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An Abominable Act by the Secessionist Enclave

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Ali Geeleh
Monday, October 22, 2007

Once again, the secessionist enclave based in Hargeisa has gone out of their way to show their total contempt for Somalis other than those who belong to the heartland of the secessionist administered area. This time, they have shamelessly traded in kidnapped innocent Somalis from the Ogaden in order to endear themselves to their Ethiopian masters. For them, scoring points against their equally servile competitors in Somalia and Puntland and winning Ethiopia’s favours is worth any price including human trade. These hapless Somalis were in Hargeisa believing they were safe in a Somali territory which, notwithstanding its declared secession from Somalia, would nonetheless be true to core Somali and Islamic values and which could never go so low and embark on such unspeakable act.

It does not require much imagination to contemplate their fate in the hands of their Ethiopian enemy. Even if innocent, they will be meted out all the same the usual cruel and barbaric treatments for which Ethiopia’s prisons are famous. Sadly, their deaths in detention are distinct possibilities. If that happens, those in Hargeisa who sanctioned this treacherous act will have blood on their hands. They would be liable to tried for treason by a future Somali government that has control over the whole country and can impose its writ everywhere unlike the current toothless TFG.

More than anything else, what the secessionists have done this time exposes as sham their much-vaunted claim of practising democracy, maintaining peace, observing the rule of law and respecting fundamental human rights. This hogwash was always meant for the consumption of the outside world as good selling points for promoting Somaliland’s recognition. As it is, violations of basic human rights, entailing arbitrary arrests, prolonged detentions without trail and a supine judiciary system, had been the hallmark of the administration.

This revolting action by the Somaliland adminstration brings back memories of similar shocking cases. The barbaric and inhuman treatment a teenage girl named Samsam has left an indelible blot on Somaliland’s image. Her misfortune was to lose her way and find herself near the residence of the “Vice President”, something bizarrely considered a crime and meriting her immediate imprisonment as a suspected spy and her subjection to gang rape by the very people who were the custodians of the rule of law- law enforcement officers. An administration that would not spare an innocent little girl is less likely to care about anyone else considered alien and deemed defenceless. But the list of wronged people goes on.

While equality before the law is fundamental universal human rights standard, in the case of Somaliland, those who belong to dominant secessionist clans are more equal than those who hail from minority groups who are treated as second class citizens. Visiting Somali travellers or those in transit en route for other destinations are subjected to immediate detentions or on the spot deportations for being illegally what every other Somali and the international community recognise as their own territory. But it is the Ogadens who are singled out as fair game and sacrificial lamps to be fed to Ethiopia or regularly detained in order to gain points with the USA in the war on terror. Not surprisingly, these grave and rampant human rights violations and abuses had drawn the stinging rebuke of the Representative for Somalia of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

The Somaliland government did not even bother to go through the sham motions of bringing those kidnapped people before a court of law to face the charges against them. But that did not happen for the obvious reason that they had no case against them. As the secessionist supporting website, Somaliland.org, has reported, these men were innocent. This heinous crime could have serious consequences and may rekindle clan hostilities not to mention reprisals by the ONLF “Somalilanders” may be secessionists/Somalideed, but there are undoubtedly many decent people amongst them who would draw the line at not tolerating crimes by their administration against ordinary innocent Somalis, especially guests in their midst. It behoves them more than ever to raise their voice against this crime. Otherwise, silence can only be taken as condoning it.

Ali Geeleh

Email: [email protected]

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