Ethnic cleansing of Somali people from western Sitti leads to closure of the key corridor connecting Djibouti

Ethnic cleansing of Somali people from western Sitti leads to closure of the key corridor connecting Djibouti

As ethnic cleansing and displacement of Somalis from western Sitti continues unabated, Somalis are beginning to revolt on the border between the Afar and Somali areas, where the Ethio-Djibouti highway passes through. Truck drivers en route to Dire Dawa-Djibouti are reported to be unable to move to either side of the highway.

Over the course of the last five years, thousands of ethnic Somalis have been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced in Western Sitti zone, primarily Garbaciise, Aditu, Undufo and Danlahelay. It also being reported by the Somalis of Sitti zone that the Afar forces along with the ENDF have crossed into Somali territory for more than more 100 square KMs.

Sitti is located in northeast of Ethiopia and northwest of Somali Regional State. It lies on the essential highway that connects Addis Ababa to the Djibouti port. The Chinese built modern Addis-Djibouti railway line which serves as passageway to 95% of Ethiopia’s exports and imports also passes through Sitti plains. Due to this geographic importance, the indigenous Somali population experienced waves of repeated mass atrocities and all forms of human right abuses, including multiple genocides since 1948 when Haile Selassie annexed the Somali region.

It is alleged that Ethiopia’s ENDF Chief of Staff, backed Afar Special Police units, participated in the ethnic cleansing of Somalis from the region.

The Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) are heavily involved in the ethnic cleansing of Somalis carried out by the Afar paramilitary in Western Sitti of the Somali Region of Ethiopia. According to reliable sources, the ENDF chief of staff is directly involved and has ordered units of ENDF to assist the Afar paramilitary groups in occupying the Somali territory and forcibly displacing ethnic Somali civilians.

Under the watchful of the federal government, the ENDF as such is alleged to be complicit in the killing and displacement of ethnic Somali. It is also alleged that the Federal government of Ethiopia is offering Somali territories to the Afar Regional State in exchange for their support and contributions during the Tigray war.

Ethiopia’s lifeline road to Djibouti blocked 

Truck drivers on the road connecting Djibouti and Ethiopia told Zehabasha media (local media) that the road is closed by the ENDF. They said, “when we have about 40 Km left to cross from Aisha city to Djibouti, the road has been closed since 11:30 PM and we are standing in a forest of truck drivers. The road from Djibouti to Dire Dawa or from Dire Dawa to Djibouti has been closed since.”

Somali protesters blocking this key road are being reported to have said, “we will use any means necessary to defend our ancestral land and protect it from the allied forces of the ENDF and Afar paramilitary forces. The main supply route (both road and train) connecting Ethiopia to Djibouti will be closed and it will not reopen until these invading forces vacate our territory and allow us to return to our homes, and also the criminals responsible for these crimes against humanity are brought to justice.”

Isse Tribe Traditional Leader

Mustafe Mohamed Ibrahim, the supreme traditional leader of Isse tribe, has accused the Ethiopian government of deliberate and planned ethnic cleansing against the Somali people and committing genocide. He said, “previously, for the past five years, we had our suspicions that the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) have participated in the massacre and displacement of Somali people; but today, it has became clear to us that it is the Federal Government of Ethiopia that has massacred and displaced our people, and in the process have looted their properties.”

Ugaas Mustafe added, “what is happening in Western Sitti of the Somali region is a systematic ethnic cleansing & eviction undertaken by the government of Ethiopia. This has nothing to do with the Afar people.”

Ugaas Mustafe Mohamed Ibrahim, supreme leader of Isse clan, accused the government of Ethiopia of undertaking ethnic cleansing against the Somali people, a deliberate plan led by its military generals to displace Somalis from western Sitti. Speaking in public for the first time he appealed to the Somali people and said, “we have previously been displaced from the land of our ancestors, from Cundhufo to Garbaciise. Today we are in Casbuli, and they aren’t done yet. They want to expel us from here too. I appeal to the Somali people and I warn them to know that this is a deliberate Ethiopian government policy. When they are done with us, they are coming for you.”

Daljir Media | Contributed by Daljir reporters in Jigjiga, Casbuli and Djibouti


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