Members of Ogaden Refugee community Committee (ORCC ) in Dhadhaab are worried about the conditions of newly arrived refugees from Ethiopian -occupied Ogaden Region.Representatives from Ogaden Refugee Community Committee held a meeting in Xagardheere camp aiming at to show the World a large number of newly arrived refugees that live under difficult conditions for lacking food, water and shelter.
The Meeting which ORCC of Ogaden Refugee organized was invited the local media namely Somali National Television (SNT) and Kenya’s independent radio Star FM .The newly arrived refugees told the media that they were raped, tortured ,killed members of their families and confiscated their livestock and/or their belongings by the Ethiopian Regime. Some of the refugees displayed scars on their bodies as an evidence of being Ethiopian victims.
These refugees come after UN Refugee Agency limited its activities at the registration centers in the Camps that made (them)the newly arrivals to receive ration cards.
Speaking with the Somali National TV, ORCC Chairperson, Dahir Mohammed Ali, said: “At least 2,000 unregistered and undocumented Somalis from Ogaden Region that have no ration cards are in the Camps”. The Representative further said even though they always do their best to work voluntarily for the profit of the refugees and selflessly extended any help they (Refugees) needed but very concerned about the UN Refugee Agency’s limited activities at the registration centers.
“These refugees have no relatives in abroad that can send money for food and they cannot return their own homeland ,Ogaden region for fear of execution ;they simply stay indoors without eating three times a day, therefore its international obligation to feed and protect the refugees”, added Mr. Ali.
Kenya hosts the highest number of refugees from Ogaden region. Thousands of Somalis from Ogaden region fled to Somaliland, Djibouti and Kharez/Sana’a ,Yemen, while many refugees are urban refugees that do not go to UNHCR offices for registration for fear of not to be registered or lack of knowledge about the issue.
A Three-days seminar titled “How to prevent Ethiopian Human Rights Abuses” was held by the Ogaden Youth and Student Union in Johansburg. The aim of the seminar was how to educate the youths, how to be united, work together and launch campaigns against those committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ethiopian Occupied-Ogaden Region.
The Youth vowed to bring to justice those who that believe that they will never be made accountable and brought in front of Justices.
The South Africa-based Ogaden Youth and Students Union in collaboration with Ogaden Community in South Africa has launched the three-days awareness Seminar on preventing Ethiopian human rights abuses.
Representatives and officials from Ogaden Community in South Africa, College Students, educators, Intellectuals, politicians and Eastern Africa Regional commentators participated in the seminar.
Speaking at the inaugural session, the chief speaker,OYSU-Secretary Mohammed Qani said: “Thank you every one for your participation, I strongly urge you to play a major role for preventing the human rights abuses being committed in the Ogaden territory by the Ethiopian Army and its militia of Liyu Police.”
Axbab Abdi, OYSU Coordinator said, “The Ogaden civilians are in dire circumstances, and this can only be changed if we all unite and take action”
The participants watched a shocking footage that showed the Ethiopian Army and its trained militia, the notorious Liyu Police, targeting unarmed civilians arbitrarily -raping, beating and detaining and abusing the detainees.
Some of the participants including a poet, known as Khader Olad who expressed his feelings by reciting a poem he composed a poem for the Somali Ogaden struggle against the Ethiopia occupation.
Another important Guest speaker was the chairman of Somali Ogaden Community in South Africa, Mr. Abdurrahman Sa’id,who spoke at length about the history of the Ogaden struggle and encouraged the participants to stand together and confront anything that stands against the noble cause of the Somali people in Ogaden.
Ogaden Youth & Student Union is a youth-led international organization based in 24 countries around the world which was established to educate, advocate and raise awareness in order to bring an end to the ignored and often hidden genocide taking place in the Ogaden.
In the West Midlands of UK, Birmingham, over one hundred OYSU-members aged between 15-24 from London, Manchester ,Leeds, and many other parts of the country attended in a conference that attracted the title of “Unveil the Genocide in Ogaden region” on Saturday.
