Security Tightened in the Somali Region of Ethiopia


Celebration of the 8th anniversary of the Ethiopian nation and nationalities has approached which will be held at Jijiga, the headquarter of the Somali regional state of Ethiopia on December 8, 2014.

The federal government has sent tens of thousands of its armed forces to Jijiga for security clean up efforts before the festival starts in December.

The federal army with the paramilitary police known locally as Liyuu Police have started efforts to ensure security. The troops wear different uniforms and are present in every location of the town, performing regular checks on citizens and vehicles on the streets.

During the night they executed control efforts searching house to house throughout the town. Crowds of soldiers are visible on all major and minor roads into the town, with checkpoints frequently searching travellers coming and leaving the town.

Since the military operation began at Jijiga two weeks ago, the number of people arrested in the town is estimated to be 1% of the population of Jijiga (1,000,000). The detained individuals are suspected of being affiliated with the armed resistance group ONLF who fight for the independence of the Ogaden region from Ethiopian rule. ONLF has recently been weakened and forced underground but have continued their attacks against various targets within the region.

Businesses are closed at 6PM for personal safety reasons and the public remain vigilant in their homes during the entire course of the night.

The regional authority ordered businesses at Jijiga to sell their products at low prices or to provide it at no charge to people coming from other regions as guests of the Somali region. This has lead to the business community facing bankruptcy at end of the festival.

All public services will remain closed for ten days during the eve of the Hidar festival and many families have evacuated their children from Jijiga heading to Dire Dawa due to fear for food security and sanitation shortages.