Ethiopia: Why do Somali People of Ogaden State Demand for Independence from Ethiopia?
“Injustice in the end produces independence.” whoever coined this phrase is right. As Ogaden state is bleeding because of demanding Independence from Ethiopian occupation.
Ethiopia does not provide a quality education, proper health care for all, and Ethiopia does not respect for human rights and the rule of law in the Ogaden state.Moreover, Somali people in Ogaden state are second-citizens in their soil, there have never been equality and justice in Ogaden state.
The BBC’s Elizabeth Blunt, who had a rare access to the region reported:
“An elderly goat herder, beside himself with indignation, launching a diatribe in front of a senior local official. He had lost two sons, he said, fighting for Ethiopia against Eritrea. And now the soldiers come to his village, chase everyone out and burn their houses, and then have the effrontery to tell him he is not a true Ethiopian.”
They, Somali people in Ogaden, realized that the Ethiopian government is denying them every basic thing that a human soul needed to survive including clean water, sanitation and schooling except few individuals who spy on their relatives and abide by its ethnic cleansing in the Ogaden state .
New York Times’s Jeffrey Gentlemen conducted an interview with an ONLF fighter that joined ONLF five years ago at that time,who said in a response when he was asked why did he join ONLF:
” I could not sit back and watch when I realized that no education, no health services, no development, and children don’t go to school.I knew there were problems.” The Somali people in Ogaden State, who have long been exploited by the successive four Ethiopian regimes,Menelik II, Haile Selassie, Mengistu Haile Mariam, and Meles Zenawi, do not share Abyssinia (Ethiopia) with language, religion, Ethnicity, culture. You name it, they share nothing with Abyssinian (Ethiopian) Highlanders.
The Abyssinian (Ethiopian) highlanders (Tigray and Amhara) have always been patrolled and stationed more than 30 military garrisons in Ogaden state in part of controlling it. According to Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Genocide Watch, The Ethiopian military and its allied militia of Liyu police kill ,detain,torture and rape the Somali pastoralists and commit war crimes and crimes against humanity.The Ethiopian government also banned the International media and aid agencies to enter the Somali region of Ogaden.
The army and the Liyu Police,militia slaughter villagers like animals in part of its counterinsurgency campaign as it happened recently many villages in Ogaden state. Ethiopia has been marginalizing the entire 8-10 million Somali Muslims in Ogaden ever since the British colony handed over the Ogaden territory to the Abyssinian empire without their consent in 1954. The Ethiopian government exploits the natural resources of the region and imposed (Gibbir) tax payments on people, land and livestock .( Gibbir is understood as a form of “tax” forcefully collected from the non-Abyssinian populations.)
The oppression that exists in Shinile Jigjiga Dagahbur, Fiiq,Wardher,Korahe,Gode,Afder and Liban has forced the people to think on their own in order to choose their own fate of self-determination. If Ogaden is given every thing, there is no other option rather than full Independence.
Moreover, the example of Eritrea offers hope to many Somalis that the lasting peace and prosperity can happen only after full Independence. Eritrea, which has the toughest army in Africa won its independence after a hard fought 30-year-struggle against Abyssinian (Ethiopian) occupation.
After decades of marginalization and killings by Ethiopian occupiers, the People of Ogaden won’t settle other than total Independence
By Ahmed Abdi