Somalilandsun – In a move indicative of changing political trends in the Horn of Africa region, the government of Somaliland has been host to an ONLF rebel commander from Ethiopia.
The unprecedented shift of policy that facilitated the official hosting of Abdikarim Sheikh Muse known as Qalbi Dhagax a Commander in the Ogaden National Liberation Front- ONLF of Ethiopia, also resulted in the arrest of two citizens in Burao.
The duo of citizens under police custody in the Toghdeer regional capital were arrested after they held a presser in which they not only protested the visit by the ONLF Commander to Somaliland but castigate the government for hosting him in Hargeisa.
The duo of now detainees informed that their dispute with commander Qalbi Dhagax emanates from loss of livelihoods occasioned by his orders in the years past.
At the presser in Burao, Farah Hussein, one of the detained, said that his family had been rendered destitute, after ONLF fighters burned down his Lorry in the Zone Five Somali Administrative region of Ethiopia over two years ago.
Said he, “Since my Transport business collapsed after my truck was burned down by an ONLF Unit Under the command of Qalbi Dhagax , my family has resorted to begging”
Stressing that feeding his family even once a day has become difficult for the once affluent transporter, Farah Hussein said that this malady also afflicts many Somalilanders thence the government of Somaliland should have arrested the rebel and demand compensation rather than revel him as a dignitary.
“With my advanced age am completely sure that I can not reclaim my Economic status, thus a pauper for life” Said Farah Hussein
According to the former inter Ethiopia- Somaliland transporter, he built his business with the now ONLF is burned lorry which he had bought after working for several years in Iraq, Kuwait and Qatar.
But according to the alleged culprit, Commander Qalbi Dhagax, the incidents narrated by the Burao actually happened but though by his ONLF “it was not by my orders”
Speaking to BBC Somali Service, the Commander said that many ugly incidents happen during times of war all over the world but once foes are reconciled, all even the most painful should be forgive and forgotten.
The ONLF is now no longer termed a rebel movement after talks with newly elected Ethiopia PM Abiy Ahmed negotiated for a peaceful resolution with all rebel movements in the country.
The Ogaden National Liberation Front (abbreviated ONLF, was until mid 2018 a separatist rebel group fighting for the right to self-determination for Somalis in the Somali Region of Ethiopia.
The ONLF, established in 1984, demands for the autonomy of this region and has claimed responsibility for several attacks since the beginning of 1994 aimed at Ethiopian forces in the area, which the government considers a region under the new federal system.
The visit of Qalbi Dhagax to Somalilamd was facilitated by leader of Opposition party UCID Eng Feisal Ali Warabe.
Traveling from his base in Nairobi Kenya, the ONLF Commander was received at the Egal international airport in Hargeisa with pomp by a large crowd waving the flag Ethiopia’s somali Region.
The attendant retired use of high level government and political Parties officials on hand to accord him a state welcome were led by his host Eng Feisal Ali Warabe.
During his short stay in the Somaliland capital Hargeisa Qalbi Dhagax held discussions with officials from the three Somaliland national parties as well as government staffers.
The ONLF Commander who was released from jail in Ethiopia by PM Abiy Following reconciliation gained prominence after the Somalia federal government handed him to Addis Ababa after capturing him in Galkayo.
After departure for Somaliland Qalbi Dhagax Extended his visit Somalia making his first destination Bosaso where he was given a heroes welcome enroute to Mogadishu
Yusuf M Hasan
Tel: +252-63-4415871 & +252-65-9094004