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Ethiopia arrests Moderate Somali Islamist officials

By Shafi’i Mohyaddin
Saturday, April 26, 2014

Mogadishu (HOL) - Ethiopia has jailed at least five officials belonging to the moderate Somali Islamist group of Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama’a along the border between Somalia and Ethiopia on suspicions that they have relations with ONLF rebels.

Reports obtained by HOL indicate that the officials were intercepted by Ethiopian border security while they were on a work trip to areas along the border.

The detained officials include Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama’a's Security Chief in the Guri El district Muse Moalim, a medical worker Dr. Rashiid and as well as the civil service department chief Mumin Mohamed Heefow.

A local radio Galgaduud journalist Abdulkader Gure Barre who was travelling with the officials is also in custody. The officials were arrested late on Friday and were transferred to a jail inside Ethiopia.

Ethiopia said that the officials were first arrested on suspicions that they have relations with ONLF, but said they later found out the men had no ties to the rebel group although they are still under investigation.

A moderate Islamist official in the region who was contacted by HOL confirmed the arrest of his colleagues, but said he was not going to give more details and demanded not to be named.

However, the federal government  of Somalia and AMISOM were not yet available for comment.

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