Is Somali Region of Ethiopia Paying for Abdileey’s Crimes?

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By Kassim Haji Hussein Noor

The fire started by Abdi Illeey ( former president of Somali region), before he disgracefully relinquished power, is still smoldering underneath the surface. The fierce ethnic clashes that erupted between Oromo and Somalis and claimed so many innocent lives was the brainchild of a violent idiot ( Abdiileey) and his maters in the military, desperate to hang onto to power slipping through their fingers.

Arguably, the reason why the violence spontaneously flared up as soon Abdiileey’s murderous system collapsed was mainly retaliatory retribution unleashed on Somalis by emboldened but aggrieved Oromos.

The wave of violence and resentment may be cooling down. Unfortunately,  Somali region’s leadership and its people have to pick up the pieces — and have already paid a heavy price for Abdiileey’s heinous crimes. Those who say Abdiileey is a thing of the past, think twice. He might be decaying in prison, but his brutal legacy of violence, destruction, corruption, and misrule still cause pain and suffering to millions of people.

As peace and trust slowly return, Oromo and Somali region leaders MUST ask themselves hard questions of what went wrong and whether all those losses of lives and displacement could be prevented.Sadly, a new conflict is brewing up between Somali and Afar regions, two of the poorest regions in Ethiopia facing crippling humanitarian crises of their own.

This constant cycle of violence is a recipe for disaster in two predominately pastoralist regions whose nomadic population survival depends on the free movement of animals across borders to access water and pasture.

Afar and Somali pastoralist communities live in a fragile ecosystem with shaky resilience and livelihood systems. Any unnecessary conflict will rapidly increase their vulnerability to climate change shocks and result in loss people and livestock. If these two regions don’t make peace URGENTLY, they will be swallowed up by violence and further sink deep in poverty.

The rest of Ethiopia will never wait for poor neighbors busy killing each other.

Diverging and competing political views is the hallmark of the open and maturing political system. The danger is when competing political narratives cannot co-exist and one ethnic group tries to dominate others or differences are settled with ethnic violence or through the barrel of the gun.

Let all Ethiopians cherish their uniqueness, diversity and find strength in their ethnic, language, culture and geographic differences.

Peace is the best insurance against violence.