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Addis Abeba, January 23/2019 – The Somali regional state cabinet member and the region’s communication bureau chief Guled Al Ali Kaahin, has been removed from his position this afternoon and was briefly detained by the region’s police for refusing to comply with the cabinet’s decision. He is currently being released after having been interviewed by the police.

The region’s cabinet, together with elders from the region, has also called Ahmed Shide, chairperson of the Somali People’s Democratic Party (SPDP) who is also the federal government’s finance minister, to come to Jigjiga, the region’s capital, for consultations “within two days.”

According to a source with knowledge to the matter who spoke to Addis Standard, Guled Al Ali Kaahin was removed from his position for “repeatedly refusing to attend cabinet meetings and deliberately sending misleading information to the federal government.” He is also accused of being “the main source of instability and is implicated for being behind in yesterday’s clash in Dire Dawa city”, where, according to reports, churchgoers were attacked by a group of people.

In an interview he gave yesterday, Jemal Dirie, legal and human rights advisor of the newly appointed president of Somali region Mustefa Omer, accused elements within the federal government, including Ahmed Shide, of attempting to oust the president and derail the ongoing reform process being implemented by the president by working with people with close ties to ex-president Abdi Mohammed Omer a.k.a Abi Illey, who is charged at the federal court in Addis Abeba for alleged gross human rights abuse during his ten years tenure as president.

The Ogaden National Liberation front (ONLF) has issued a statement this morning calling “for both the ruling party and the federal government to respect the wishes and dignity of the Somali people and desist from any acts that could jeopardize the stability and the well-being of the Somali regional state and the people.”

In an apparent reference to interference in the region’s affairs, ONLF also stated: “The Somali people in the Somali regional state (Ogaden) have a legal right to manage their political affairs and full self-rule upheld both by the Ethiopian constitution and international law. The most fundamental tenet of these entitlements is the right to choose their own leaders. Furthermore, Premier Abiy has promised to all peoples in Ethiopia to respect their democratic rights and open the political space.”

According to a news posted on the Somali Region communication bureau, five senior officials were removed by the cabinet. The office said the cabinet removed the unnamed members on suspicions that they maintain links with deposed ex-president of the region Abi Illey.

The regional government is expected to give a press statement on the matter. AS

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