14 July 2018

Ethiopia: Ethio-Somali Region Releases Prisoners

The Ethio-Somali Regional State is said to have released prisoners convicted of different crimes who were former members of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), The Reporter has learnt.

There are only 15 prisoners who are members of the ONLF, Abdi Muhammed, president of the region told The Reporter. Later, the region said to have released those prisoners. According to him, there are now around 500 prisoners convicted or charged with killings, rape and other criminal activities.

Just a week ago, the House of People's Representatives decided to cancel three political groups including ONLF from its terrorist list. ONLF was among the five designated "terrorist" groups back in 2010 in line with the much controversial bill dubbed the Anti-terrorism Proclamation (Proc. 652/2009) while the groups called themselves "freedom fighters."

"We are happy that the federal government made the decision," Abdi told The Reporter, and we wish that the group will decide to operate peacefully.

"However, I am not sure if the group will see the action by the parliament as positive and use it positively," he said.

It is to be recalled that Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) is an ethnic based group that has been fighting for the secession of the Ethiopian Somali region. The group, following the extraction of the first crude oil two weeks ago, issued a statement that it is against the extraction of the resource from Ethio- Somali region.

Concerning, the oil and natural gas Abdi told The Reporter that the resource belongs to all Ethiopians and will contribute to the economy. The resource has to be properly managed, he said.

Furthermore, it can be recalled that the Ethiopian government also released Abdikarim Muse Qalbi Dhagah, a senior ONLF military commander that was transferred to Ethiopia from a Somali jail.

In a related news, the Ethio-Somali region have decided to transform its central correctional facility a.k.a. Jail Ogden into a Mosque.

The work to transform the facility into a mosque has already began and it will be finalized in the coming few months, Edris Ismael, communication head of the region told The Reporter.

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