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Edmonton man plays role in major peace deal between Ethiopia, Somali group

Ahmed Abdulkadir figured one of two things could happen when his plane touched down in Ethiopia.

Things might go according to plan: he would be greeted by supporters of the armed liberation movement who’d asked for his help negotiating peace with the Ethiopian government, and they would get to work.

Or, he might be thrown in jail.

“I was scared to death … going there,” said Abdulkadir, an Edmonton community organizer. “I did not know what to expect. I was expecting as soon as I land, the security would come and arrest me. In all honesty, that’s what I thought.”

In the end, it was option one, to help negotiate peace with the Ethiopian government.

Abdulkadir returned to Edmonton Saturday, weeks after a historic peace deal between Ethiopia and the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF). The deal, signed Oct. 21, marks the end of one of East Africa’s most enduring armed struggles.

Abdulkadir, executive director of Edmonton’s Ogaden Somali Community of Alberta Residents (OSCAR), was contacted by members of the ONLF in the summer, asking if he’d serve as a go-between in peace talks with the Ethiopian government.

It was the first time Abdulkadir has returned to Africa since he fled as a teenage refugee in 1991. He’s going back to the region in the next week for more negotiations. Read more...

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