By: Yusuf M Hasan
JIGJIGA (Somalilandsun) – The president of the Zone 5 Somali administration has released 43 prisoners of Somaliland origin.
The 43 who were in a Jigjiga prison for the last eight months were pardoned by the Zone 5 president Abdi Mahmoud Omar “Abdi Ileye” after intervention by traditional leaders from Somaliland. The pardon was for sentenced imposed by a Jigjiga court that ranged between 5 to 25 years imprisonment.
The 43, who are all pastoralists from one clan, were arrested by the crack Liyuu (new) police unit of the zone 5 on charges of engaging in disturbing the peace after they engaged other pastoralists on a water rights based water.
The Liyuu police on arresting them had claimed that though they were not the original instigators of the water clashes, they arrived in the area from Somaliland thus support their clansmen during the clashes that had ensued after pastoralists from two clans in Da’awale area engaged in armed skirmishes after failing to agree on sharing water.
There pardon and subsequent release from prison is a culmination of an eight months relentless campaign by traditional leaders of Somaliland origin both in Jigjiga and Hargeisa who hailed the zone five president for the gesture that will go a long way towards harmonizing inter-clan co-existence.
the Ethiopian zone five region which is predominated by Somalis is a volatile area as the two major clans (Darood & Isaaq) living there are usually engaged in running battles that emanate from livestock grazing lands and watering holes.
Sultan Hussein Haji Abdi Abdilahi, traditional leader of the Isaaq sub-clan Arab of which all the pardoned 43 nomads belong to thanked the zone five president for what he termed an act of leadership. He promised to work tirelessly to see to it that clashes between his clansmen and those from Ogaden do not occur again.
He also thanked all the traditional leaders who supported him in the quest to have the jailed pastoralists released, Said he, “The concerted effort by traditional leaders from the Isaaq and Ogaden clans will act as an impetus for peaceful co-existence of our people in the one five”
The chief traditional leader of the Isaaq clan Sultan Mohamed Sultan Abdiqadir, who has in the recent past sent a number of appeals to the zone five president, said that the release of the 43 is a milestone in the never ending quest for peaceful co-existence in the area.