30 June 2018

Somalia: Govt Silent Over Qalbi Dhagah Release

Almost 48 hours into the release of Ethiopia's ONLF rebel leader Abdikarim Muse Qalbi Dhagah by the Addis authorities the Farmaajo administration is yet to comment on the man it extradited ten months ago.

There have been conflicting reports over who facilitated the release of the Ethio-Somali rebel leader.

On Saturday Ethiopia's Ambassador to Somalia Jamaludin Mustafa Omar told journalists in Mogadishu that the release of the ONLF leader official followed requests from the Somali government.

Ironically it is the Somalia government that had facilitated the extradition of the dissident leader.

ONLF officially issued a statement that conflicted that of Ambassador Omar. ONLF says that Qalbi Dhagah was released in a blanket pardon for Ethiopian political prisoners in the reforms introduced by the new Premier Abiy Ahmed.

A third version is that PM Abiy ordered for the release of Qalbi Dhagah after request by Jubbaland regional state President Ahmed Islam Madhoobe. PM Abiy had met Madhoobe on May 6 in Addis Ababa.

Qalbi Dhagah was renditioned from Somalia to Ethiopia on August 28 2017 by the Somalia government following an earlier agreement with Addis Ababa that designated the rebel leader as a "terrorist".

Farmaajo administration came under public criticism following the rendition.

A Parliament commission appointed to investigate the matter termed the rendition "illegal".

Over two thousand political prisoners have been released since Abiy replaced HaileMariam Desalegn as the Prime Minister in April.

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