As Social media plays a big role for our lives, and the lives of global youth, OYSU-UK managed to reach out their follow members around the country through twitter, face-book and advertising by using posters.
At least fifteen OYSU-members from Great Britain mostly young women participated in mobilizing people to attend an event that took two months or so to organize.
Despite all-born in Europe and have never seen Ogaden Region, these young women and young men shared and displayed the act of horrible stories that they are hearing from their homeland, Ogaden Region.
Endless stories such as gang-raping, torturing, extra-judicial killing, widespread arresting, looting, displacing villagers, confiscating livestock by the Ethiopian Army and its allied notorious Liyu Police militia that is common in Ethiopian occupied-Ogaden Region.
The Ogaden, an old Italian and British colony borders Djibouti, Oromia, Kenya and Somalia and many of its residents are ethnic Somali Muslims, which later became under Ethiopian colony when Great Britain secretly handed over to Ethiopia in 1954 a decision rejected by the Ogaden Somali population who have since fought for full independence.
In 1977-78,Somalia involved in the Ogaden war but abandoned when it faced more challenges from its domestic oppositions.
Birmingham resident ,Juweyria Ali ,19,has invested her time in the OYSU- event to make it happen and kept updating me for the last couple of weeks is very delighted when a large number of people including the Ogaden Community from United Kingdom that willing to expose the army brutality in Ogaden region attended, for the result of her blessed hard-work.
“After long-nights of sleepless our efforts ended in success, thanks to God, the change must start from ourselves first, therefore with talent and energy plus education these young educators can save the World, God’s will. What we need is to put things in action i.e. more work and less talk”, said Juweyria Ali one of organizing committee members.
3-year-old OYSU that gained the attention of the media only recently set up its own divisions in the very remote areas, they come up with their own system: more dynamic and organized way of human interaction, according OYSU executive officials the top has to reach out down the line all over the globe through Skype, phone calls and any other means is very crucial.
“Our work is not only allegiance to my country but religious duty as well”, said Abdi Jamal Abdullahi Mohammed, The Information Secretary of OYSU in an email response.
Some of the attendees that I talked with via face-book shared with me their experiences about the Saturday event that dubbed “Unveil the Hidden Genocide in Ogaden” one of these people is Leyla Hassan who hinted how Jigjiga was not ready to host Ethiopian guests.
“My emotion is too high, the words are too far limited and I could not find words to express my feelings because the event comes after Ethiopia held grossly unfair and unwanted so-called “The Ethiopian Nations, Nationalities People’s Day” in Jigjiga which we disappointed by the fact the burden brought by the guests for a city already suffering lack of water supplies and inadequate accommodations, OYSU-event that took place on Saturday gave us hope to continue the fight against injustice”, said Leyla Hassan,24 year-old London resident and OYSU-member that invited to participate in the “unveil genocide event”.
The majority of the 8-10 million population are ethnic Somalis whose Ogaadeni clan ties extend to major parts of Somalia and Kenya. According, a comment from Somalilandpress visitor whom introduced himself as Jamal, “the more they continue oppressing the Somali people in the Somali region of Ethiopia, the more resentment towards Ethiopia among the Somali ethnics around the world. Such resentment will continue infuriating the Somali ethnics in everywhere.”
“Political solution is only viable when the right to self-determination be granted to the Somali people of the Ogaden since it is (Ogaden Conflict) one of the long-standing conflicts of Africa and has been the epicenter of horn of Africa conflict”, said Abdi-Aziz Ali, US-based OYSU foreign secretary.
Ethiopia which is the poorest nation on the planet at the same time has the largest military in Africa has been waging a bloody battle with ONLF and has been increasing its military presence in the ogaden region time after time believing that it can defeat ONLF militarily and the group’s Army wing(ONLA) would fade away quietly, but due to lack of knowledge of the terrain the military’s no chance of winning brings more frustration to Addis Ababa, what’s reality truly biting!
The Ethiopian government forcibly recruited young men aged between 15-25 from Ogaden region mostly street children that drink alcohol, sniff glue and don’t spare a single soul even members of their own families be it accused of being supporter of ONLF or not.
