30/08/08 (B463) Shabelle / L’Ethiopie libère 30 somalien âgés qui avaient été incarcérés dans des quartiers haute sécurité, après l’assassinat d’un notable. Des femmes et des enfants ont aussi été incarcérés / After 4 months in jail Ethiopia Gov frees Somali elders (En Anglais – Info lecteur)

More than 30 Somali elders those have been in Ethiopian top-security prisons for more than four months they’ve regained their freedom on Friday night.

The elders have been detained from Yamarugley locale in the Somali region of Ethiopia after a well-known elder was killed in the region.

The Ethiopian troops have also detained the elders with children and women those were all pastoralists were full of activity with their country side works at the time they were put in jail by Ethiopian troops.

One of the freed elders Muse Abdulahi Farah told Shabelle that he was at ease to regain his freedom.

“Glory to God in the highest I am now free” Muse said.

He added that they had encountered many difficulties in the prison including beating and threats.

One female and child were include those have been freed by Ethiopian government.

The largest trouncing were encountered by several detainees from same family whose their animal stocks have been disregarded.

The region covers much of the traditional territory of Ogaden and it formed a large part of the pre-1995 province of Hararghe.

The region has a very high Somali population, and since Ethiopia conquered this region till present there is an internal resistance to remove Ethiopian rule.in the past has been tried to free as part of a Greater Somalia. In the 1970s, Somalia invaded Ethiopia in support of local Somali rebels, particularly during the Ogaden War,was defeated. .

The main Zones of the region are:-

Afder Zone
Degehabur Zone
Fiq Zone
Gode Zone
Jijiga Zone
Korahe Zone
Liben Zone
Shinile Zone
Werder Zone

This region lies in SE Ethiopia, bordering on Somalia and Kenya. It is an arid region, inhabited by Somali pastoral nomads. Upon the scramble and partition of Africa in 1884 by the Europeans, the region remained given to Menelik II of Ethiopia during 1891-97, but the territory was totally engulfed in 1954. The region has been in wars, cyclic droughts and total devastation since then, but mostly since 1960 up to now and State policies met with varying levels of resistance. The people of the region are naturally peaceful and where never allowed to exercise their right for self-determination, but rather subjected to longstanding hidden-sufferings and abuses by ruthless successive Ethiopian governments.

The only sign of other Ethiopians present or living in this region is the presence of huge military garrisons, which are there only for repression and destruction of lives, both humans and animals. The Ethiopian populations is 64 million and are living in the 9 regions of Ethiopia, Oromonia is the largest region in Ethiopia, while the Somali region is the second. Ethiopia is considered by many experts to be the poorest country on earth, yet the present Ethiopian government has currently over 350,000 soldiers, the largest army in black Africa, and about 100,000 of them are in the Somali region, which is populated by 4-5 million Somalis, that is 8% of the Ethiopian population.

The presence in our region by this unjustified huge army tells us more about the plight of our people. Successive Ethiopian governments have not allowed the Somalis to join the army, police and security services, except for some local notorious spies who work with the Ethiopian soldiers by spying only on Somalis, and that kind of employment remains to be the most lucrative work in our region! Forced conscription of young Somalis to join the army and fight in other troubled regions of Ethiopia has been quite common for the last century. More than 20,000 Somalis where forced against their will and participated in the Ethio-Eritrean fighting of 1998-2000.

The majority of them, about 16,000, remained unaccounted for to this day, while those who survived where ordered to go back to their agonized families without being paid any salary for the three years that they were fighting at the front lines.

The Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) soldiers in the region are themselves the courts, judges, prosecutors, executioners, the police and you name it…!!!, that is to say all the powers in the region are in their hands. They kill people indiscriminately at their own will, without the rule of law, since they have the green lights to do so unchecked from those in Addis Abeba. Every aspect of decent human life remains neglected in this region and the people in this unfortunate region lack the minimum basic standards of human beings in the 21st century such as follows:

1. The Somalis remain denied of their rights to basic education. There are elementary schools and several high schools, which function irregularly. The many universities and colleges in Ethiopia very rarely accept Somali students to study in them. Only about 1-2% of our people can speak Amharic, which is the official language of Ethiopia, while 100% of them speak native Somali language.

2. There are no proper hospitals or pharmacies but only some under-staffed health centers. More than 95% of the people do not have access to health services, while it is 47% for the rest of Ethiopians. The main access to heath services in the region remains to be that of the traditional healers, local herbal-medicine and traditional birth attendants.

