Somaliland: Ethiopian Mission Hargeisa to Temporarily Reduce Volume of On-land Entries into Ethiopia

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Brigadier General Berhe Tesfaye

HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – The Ethiopian Consulate General office in Hargeisa has announced in a statement issued on Wednesday (06 Nov. 2013) that it will temporarily suspend providing visas and vehicle entry permits into the country for security reasons.

The suspension which would be effective on Monday November 11 would be maintained for nearly 30 days until the peaceful conclusion of the celebration of the Ethiopian Peoples, Nations and Nationalities Day in Jigjiga.

Head of the Consulate General office, Brigadier General Berhe Tesfay, said his office has reached on this decision following repeated consultations with its stakeholders. The decision was communicated several weeks ahead of its enforcement to the competent Somaliland authorities with a subsequent request to inform their widest possible public about the matter. He also noted that any kind cooperation from the Somaliland peoples and authorities for full compliance with the decision as well as in dealing with common threats especially at this specific time would be highly appreciated. Only few exceptional cases conceived appropriate by the office might be considered for entry on land, and those with electronic Somali and foreign passports have the option of traveling into Ethiopia through the Ethiopian Airlines direct flight service as visa-on-arrival would be issued upon landing at Bole International Airport.

The Consul General who noted that his country has always been well organized and experienced in containing any terrorist attempts in their infant stage also pointed out that the situations on the ground has so far indicated that the weakening anti-peace elements are still trying to infiltrate Ethiopia with evil plans of creating havoc on civilians. But the continuation of strong investigations based on distinct and fitting plans being coupled with the Ethiopian people’s maximum vigilance against the anti-peace elements will help to contain any attempts. Reliable and coordinated security arrangements are being put in place in every check points and borders throughout Ethiopia including to ensure the peaceful celebration of the approaching Ethiopian Peoples, Nations and Nationalities day in Jigjiga.

Ethiopia FlagMeanwhile, the Ethiopian National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) and the federal police said in a joint statement on Tuesday 05 November have announced their receipt of “strong evidence that indicates Al Shabaab and terrorist groups backed by Eritrea are preparing to carry out attacks in Addis Ababa and other areas of the country soon”. NISS and federal police also alerted the police and security forces as well as the public including hotel staffs and private landlords to inform police if they encountered “suspicious” activity and verify the identity of visitors. They also urged soldiers to remain vigilant at checkpoints along all Ethiopia’s borders.

The Consulate General office will continue on its service delivery in a more organized and fair manner upon the termination of the suspension deadline. Till now, the office has managed to take improvement measures that have secured the complete fulfillment of immigration requirements to issue visa. This has also provided any visa applicants the right to be served fairly based on their sequences of application, and has so far enhanced the customers’ satisfaction except a few people who were undeservedly seeking immediate considerations without possessing either a privileged portfolio or any verifiable good reasons but trying to give their case a false or unrelated legitimate pretext. Further improvement measures would be taken continuously to leave no rooms for any activities that might compromise Ethiopia’s security and the Consulate General office’s overriding mission of providing facilitated services and supports fairly and with equal footing.

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