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News: Somali region says calling for unauthorized rally inappropriate, supports Joint Task Force decision on security, safety matters

Jigjiga, the capital city of Somali regional state. Photo: Abdirahman Isak/May 2020

Addis Abeba – Somali regional state government said it is “not appropriate to call for a peaceful demonstration that is not authorized by the appropriate body” and that it “creates a security threat at this time when preparations for the African Union Summit, which has high diplomatic and economic benefits, are being completed.”

The regional government said this a day after the the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church (EOTC) Holy Synod in Addis Abeba said it that it will expand “the horizons of its planned and announced national and international peaceful demonstration on 12 February without interference from anyone.”

“While informing that it will be held in its own square, the government’s role is to fulfill its governmental responsibility properly so that the procession ends peacefully,” the Synod said in response to a statement given by the Ethiopian Joint Security and Intelligence Task Force banning unauthorized rallies.

The Somali region acknowledged “the unity and strengthening of religious institutions: positive contribution to bridge differences and ensure “national peace and development” adding that it “firmly believes that disputes arising in religious institutions are mainly resolved through the internal procedures of the institutions themselves.”

“The problem that recently occurred in the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church should also be resolved through internal rules based on the church’s canon,” it said.

However, the region said that it “has been confirmed with information and evidence that the problem in the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is beyond the religious issue and many domestic and foreign political forces with evil intentions are working together to weaken Ethiopia,” and that the Somali regional government “strongly opposes any movement that may threaten the security of the country and people by using religion as a cover.”

To that end, the region says it cautions beforehand that “it will fulfill its responsibility to enforce the law by preventing and controlling any illegal activities based on the constitution and the decision of the Joint Task Force on security and safety” matters.

“We call on all the residents of our region to give the necessary support and cooperation to the government in fulfilling its constitutional duties and responsibilities of maintaining peace and security,” the regional government said.

In its statement yesterday the Holy Synod has acknowledged and thanked regional governments, including the Somali region, for standing by it as it grappled with the fallout of the ongoing schism which is threatening to tear the Church apart. The Synod has left out the Oromia region and the Addis Abeba City Administration from the list of regions and zones in its appreciation for “the fair and legal solutions” they have taken “to enforce law and order.”

It is recalled that the federal government yesterday said that it has “discovered that a group composed of business people, politicians and ‘Spiritual youth associations’ has been organized from the center to the bottom and is organizing a rally called ‘Sacrifices of the Martyrs Rally’.” The statement further accused the group of wanting “to take the opportunity to shake the government with armed violence.”. It also claimed of having intelligence that the group has “started recruiting young people, collecting money for its purpose in various ways and illegally,” adding that the “government has confirmed” that the group is creating avenues of “relationship with the armed forces.”

It also warned that security forces will begin engaging “in strong law enforcement in order to create national stability and ensure the safety of citizens.” AS

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