People in the Ogaden region say, when they saw that they (Liyu Police) does not save their crops and their lives, “illegal drug or heroin are injected in the Liyu police militias right after their 6-months training completion that made them unconscious for their actions”. But The former Liyu police defector,Captain Hassan Aafo,who notified that he narrowly escaped suicide during his fight against ONLF believes differently.
“The political system of the Ethiopian appointed administration itself is, and until it is changed nothing good can be expected”, Said Captain Hassan.
As for ONLF, which its number grows, “there is no big and small but there is only power, and the real power is not material but spirit, as the group’s die-hard supporters say (Itoobiya waa laan gabi ka lu’lata) which means the dissolution and the collapse of Ethiopia is near and/or “Itoobiya waa qori xar galay”, which can be translated, “Ethiopia is a tiger paper”.
The group believes that it can gain the Ogaden Independence through army struggle as the case of Eritrea or through dialogue for holding UN backed referendum as the case of South Sudan which many people knowing Ethiopian plots have no good faith of it or has a little hope.
Eritrea and South Sudan inspired Somali people of Ogaden region and they believe that they can follow the same fate of these nations hoping to be the newest country of Africa sometime to come.
Eritrea which has the toughest army in Africa won its independence after a hard fought 30-year-struggle against Ethiopian occupation.
The occupied-Ogaden region has been experiencing over so many years of suffering from excessive Ethiopian regimes that leave no stone unturned to oppress the Somali population of Ogaden region to refrain from demanding secession.
“It’s necessary to find a way to stop it because the Ogaden people have been suppressed and violated for long enough. Youth for human rights wish for the Ogaden people over the holiday period.”,’A civilization without insanity, without criminals and without wars, were the able can prosper and the honest beings can have rights, and were man is free to rise to greater heights quoting this wisdom from L. Ron Hubbard’s best-selling book titled “Dianetics” said, Maurithus Meiring, a sympathetic South African activist from Pretoria and the Director of Public affairs of the Youth for Human Rights.
OYSU leadership and members of OYSU are working hard to make a positive change since its mission is clear to many The Question is,does the OYSU’s fresh energy and effort will continue (as it is started) for the years to come or until it achieves its goal? Time will tell.
I think, OYSU is a torch we as Somalis from Ogaden region must carry, however, the level of effort required to make known the Ogaden genocide to the rest of the World is too far limited even though the Ogaden Somali Community in South Africa has filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC), urging an investigation into the actions of the Ethiopian government against the Ogaden people.
The move did not proceeded but Swedish Persecutors are investigating a shocking footage containing 100-hours of filmed-evidence smuggled out Abdullahi Hussein, a former civil servant that defected to Sweden.
The investigation began after a lawyer at the International Commission of Jurist, Stellan GÃ¤rde, handed over the films to Swedish Prosecutors.
From regional to International: Ogaden Youth and Students Union held conferences around the Globe amid to draw the international attention what the Organisation says,”The Forgotten Genocide in Ogaden region”.A region banned humanitarian agencies and the International media to have an access in part of hiding the atrocities committed at Ogaden Region by the Ethiopian Army and its allied Militia.
Ogaden Youth and Students Union occasionally holds conferences with local and International NGOs,Human Rights activists in part of advocating for human rights and holds annual event:Cultural festival at which the OYSU members display exhibitions:artistic achievements,Ogaden dishes,traditional utensils worth to mention eating utensils such as wooden spoons,plates itc and of course,perform Ogaden traditional dancing which is due to 25 Dec to show the World What makes Somalis from Ogadenia,Ogadenians.
One of the last great events of OYSU took place in South Africa and they had a conference with members from Youth For Human Rights,South Africa and they are planning to hold in United Kingdom and Canada within these Month.
“The OYSU has taught me about strength,a nation that have been suppressed for long and still has the will to be free.Youth for Human Rights South Africa supports OYSU Organisation and will continue to tell the people about the Ogaden Situation and are looking forward to work with Ogaden Youth and Students Union in the Future”,said Maurithus Meiring,The Director of Public affairs of the Youth for Human Rights That is based in South Africa.
