Home | News    Tuesday 6 May 2008

Ethiopia, Somali Puntland seal "secret" deal to deliver rebels - ONLF

May 5, 2008 (NAIROBI) — Ogaden rebels accused the Somali Puntland regional administration of sealing a secret deal with the Ethiopian government to handover Oganden people and rebels to Addis Ababa.

The Puntland "has entered into a secret security agreement with the Ethiopian regime in which Puntland has agreed to transfer private citizens from Ogaden and any ONLF officials who enter Puntland to Ethiopian security officials." The rebel group claimed.

In reward for services rendered, Ethiopia will provide arms and military training for Puntland authorities, in clear violation of the United Nations arms embargo on Somalia, the ONLF said.

At the end of last April the rebel front said that Puntland had arrested two of ONLF leading members and delivering them to the Ethiopian government.

In today’s statement the ONLF said that dozens of Oganden civilians are arrested throughout the Puntland. Five of them had been transferred to the Ethiopian authorities, the ONLF added.

The rebel group condemned the ongoing cooperation between with Ethiopia adding that Puntland has created "an inhospitable environment for Oganden refugees in this Somali region."

Ethiopia in past had accused the government of Puntland headed by Adde Muse, of law security that allows the ONLF to use Puntland ports and coastline to land weapons. Further Puntland officials were described as bribed by the Oganden rebels.

Last February, falnked by his newly-appointed minister of security, Gen. Abdullahi Said Samatar, Muse visited Addis Ababa for thalks with Ethiopian officials and to meet the President of the Ethiopia’s backed Somali Transitional government and former ruler of Puntland Abdullahi Yusuf who is also considered as the region’s de facto ruler long.

Muse told reporters that he would hold extensive talks with various Ethiopian government officials regarding security issues and common trade.

Located in northeastern Somalia, the Puntland in 1998 declared itself to be an autonomous state. Unlike neighboring Somaliland, it does not seek outright independence from Somalia.

(ST)