ONLF Press Release Ethiopia’s mistreating of Somali prisoners is a factor in the struggle for Freedom
March 9, 2018

On February 22, 2018, the Ethiopian regime media splashed the pictures of hundreds of political prisoners raising their hands jailed in Jail Ogaden in Jigjiga, Ogaden and many other secret prisons all over Ethiopia. The Ethiopian government claimed it has released 1500 Somalis held as political prisoners due to their involvement with ONLF. Two senior ONLA Army commanders who were handed over by the warlord from the Galmudug region of Somalia were specifically placed in the front row. Relatives and all concerned heaved a sigh of relief expecting that prisoners who were maltreated and tortured to be finally free to join their loved ones.

Unfortunately, the Ethiopian government had other designs for the victims. First, several prisoners were paraded in front of the local regional TV in a degrading manner and forced to claim that they were wrong and were thanking the Ethiopian government to have educated them in prisons. This degrading treatment is a stark violation of the Universal declaration of human rights and Geneva convention and other international laws regarding the conduct of prisoners. Secondly, the Ethiopian government has informed the prisoners that they will be added into a new para-military forces that are being recruited from detainees all over Ethiopia in order to use them to quell protesters in Oromo and Amhara regions. Furthermore, they were instructed to call their wives and children in the refugee camps to be kept in Jigjiga as hostages in case their fathers decide to seek freedom.

The treatment of the Somali political prisoners is a stark contrast to how the other political prisoners from other nationalities in Ethiopia were treated. This is a clear indication that Somalis in Ethiopia are not considered to have the same rights as other Ethiopians and can be treated as subhuman.

ONLF condemns this appalling attempt to use victims as cannon fodder against other innocent civilians and holds responsible the highest level of the Ethiopian government for such illegal and inhumane act.

ONLF calls the international community to stand up for the rights of all peoples in Ethiopia and stop paying lip services to human rights and democracy while supporting a regime that can be classed as the cruelest and most ruthless that ever existed.

ONLF will continue fighting for the self-determination and full rights of the Somali people under Ethiopian rule and such discriminatory practices will strengthen the resolve of the Somali people to seek their rights with renewed vigour and unbending intent.

ONLF stands by the struggle of all peoples in Ethiopia for freedom, democracy and self-determination!

Somalis in Ogaden shall be free!

March 9, 2018


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