Ogaden Youth and Students Union or OYSU has thousands of activities around the Globe and has 42 diplomatic missions around the World. Social Media empowered the Organisation and it took advantage both the advanced technology and the term of Global village.They arrange meetings via Teleconference and/or Skype Conference.
“We believe that youths are the backbone of every society on earth and we play our role for educational awareness programs as you know we say, “Education is light” and we interact with the youths almost any country that we have an Office.”,said Abdi Jamal Abdullahi Mohammed, The Information Secretary of OYSU in an email response.
UN recognizes the value of the youth and that’s why the body established Global Youth Umbrella it is a force that can be used both negative and positive sides,moreover when they voluntarily connect each other in a global manner they can achieve many things-for volunteering a noble cause.
“I definitely think we have the passion and potential to create some peaceful positive change that we need in this world”,Said Mr. Mohammed
Established in Denmark in June 27th, 2010,The Ogaden Youth and Students Union or OYSU is a non-governmental,non-profit Organisation as the name refers to OYSU consists of youth educators around the Globe that their mission is to advocate for the rights of the youth, Students, children in diaspora and in Ogaden Region as well as promoting and advocating for justice,Freedom and a lasting peace in Ogaden Region
OYSU members highlighted the human rights abuses being committed at oil-rich yet impoverished Ogaden Region which, borders Djibouti,Oromia, Kenya and Somalia and many of its residents are ethnic Somali Muslims. The region was Italian and British-colony, but in 1954, Britain handed over the region secretly to Ethiopia, a decision rejected by the Ogaden Somali population who have since fought for full independence.
After years of human rights abuses in Ogaden region without international independent investigation,Ogaden region seems to finally have a good news story.Sweden will be the first European country that is investigating what Swedish Prosecutors say a serious human rights abuses committed at Ogaden region.
“I absolutely welcome the good news of holding those who committed the atrocities and human rights abuses in occupied-Ogaden responsible”,said Mohammed Hared, a 31 year-old Somali activist and an active member of Ogaden Youth and Students Union,OYSU-North America.
Established in Denmark in June 27th, 2010,The Ogaden Youth and Students Union or OYSU is a non-governmental,non-profit Organisation as the name refers to OYSU consists of youth educators around the Globe that their mission is advocate for the rights of the youth, Students, children in diaspora and in Ogaden Region as well as promoting and advocating for justice,Freedom and a lasting peace in Ogaden Region
Early of this year,the Organization extended its role and waged a campaign to draw the attention of the International Community what it says “The Ignored Hidden Genocide in Ogaden” in the last couple of years. Two great events are about to held in South Africa and North America betweenNovember 27 and 29.
Despite well-documented evidences by the Rights Groups, the Ethiopia Government has been denying any wrong doing for the last 7-8 years when it times to human rights abuses committed at Ogaden region,but now nothing is ever hidden from the International Community.
“I don’t really think the atrocities committed at Ogaden have ever been hidden from the international community.It is just that many countries around the World chose to ignore the plight of the Somali people in occupied-Ogaden”, said Mr. Hared,in an email response.
Rights groups such as Human Rights Watch,Amnesty International, and Genocide Watch have been collecting a large number of testimonies for the war crimes and crimes against humanity”
Documenting and recording for Evidence after evidence of rapes,detentions,tortures,and extra-judicially killings of the civilians as well as villages razing to the ground by the Ethiopian Army and the notorious paramilitary force known as Liyu Police.
Now an Ogadeni whistle blower,Abdullahi Hussein,that is making very difficult to Ethiopia to keep hiding such human rights violations against Somalis in the Ogaden region has defected to Sweden bringing what he says is over 100 hours of filmed evidence. Stellan GÃ¤rde is a lawyer at international commission of jurists. He says Swedish authorities can take action based on the material.
It has come a time that International prosecutors are now following up the case.The Preliminary inquiry about serious crimes against international law was started on the 24th of October.
