Etenesh Abera @EteneshAb
Addis Abeba, April 22/2020 – High level military officials from Ethiopia and Somaliland met and discuss works being implemented to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 in the border city of Tog Wajaale, according to state daily ENA. Participants included Major General Zewdu Belay, Commander of Eastern Division of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) and Major General Nuh Ismail Tani, the Chief of Staff of Somaliland Armed Forces as well as members of Ethiopian federal police and other civilian officials.
Major General Zewdu Belay, Commander of ENDF Eastern Division, said during the discussion that the peoples of Ethiopia and Somaliland are people who have lived in unity for many years, ENA quoted Maj. Gen Zewdu. He added that currently joint efforts to stop the movement of people in order to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus were being undertaken.
Maj. Gen. Zewdu also cautioned that although measures are being taken to stop the people on both sides from crossing borders, “sometimes there are incidents whereby people on both sides are seen crossing borders,” he said. This, according to Maj. Gene Zewdu, was negatively influencing the works being done to control people’s movements. He cautioned immigration officials, security forces, district administrators and customs officials on both sides to coordinate their efforts closely in order to solve the problem.
Awareness raising efforts should also be done to brainstorm the people on both sides that the border between Ethiopia and Somalia was closed for the purpose of controlling the virus and that the brotherhood between the two people will remain for good.
Major General Nuh Ismail Tani, (pictured above) the Chief of Staff of Somaliland Armed Forces, said that the COVID-19 has already brought severe damages on developed nations worldwide. To this end, he commended the works being done by the government of Ethiopia to prevent the spread of the virus and minimize its damages. He said he agreed with measures being taken to stop the movement of people in the border areas. On its part, Somaliland was already implementing its own measures to stop its people from making movements in areas bordering Djibouti and Ethiopia and will further strengthen those measures.
Mayor of the border city of Tog Wajaale Muktar Habib on his part said that a task-force was established to prevent the spread of the virus and efforts are being exerted to raise awareness among the communities living in the border areas. Currently, the federal defense forces and federal police are jointly manning the borders areas between Ethiopia and Somaliland and halting the movement of people. More security forces were dispatched in various spots because the large size of the border.
ENDF Easter Division operation chief Colonel Mengesha Fentaw on his part said all members of security forces in the area were coordinating their works with the task force established to prevent the spread of the virus to implement measures included in Ethiopia’s COVID-19 state of emergency. “We are working with customs and immigration officials to implement works that are allowed within the scoop of the state of emergency regulations, he said, adding that beyond coordinating with officials from Somaliland, security forces are also working with their counterparts on Djibouti in order to mitigate challenges arising from implementations of measures to contain the spread of the virus.
At the end of the meeting, participants visited Tog Wajaale border checkpoint, which is already closed. they have also visited some of the works being done to contain the virus. AS