A Somali play writer, once lamented What can we heal a sickened medicine, the same is when an international institution assigned to serve impartiality turned into a money making machine and a biased organization intends to lead the entire society to the interest of special group. Human right watch unveiled to the Somalis a secret that in the past was confined to political corridors. It is not uncommon to see an allegation report released by human right report. Source include former members of anti peace elements who committed massive violence but the government was pardoned, NGO failed to achieve their personal interest, Some of these organizations certainly have their own interest and political agenda and make little secret of their political motives. As former Somali scholar named Hussein who passed away stated Somalis are divided into clans that weaker their unity but when outsiders come probability to unite is high. So I thank to human right watch and pay brokers for their stance to tarnish Somali regional state because it served as a medicine we have been searching for long time.
Source they have used is a video recorded some eight years from now. It was a peer evaluation session whose objective was evaluating how soldiers treat prisoners. Soldiers appeared on the video are not liyou police, even the uniform they wore is different than the liyou police uniform. At the time of that video, those soldiers who failed or committed was arrested others were fired. Unfortunately human right watch always uses the three minute record video as a tool to spread baseless allegations against the region. Recording video and displaying publicly was one of the strategies employed by Somali regional state to ensure the democratic rights and human rights of prisoners and the government is committed to monitor and evaluate how soldiers perform their duties of preserving prisoners. If the government was involved disrespect business of human right would the record videos and display publicly? The answer is expected from the human right watch.
I find it supremely naïve to imagine that a report with such an overdose of insult and baseless allegation escaped the attention the neutral body. What has become mindboggling is that, human right watch didn’t carried out fact findings exactly. it will looks hasty judgmental to make criticism at this foundational stage on the democratic building of Somali region.
To come at the context of the report it contains three allegations. The first allegation is: torture and punishments carried out by special force of the region, the second allegation is regarded the basic services like education and health in central jail of Somali region and the third and last one is justice deny. I would like address one by one the false and fabrication allegations issued by human right watch.
Source of the report of human right that they use as evidence was answers they have obtained from 100 interviewed people, claims as former prisoners but not clear. It is very worthy to declare hidden secret about the interviewed persons. They are about three types
- Former anti peace element who deported to Kenya after they have defeated. To be honest with you, someone who took the gun and committed mayhem killings against elders for the purpose of achieving the goal of the organization has no problem to spread fake information’s. When they are defeated at the battle they embarked other mechanisms to realize their separation mission. One of these tools is claiming a baseless allegation against the region.
- A group of people who are with disagreement with the government. It is very familiar to see a group of people whose blame is none but only a prejudice against the top leader who does not belong the some clan with them
- Bribed people from dhadhab refugee camp of Kenya, organized by political elites. Politician believes an ideology that saying goes politics is art of possibility. Since they are very motive for political interest they always set some strategies to turn the attention of others to the government.
Special force of the region
Especial force best known liyou police is enacted on behalf of police proclamation. Responsibilities and duties assigned for liyou police is clear. One of the main task of liyou police is to defend the region from the anti peace elements and safeguarding of border areas. Administering jails is not the role of liyou police and carried out that job. To know what liyou police force did for Somali region, it is very important to look back the history of the region before the formation of liyou police. Somali region was one of the human abattoir areas where anti peace elements made their home. Killings, torture, rape, looting and burning down of public institution like schools, hospitals carried out by anti peace elements of ONLF is documented. Bombing and targeted killings was a norm. It was impossible to travel 30 km from jijiga without military convey. People of the region had been suffering Impoverished life resulted by security problems, even humanitarian organization could not able to deliver aid foods to the people. Somewhere in goljano district named malqaqa village is where anti peace elements burned down the two cars owned by WFP and killed four staffs of WFP.
I think determining of self-defense and liberating your home from anti peace elements like ONLF who are killing even those who spared from the spear is the right direction as USA fights alqeada terrorist network to save the life of USA citizens.
With collaboration of the elders, women, intellectuals and youth groups of Somali region, the regional government decided to establish special police force aka liyou police whose assignment is liberating the region from anyone who is violating the peace and order of the region. Within short period of time Ethiopian Somali region has gained tremendous achievements in areas of security and development. Armed forces of ONLF were defeated and both urban and rural areas of the region become as many urban and rural areas of the world. A new life of peace and prosperous was begun, as I have stated an article titled special force of somali region, as a contributor of regional development published on various websites. The radical change and steady progress that we see today in Somali region is the by-product of liyou police. Like other million Ethiopian Somalis I consider liyou police as an agent of change.
To conclude blaming liyou police on carrying out torture and punishment is a fabricated and quite false allegation. It is a baseless and lopsided view which the ears of the people of Somali will not accept. To cite a concrete example that i can identify how the allegation of human right watch is far away from the fact. Central jails of the region, is not controlled by liyou police nor have a role in the affairs of jails. Responsible organization that runs the affairs of the jail is a Police force enacted for only preserving prisoner’s affairs. Millions of birr is allocated for the daily operations like-food, education, health, hygiene and other services related to betterment of prisoners.
Allegation’s related to the basic services like education and health services.
Based on source i have obtained from the prisoners released from the central jail, I personally recognize as a center of rehabilitation and building discipline of prisoners. Also it serves as a development institution that produces skilled men and women. Modern quality education, vocational trainings, learning Quran and hadith are all available inside central jail and prisoners benefited. Those who missed a chance to memorize Quran got a chance to finish Quran in central jail of Somali region. others who have received certificate of secondary and degree of first degree are seen in jijiga, modern furniture that produce house and office materials owned by individuals who learned in central jail are providing service to local consumers in jijiga and other parts of the region. The house furniture of this author is made by a former prisoner of central jail of Somali region. Taking into account the life of prisoners, In each of the rooms of the inmates there is a big screen attached to the wall which will allow access for the inmates to be update about what is taking around them and in the rest of the world also rooms is equipped with modern beds and all other basic requirements. Another milestone achievement is opening jijiga university branch in central jail of somali region.
