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Abiy's Ethiopia and 'free fall' of Abdi Iley, ex-Somali regional prez

The latest installment on Abdi Mohammed Omer, the former powerful regional president of Ethiopia’s eastern Somali Regional State, SRS, is formal laying of criminal charges against him and over 40 others.

The Attorney General’s office confirmed on Wednesday that the man also known as Abdi Iley was to face charges arising from months of investigation into his conduct in the region.

He is however only one of six people who are being held in detention – main charge of inciting violence – pending the next hearing scheduled for the first week of February 2016.

When Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office in early April 2018 with the key promises of undertaking reforms it was not known how long he would go especially with high profile officials.

Abiy’s assurances on respecting human rights and freedoms have since seen concrete results chiefly amongst them that all political prisoners have been released and for the first time in over a decade, there was no journalist jailed for their work, according to Reporters Without Borders 2018 report.

The Prime Minister’s first internal visit was to the then restive regional state’s capital Jigjiga where he met with top officials of the region including then president Abdi Iley.

His regime had routinely been accused of crass human rights abuse which according to human rights watch included torture, rape and killings. The regional paramilitary Liyu Police were cited as the main vehicle of repression.

Beyond the SRS, reports indicated that the Liyu Police were also complicit in cross border clashes with the Oromia regional State which incidents led to deaths and massive displacements.

Then came August 2018 when federal forces were deployed to Jijiga to secure the region and to arrest the regional president. A constitutional back and forth popped up but was sorted to allow federal forces to act. Read more...

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