3. There is no electricity any where in the region and most of the people in the region have never seen a Television or Cinemas.

4. No communications like postal services, and most of the people have not seen or used up to now telephones, faxes etc., because there aren’t any in the region.

5. There are no roads in the region except dirty dusty ones and trails created by the nomads and their herds.

6. There is no clean drinking tape water. People, their herds and other wild animals share what ever they find in dirty wells. In most of the dry Seasons the Ethiopian soldiers will occupy these wells and people have to bribe them by giving them some of their herds, because that is the only way they can get water and survive in the harsh dry seasons.

7. There isn’t any kind of major developmental project in the whole region, but only few minor ones that are implemented by TPLF supporters from Tigray region, while local Somalis are not allowed to be contractors in their own region.

8. There is no regular farming activities in this region, because traditionally the bandit Ethiopian soldiers will collect forcefully the harvested crops and this has discouraged the people of the region to farm.

9. No proper buildings in the so called “shanty towns” and villages of the region and no public health services, including proper waste disposal system. Instead of schools, one will notice the hundreds of prisons that are in all over the region including even the rural villages. These awful prisons have horrendous and scary underground cells not suitable at all for humans or animals. However, true people remain herded in these man made caves!

10. There are no commercial civilian airports or airlines that serve in the region, but many military airports as well as their fighter jet planes, which participate actively and regularly in the oppression and destruction of the people and their properties.

11. Ethiopian-Somalis are denied of their freedom of mobility, and do not travel freely to other regions and cities of Ethiopia. Only those with permission from the TPLF-soldiers who are occupying the Somali region illegally can travel.

12. This region has no civilian courts, judges and lawyers and Ethiopian governments, especially the present one, have been implementing a policy of targeted assassinations, unjustified imprisonment and different tactics of intimidations to the Somali intellectuals who have been forced again and again to abandon and flee their country by Ethiopian regimes, since they understand that knowledge is power.

13. All the mass media belongs to the Ethiopian government. There are not any private mass media, like radios, journals and Televisions in the Somali region.

14. There aren’t veterinary doctors or veterinary services for the millions of livestock like camels, cattle, sheep, horses, donkeys, chicken and goats in the region, an activity in which more than 70% of the people are involved and upon which they survive on. Lack of Veterinary services, recurrent droughts and diseases have contributed to the gradually decline in the numbers of the livestock herds.

15. Freedom of expression of speech, mass assembly and peaceful protest where not allowed in our region for over a century up to the present day.

16. The government doesn’t allow the local Somalis to have NGO’s and has discouraged International NGO’S as well as Ethiopian and international journalists to visit and write about our problems by telling them that the region was not peaceful and that the government will not be responsible for their security. Successive Ethiopian governments were able to keep secret of whatever was happening in our region and that is why this region was isolated or “closed” in the past and remains so until now from the rest of World.

17. The federal government has marginalized us and does not employ Somalis in its different ministries and agencies in Addis Abeba as well as elsewhere. There is one Somali among the whole staff of the Ethiopian Embassies and Consulates in all over the World, and one out of the 45 members of the Ethiopian cabinet. The unemployment rate in this region could be more than 95%!

18. The central government of Ethiopia has created several clan-based ‘political parties’ in the Somali region, a privilege that was denied from us to establish our own political parties, which has never happened. These parties are clan-based and intended to divide the Somalis into clans. This is the basic present Ethiopian regime’s attitude towards the Somalis of divide and rule by trying to create problems among the Somali clans through these ‘political parties’. Fortunately, this plan resulted in total failure and the Somalis never ever agreed with their proposals of inter-Somali clan fighting’s.

19. The government is interfering with our religious freedom and rights, and won’t hesitate to tell the Western Nations that these pastoral nomads are fundamentalist in order to get financial aid as well as weapons and thus continue its atrocities against its ‘citizens’, who on the contrary need sympathy, peace, bread, justice and development.

20. People of this region don’t own hotels or shops and hence are not involved in commercial activities, mostly for fear of daylight looting by these Ethiopian bandit soldiers and because of this more than 70% of the people remained to be pastoral nomads. Most of the Somalis in this region do not even know the Ethiopia currency-birr, because they have been trading only with Somalia by using the Somali currency-the shilling.

When we look and analyse the above-cited status and many more, the people of the Somali region are not living in the 21st century, but rather way back in the Stone Ages. I can say without any bias that now this isolated region is the least developed and most impoverished spot on this earth.