Somaliland: Harassment of Citizens Galore at Wajaale, the Country’s main Border Town with Ethiopia

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Journalist Janale Harassed

By: Osman A.M.

WAJALE (Somalilandsun) – An Ethiopian immigration official manning the border point of Wajale has of lately been a burden to Somaliland citizens travelling to Ethiopia due to his sheer disregard of their rights coupled with open discrimination & segregation directed to Somalilanders despite fulfilling all the essential prerequisites required for travelers crossing the border.

Mustafa Abdi Mohamed is a journalist with Hadhwanagnews, a Somali language website based in Hargeisa was irked by Abdilahi Jarso’s disregard & open discrimination for Somaliland citizens after the later denied him access to attend an official duty in Jigjiga, the headquarters of the Somali dominated semi-autonomous region of Ethiopia.

He narrates,

“I was to attend an official duty of collecting news items from a function in Jigjiga town, having a Somaliland passport with one month visa which I acquired at Ethiopian consulate in Hargeisa, I was intercepted at Wajale border check point by one Abdillahi Jarso, an Ethiopian immigration officer who openly told me to go back to where I come from as he does not recognize neither my passport nor my country”.

The journalist thereafter went to complain over the officer’s conduct to his immediate boss at the Ethiopian immigration offices in Wajale but could not be offered an explanation for the reasons for being treated with no considerations for his rights.

The ordeal met by the citizens of Somaliland & those from the Somali dominated semi-autonomous region of Ethiopia cannot escape unnoticed & if the harassment persists then it may soar the diplomatic relations of the two neighboring nations which have enjoyed good neighborhood over sometimes. This in itself is contrary to the treatment accorded to Ethiopian population residing in major towns of Somaliland with most of them working for gain in different commercial enterprises.

wajale border crossing point

Shukri Nur Muhumed, a 38 year old mother travelling with her 3 year old ailing child narrates the ordeal she encountered at the border point stating,

“I possess a Somaliland passport with a visa issued at Ethiopia’s consulate in Hargeisa & on arriving at Wajale border point with my 3 year old sick child, an Ethiopian immigration officer one, Abdillahi Jarso asked for my passport & on handing him, he inquired about the child’s visa to which I responded that I have not acquired it yet while at the same time informing him about the sickness of the young kid. Alas! to my amazement he threw the passport at my face insisting that he doesn’t have time to hear the health status of the kid. Thereafter I went outside the immigration premises & stood in the scorching sun for more than two hours till about 1300 hrs before the same officer re-emerging from his office and inquiring if I had 1000 Birr to facilitate the kid’s visa. Due to the deteriorating health of the young one I could not think of negotiating for a cut in price albeit the exorbitance of the initial amount. I immediately paid the 1000 Birr for the child’s visa before being cleared & on crossing the border I met two middle aged women who further informed me of their ordeal in the hands of Mr. Abdillahi Jarso who made them wait for more than 24 hrs upon taking their Ethiopian travel permits & since I could not offer them help I just wished Allah to come to their rescue”.

Ali Aw Jama Nur, an Ethiopian citizen hailing from the Somali-dominated semi-autonomous region was returning to his home town of Daror following a short sojourn in Hargeisa. He gave an account of the ordeal he encountered in the hands of Abdillahi Jarso stating,

“I have an Ethiopian permit issued at Daror town that I had initially used to travel with to Hargeisa where I had few issues to attend to & on finishing I was returning back home before being intercepted at the border check point by one Abdillahi Jarso, an Ethiopian immigration officer. He first asked for my papers & on handing him my permit he dared arresting me if I did not go back to where I come from (Hargeisa) it is because of this that I decided to return to Hargeisa”.

May the Ethiopian consulate in Hargeisa do something before the situation gets out of hand? For if we are not part of the solution then we are definitely part of the problem!

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