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Somali region ruling party in turmoil

Months after a relative political stability and in the aftermath of the removal of its President Abdi Illey, Somali Regional Stateis once again experiencing another political feud with the potential to disrupt the stability of the Region, The Reporter has learnt.

The quarrel within the ruling party of the region has been ongoing, butit burst-out this week when the region, ruled by its interim President Mustafa Omer, decided to remove five officials including GuledAwo, Communication Bureau Head and Ahmed Abdi, a.k.a AbdiHakim who was briefly assigned to lead the region after Abdi Illey resigned from his post.

Guled was also working as a Political Division Head of Ethiopian-Somali Peoples’ Democratic Party (ESPDP) where AbdiHakim was serving as an advisor to the President Mustafa as well as head of ESPDP Office.

Following their removal, the officials were detained and questioned by the police.

According to sources, “they are now released and put under a house arrest”.

The division within the party mainly revolved around disagreement over the appointment of officials in the Region, The Reporterhas learnt.

A group led by those who are now removed from their posts as a member of the regional cabinet members had disagreements with the group led by President Mustafa, sources told The Reporter. And to that end, both are trading accusations for compromising security and peace of the region.

“We have openly expressed our deviation that some of the newly appointed officials both at Zonal and Wereda levels are not eligible for the position,” Guled told The Reporter over the phone, just a few hours before he was reportedly arrested.

“Some of those who are now serving at different posts including Zonal and Wereda level security establishments have links with groups outside the ruling party of the region which we believe is a security risk for both the region and the country,” he added.

The aforementioned group was said to have reported their concerns to the federal government.

Furthermore, the group led by Mustafa was also accusing those within the regional party for letting individuals who were parts of Abdi Illey’s administration, and suspected of committing crimes, to come to power and assume posts. 

Days after the division within the party was reported, Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) issued a statement accusing elements in the federal government of trying to interfere with the matters concerning the region.

“The Somali people in the Somali regional state (Ogaden) have a legal right to manage their political affairs and full self-rule upheld both by the Ethiopian constitution and international law,” said ONLF in its statement. 

“ONLF calls for both the ruling party and the federal government to respect the wishes and dignity of the Somali people and cease from any acts that could jeopardize the stability and the well-being of the Somali regional state and its people,” reads the statement.

Moreover, JemalDirie, an advisor to President Mustafa accused officials within the federal government including Ahmed Shideof trying to oust Mustafa Omer from power, in recent interview held with a web-based program called Andafata.

The Reporter’s effort to talk to Ahmed regarding the accusation bore no fruit as he was not reachable by phone.

In the meantime, Mustafa is reportedly in Addis to discuss the matter with Prime Minister Abiy.