Swedish Prosecutors are currently working on particular cases-and frequently asking questions for the victims of the notorious Liyu Police,Militia, Ethiopian Army,Regional administration,and judiciary (federal or regional).
Hence,the prosecutors started to talk to more Somalis from Ogaden Region that have specific points of interest on certain issues.And those have some particular cases-very bad experiences,interesting,or an usual will collaborate with the Court.
The Regional Commentators believe that the investigation will likely to be brought in front of Justice all those involved in the case including in the Ethiopian appointed Chief Abdi Mohammoud Omar known as Abdi iley,his vice Chairman Abdullahi Yusuf werar aka Abdullahi Ethiopia, General Abraha Waldo and Alias Quarter who are a close ally of Abdi Iley.
The Oil-rich Ogaden Region is home to 8-10 million ethnic Somali pastoralists,and it borders Djibouti, Kenya and Somalia.The region was Italian and British-colony, but in 1954, Britain handed over the region secretly to Ethiopia, a decision rejected by the Ogaden Somali population who have since fought for full independence.
The Ethiopian ruling party,Tigrayan Peoples Liberation Front or TPLF favors the old-aged policy based on divide-and-rule that so often dominates not only the politics of Ethiopian highlanders but the Somalia politics as well.But Since Ethiopian dictator Ato Meles Zenawi passed away the TPLF found in itself an uncomfortable position when it comes to shifting a new direction to the regional politics -and modern politics.
The Tigray’s vision introduced so many problems that made the entire map and ethnic groups to distrust each other because of the TPLF’s decision.
Ethiopian authority built the Statue of Somali warrior,Mullah Mohammed Abdulle Hassan in Jigjiga,Is it a joke? No,It is not a joke,but why? The pressing question on the minds of many Somali historians is,does Ethiopia want to see the same man that resisted its occupation of the Somali soil of Ogaden Region be honored in Jigjiga which is still under its authority?
The same Somali hero that constantly waged a war against Abyssinian, fake Ethiopian highlanders? We somalis say,”La jiifiyaana banaan” which roughly translated two-way street.Ethiopian politicians do not want the school children in Jigjiga to study the history of the pious Mohammed Abdulle Hassan and to memories the poems that refer how evil are the Abyssinian highlanders, as the Somali politicians don’t like to learn the history of Menelik, the conqueror.
All that is understandable,Ethiopia is going to say that the great Somali hero,patriot Sayid Mohammed Abdulle Hassan was an Ethiopian nationalist that fought against European Colony mainly great Britain and Italy,a term which may our young generations that don’t read their history will easily accept without consideration.
The Puppet Regional administration is helping Ethiopia to loot the statue of Sayid Mohammed Abdulle Hassan without the consent of the Somali people merely for the benefit of their certain interests.I’d like to inform them that history differentiate the bad ones from good ones,Somalis say, “Waan baahanahay loo ma bakhti cuno” which roughly translated , Do not eat the body(corpse) because you are hungry.
When was asked Menelik the border of his nation by the European-which Abyssinia was part of colonies -said vigorously, “The Indian sea” meant Somalia Sea and when further asked, what about Somalis,he said boastfully,”They (Somalis) are my livestock herders”.Till today,Menelik’s vision is revived ten times a day in Ethiopian political life.
That’s why Ethiopia always attempts to influence the Somalia’s political affairs or internal Somalia politics. As it is the case now,Somalia will never ever stand its feet as long as Ethiopia’s silence occupations exists inside Somalia.
Ethiopia invaded Somalia in 2006 militarily with the help of United States but was dragged in the streets and defeated in the hands of Somali resistances.
There was rumors that Former Derg President,Mingiste Haile Marriam congratulated Meles Zewani of TPLF that he did impossible mission for walking the streets of Mugdisho, with his army.
Ethiopia has always been a big bad neighbor of Somalia and will always be as long as Ogaden region is under Ethiopian colony.To avoid a bomb that can explode anytime in the near future the people of the Ogaden region must be allowed to decide their own fate by holding UN-backed Referendum.
Ahmed Abdi Continue reading