HEALTH FACILITIES OF CENTRAL JIJIGA
Regarding health service and facilities, the government provided all necessary resource or materials like medical equipment, drugs and health officers who gives full service to prisoners. In addition to this one could never fail to see the entertainment services like football field, hand ball and other services enjoyed prisoners of central jail. Preparing special food for prisoners who have health
Problem like diabetes is another commendable job. Also what makes unique for the preservation of prisoners of central jail provides a sum amount of money at the time of festivals to feel happiness. A big building of masjid that prisoners use to worship to their almighty is available there. Unlike ordinary citizens prisoners of the central jail of Somali region lacked a freedom of movement but they get all other services that ordinary people has.
Health officers and staffs of central jail of somali region and the modern car of ambulance. mr abdi hassen- health officers of central jail told me that they provide a full of medical treatment day and night. We are 10 medical staffs including three midwifes said mr abdi hassen. If the case is unmanageable we send to referral hospital said mr abdi hassen-health officer of central jijiga.
The case of rape and abuse
As far as I know, there is no rape and abuse against prisoners carried out by security forces, or happens in central jail of somali region. Based on realities on the ground, it is a tactic employed by opposition groups for tarnishing the government. Contrary to this baseless propaganda, women receive training on skills like tailor. In case of food, foods use by detainees are meat and protein food every day. The last allegation issued by HRW is regarded family visit. My respond to this is short and simple-prisoners have a right to sleep their husband let alone a family visit. I can confirm you to each and everyone families and friends can visit and chat with their beloved ones in central jail.
Rape and abuse is committed by anti peace elements like ONLF but not the government security. Contrary to this, security forces of Somali region dedicate a sum amount of money from their salary and help to poor families. They donate their blood to their community.
“A Somali lady named hodan ahmed (former prison of central jail) said; before I came here (central jail) I was illiterate but today I can read and write. I thank to all staffs of the central who treat us just like their sister and daughter. Hodan added that- I wonder those who said woman are raped in the central jail of Somali region; I can say that is a quite false. Our rooms were equipped modern beds; we had TV screens and all other required material.”
In case of detention without trial
A prisoner is send to central jail only if the prisoner is sentenced by court. The central jail will not receive a detainee who is not accompanied his letter of court. This is not what I have heard from someone else but it is a fact I witnessed. Despite it is not perfect, the regional courts made a lot of efforts to ensure the case. On the other the government hired a lawyer intend to help detainees, who have no capacity to employ a private lawyer. Not only the secondary and primary evidence also have they found enough witness. It is quite false those who claimed the allegation of prisoners is detained without trial.
The case of ONLF and how the government addresses
It is very surfeit a government that treats it is rebellion as mother treat to her children. I can confirm to everyone the way the regional government address ONLF is very smart. Sometimes you convince weather ONLF is the foe of the government or not. I can cite concrete examples to identified the benevolence of the government towards the anti peace elements.
1- There was a unit of armed forced of ONLF that was trained by Eretrian whose intention was disturbing and creating environment of fear in Somali region. As soon as they reached and entered the region regional security won to capture around 200 and plus after a short battle. What wonders everyone is the heroism stride or decision made by the regional government, All the captured soldiers of anti peace elements met from the government unexpected decision. The government of Somali region simply shifted them as a government forces. Some of them are special force who safeguards the president. The million dollars question how one can trust to select as his/her special guard, members of anti peace elements whose assignment was to kill him (the president).
2- Members of anti peace elements- committed various mayhem crimes are pardoned by the regional government before their allocated time. Not only that the government rewarded them (ONLF) loan money from micro finance institution and modern houses. In addition to that some of them (ONLF) are senior officers of the government.
3- to the chagrin of many, Somali regional state had dominated by anti peace elements, it is a documented history-public and private institution were dominated by members who are loyal to anti peace elements. The well known and recorded history is, 75 percent of the total population the region used to members of ONLF either cell member or an armed soldier. In line with this, if the government’s stance was arresting everyone who is affiliated that group not more than twenty percent who could escape or save from detention.
4- Another solid proof that can evidence his kindness is, the miracle help he provide to anti peace elements that wounded in the battle. Once a time, a war between the regional special force and ONLF arms had broken in some areas around dhagahmadaw. Despite the armed forces of ONLF was defeated, an injured man who was under trees has killed half dozen of liyou police. The special could not killed him due to the place he was in. commander of the special police informed the president then president abdi mohomud omar ordered the commander not to kill and evacuate him at every cost. Lastly the regional force won to capture. The wounded soldier of anti peace element was taken to jijiga. After a couple of days the government sends the wounded man of ONLF to Thailand Since his wound was very serious. It is impossible to summarize on this paper, the tangible works did the government for surrender or captured members of anti peace elements-ONLF. Seeing and witnessing the legacy of the regional government, would human right watch like us to trust their rumors on a clear day time or to mislead and diverted us from the right path?
I fail to detect the reason behind the baseless allegations released by an international organization but the logic and rational answer I reached is a bribed organization and serves those the collected a hefty amount of money. It is unfortunate and curse to witness biased and lopsided view that targeted a developing region that got out from an abyss recently and headed to right path of development and building democratic.
The last word I conclude my argument is the report of torture and punishment committed by liyou police in central jail of somali region issued by human right watch on 05 july 2018, is baseless and fabricated false.
the document is attached in pdf format here.