movement officially proclaimed
ownership of "Weeqaytu" Awash River in its economic
and social programme. It says that "their whole life
is generally linked with the land and to Awash, Shebelle,
Wabi, Gannale, Fafam and Daaw rivers which flow over the Somali
Ethiopian Territory, therefore, complete recognition must
be accorded that the Ethiopian Somali territory and the rivers
that flow on it are the property of the people and the right
to utilize this natural wealth belongs only to the Somali

7 Continuous
acts of aggression against Afars and objection to peaceful
settlement of the problem is also further evidence.

The Afars
have always expressed a sincere desire for a fair pacific
peaceful solution for this problem with the assistance of
your government, which played a very important active role
to settle it by peaceful means by offering its good offices,
advice and proposals to settle this problem. But unfortunately,
all these efforts, attempts and negotiations have been unsuccessful
and reached a deadlock because the Issa failed to meet their
obligation and respect negotiation agreements.

the Issa terrorist group committed crimes against humanity
by inhuman and uncivilized treatment of innocent Afar people
in different areas of Afar Region. This war has already resulted
in the deaths of hundreds of innocent people, mostly elders,
women and children, wanton destruction of thousands of homes,
and villages, displacements of hundreds of Afar people, organized
thefts and pillage of thousands of Afar animals (camels, cattle
and goats) by the Issa.

Your Excellency,
these terrorist operations are not only limited to the Afar
people, but also reflect badly on all Ethiopian’s interests
and politics. These terrorist activities may lead to a very
serious threat to law and order, human rights, democracy,
economic and social developments of Ethiopia, friendship of
all Ethiopian nationalities and peaceful conditions of the
civil populations of democratic Ethiopia.

It is
very important to know that political stability, peace and
security of the region would be endangered if this conflict
is not stopped and the Issa withdraw from Afar territory as
soon as possible.

the Afar people have no choice but to take all necessary measures
to meet the danger in order to defend their land and protect
themselves from this externally organized military invasion.

The action now taken by the Afars is neither a reprisal nor
revenge but it is a pure self-defense based on the principle
of self-defense and on Article 51 of the UN Charter. This
internationally recognized right must not be denied to the
Afars by anyone.

Your Excellency;

We call upon the government of Ethiopia to take necessary
steps to stop this war, to withdraw the Issa from all Afar
territory in order to prevent further aggression, and to restore
law and order of Ethiopia and maintain peace and security
in the religion.

We clearly condemn the acts of war and acts of provocation
committed by the Issa against Afar civil populations in their

We call upon the government to condemn the unlawful acts of
war committed recently by the Issa against innocent Afar population.

We demand that Issa terrorist groups cease their terrorist
acts of war immediately and withdraw at once from Afarland
to their traditional boundary, which originally lay 30 kilometers
from the Railway.

We demand that the Issa return in full all Afar animals, public
and private goods or belongings pillaged forcibly.

We demand that Issa leaders and the Ethiopian government bring
to the Afar Criminal Court of Justice those who are responsible
for crimes committed against humanity in Afarland, as currently
applying by the International Criminal Tribunal to the former
Yugoslavia under Articles 2, 3, and 5 of the UN.

We demand that Guelleh’s regime of Djibouti and the Somali
Regional State (Ogaden) ‘Issa’ pay a full compensation for
the deaths of hundreds of innocent civilians, destruction
of hundreds of homes and dislocations of hundreds of families
and damage to the environment caused by their acts of aggression,
and it is estimated 655 million US $ approximately.

We demand that Ismael Omar Guelleh’s regime of Djibouti, the
Somali regime of Mogadishu and the Ittihad fundamentalist
organization cease war against Afars, cease their financial
and military assistance to Issa terrorists to killing Afars
and destabilizing Ethiopia’s political stability.

We hold the Ismael Omar and Somalia regimes responsible for
the consequences of their physical and material involvement
in combat operations in cooperation with the Issa and breaches
of international law and conventions of human rights prohibiting
the illegal use of force.

We demand that Mr Ismael Omar, the President of Republic of
Djibouti to condemn the Issa’s terrorist activities in an
official manner and apologize for its wrongful acts lately
committed against Afars in Ethiopia.

We call upon all freedom and peace-loving people of Ethiopia
to stand behind Afars in this critical situation and support
their legitimate right for self-defense against terrorist
actions. The Afar would like to have friendly relations with
all neighboring nations or nationalities of Ethiopia on the
basis of equality, of mutual respect and of solidarity toward
in the struggle for common goods and advantages.

We hope
for all human societies to enjoy sharing freedom, peace and
friendship instead of unjust endless conflicts.


Adan Bodaya
Son of a former sultan of Dawe Region of Afarland (now zone
Former President of the Afar Students’ League in Cairo, Egyp