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Ethiopia can’t be trusted to respect rights of any political opponent – Rights Group

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Be they internal or external, Ethiopia is no respecter of its political opponents, a Geneva-based rights group has said.

The African Rights Monitor (ARM) group was reacting to the controversial refoulement of Somalian ‘freedom fighter’ Abdikarin Sh. Muse, who was handed over to Ethiopian authorities weeks back.

A statement released by the group on Thursday called for his immediate release and return to Somalia arguing that aside Mogadishu’s breach of international law, they had handed him to a regime known for its highhandedness when it comes to dealing with opponents.

Ethiopia is known to be a country, where freedom and justice is not guaranteed any dissident or political opponent. Mr Abdikarin risks torture and a summary execution.
“Ethiopia is known to be a country, where freedom and justice is not guaranteed any dissident or political opponent. Mr Abdikarin risks torture and a summary execution,” the statement said. It further chastised a purported enemy transfer agreement between the two governments describing it as ‘very alarming.’

The group to which Abdikarin belongs – the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) – issued a statement weeks back confirming social media reports of his transfer. The decision sparked outrage in the country bedeviled by Al-Shabaab insurgents.

Despite ONLF describing itself as a liberation group of the Ogaden region, Ethiopia insists that the group is a terrorist organization and by extension, its members are terrorists. Addis Ababa, however, said Abdikarin carries an Ethiopian passport and voluntarily opted to return, claims his family strongly denied.

Whiles accusing Mogadishu of breaching national and international laws, the ONLF in its statement echoed similar sentiments as that of the ARM that ‘the Somali government has forcefully transferred a political refugee to Ethiopia which is known to torture and humiliate its opponents.’

“It has been intimated that Mr. Abdikarin was sacrificed in order ti get political support from the Ethiopian regime. The Ethiopian ambassador to Somalia who is a close relative of the Prime Minister and in-law to the Somali president played a key role in brokering the deal,” the statement said.

ONLF describes itself as “a national liberation organisation that struggles for the rights of the Somali people in Ogaden and has no involvement whatsoever in Somalia’s multifaceted conflict at all.”

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Briefing Room

Diplomatic leaks: UAE dissatisfied with Saudi policies

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AL JAZEERA — Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed (MbZ) is working on breaking up Saudi Arabia, leaked documents obtained by Lebanese newspaper Al Akhbar revealed.

Al Akhbar said that the leaked documents contained secret diplomatic briefings sent by UAE and Jordanian ambassadors in Beirut to their respective governments.

One of the documents, issued on September 20, 2017, disclosed the outcome of a meeting between Jordan’s ambassador to Lebanon Nabil Masarwa and his Kuwaiti counterpart Abdel-Al al-Qenaie.

“The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed is working on breaking up the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the Jordanian envoy quoted the Kuwait ambassador as saying.

A second document, issued on September 28, 2017, reveals meeting minutes between the Jordanian ambassador and his UAE counterpart Hamad bin Saeed al-Shamsi.

The document said the Jordanian ambassador informed his government that UAE believes that “Saudi policies are failing both domestically and abroad, especially in Lebanon”.

“The UAE is dissatisfied with Saudi policies,” the Jordanian envoy said.

The Qatar vote
According to the leaks, UAE ambassador claims that Lebanon voted for Qatar’s Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kawari in his bid to become head of UNESCO in October 2017.

“[Lebanese Prime Minister Saad] Hariri knew Lebanon was voting for Qatar,” the UAE ambassador said in a cable sent to his government on October 18, 2017.

In November last year, Hariri announced his shock resignation from the Saudi capital Riyadh.

He later deferred his decision, blaming Iran and its Lebanese ally in Lebanon, Hezbollah, for his initial resignation. He also said he feared an assassination attempt.

Officials in Lebanon alleged that Hariri was held hostage by Saudi authorities, an allegation Hariri denied in his first public statement following his resignation speech.

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Somalia’s Puntland region asks UAE to stay as Gulf split deepens

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BOSASO, Somalia (Reuters) – Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland region urged the United Arab Emirates not to close its security operations in the country after a dispute with the central government, saying the Gulf power was a key ally in the fight against Islamist militants.

The dispute goes to the heart of an increasingly troubled relationship between Gulf states – divided by their own disputes – and fractured Somalia, whose coastline sits close to key shipping routes and across the water from Yemen.

Analysts have said the complex standoff risks exacerbating an already explosive security situation on both sides of the Gulf of Aden, where militant groups launch regular attacks.

The central Somali government said on Wednesday it was taking over a military training program run by the UAE.

Days later the UAE announced it was pulling out, accusing Mogadishu of seizing millions of dollars from a plane, money it said was meant to pay soldiers.

“We ask our UAE friends, not only to stay, but to redouble their efforts in helping Somalia stand on its feet,” said the office of the president of Puntland, a territory that sits on the tip of the Horn of Africa looking out over the Gulf of Aden.

Ending UAE support, “will only help our enemy, particularly Al Shabaab and ISIS (Islamic State),” it added late on Monday.

SUSPICION, RESENTMENT

The UAE is one of a number of Gulf powers that have opened bases along the coast of the Horn of Africa and promised investment and donations as they compete for influence in the insecure but strategically important region.

That competition has been exacerbated by a diplomatic rift between Qatar and a bloc including the UAE. In turn, those splits have worsened divisions in Somalia.

Puntland, which has said it wants independence, has sought to woo the UAE which runs an anti-piracy training center there and is developing the main port. The central government in Mogadishu last year criticized Puntland for taking sides in the Gulf dispute. Qatar’s ally Turkey is one of Somalia’s biggest investors.

One Somali government official said last week Mogadishu had decided to take over the UAE operation because the Gulf state’s contract to run it had expired. Another official said the government was investigating the money taken from the plane.

The competition among Gulf states in Somalia has fueled accusations of foreign interference and resentment in many corners of Somali society.

The loss of the UAE program could have a destabilizing effect, said one security analyst, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“The value of the UAE trained forces was two-fold – they were relatively well trained but, most importantly, they were paid on time,” unlike other parts of the security forces, the analyst told Reuters.

Somalia has been mired in conflict since 1991.

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Puntland President calls UAE continue its mission in Somalia

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