THE Afar-Issa conflict is no longer an encounter about access to grazing lands and water resources between two related pastoral communities. It is no longer about the raiding and counter-raiding of animals (camels, cows and goats) as war booty. It is not even being inflamed between the two traditional pastoral groups in the Eastern part of Ethiopia known as the Addis Ababa-Djibouti Corridor. However, it is raging far from home.
The intractable and unmanageable, years-old Afar-Issa conflict is being fought out in social media in a feverish war of words between two Diaspora, namely, the Afar and Issa Diaspora in Western countries (USA, Canada and Australia). The conflict is being fought out on Deutchwelle and VOA Amharic Services. Anyone who has been following recent developments with regard to this conflict would recognise this.
The new Issa-Somali Diaspora strategy seems to be securing legal recognition of the forced, belligerent and illegal occupation of Afar land, portraying their community as the victim of the recent federal Government Resolution to hand over those forcefully occupied territories to their original rightful owners, namely the Afar; dramatizing events to claim an infringement of the Ethiopian Constitution if a referendum is not held and the geographical reality created by force is not accepted.
They are threatening to create new Liberation Fronts, which will destabilize the corridor if Ethiopia does not award them the legal recognition they seek. The Issa-Somali Diaspora’s main and immediate target group seems to be Ethiopians in general, this time, and Ethiopian opposition groups in particular. The Issa-Somali Diaspora’s claim that the Ethiopian federal authorities evacuated 360,000 Issa-Somalis from 6 cities in the corridor, and transferred them to the Afar Killil is propaganda and misrepresentation. All the Issa-Somalis in the Somali Region (Killil 5) cannot number 360,000.
ARDUF calls on all Ethiopian peoples, both inside and outside the country, to be aware of this misleading and sinister disinformation and victimisation proclaimed by the Issa Somali Diaspora. What they are disseminating and broadcasting through social media is fabrication designed to obtain legal recognition for their occupation of Afar territory, obtained by inadmissible use of force.
ARDUF is also deeply concerned by the Ethiopian Federal Authorities’ irresolution, vacillation and hesitation to implement and enforce its own decision passed down to end the conflict and return all of the occupied land back to the Afar people. The Government’s inability to enforce the decision that ‘no territorial acquisition resulting from aggression shall be recognized as lawful’, and maintain law and order in the region, has encouraged the Issa-Somali invaders to seek legal recognition for the territories they seized from the Afar by inadmissible use of force.
That is why they are emboldened to request holding a Referendum, a meeting of their Ugass and the Afar Awsa Sultan Hanfare Alimirah, taking the matter to Federal Chamber. These manoeuvres have only one aim which is to gain legal recognition that would annex these areas into the Somali Region lawfully, or at least, if not, to obtain special or non-special districts or Kebels in the Afar Region. This is not a territorial and territories in particular, as a result of the continued Issa-Somali occupation and unlawful aggression against Afar civilians in the Afar Regional State, that is causing the tragic loss of innocent Afar lives, the destruction of property, environments and ecology, as well as the displacement of thousands of the Afar civilians.
That the Ethiopian government not only demarcates the boundaries between the Afar and Somali Regional States or Killils, but additionally returns the Issa-Somalis to the area demarcated by the Haile Selassie government in the 1940s at the Erer River, in order to ensure lasting security and peace in the country.
ARDUF asks the Ethiopian Federal authorities to dismantle all illegally constructed settlements in the Afar Region, namely, Adaytu, Qunxa-Foqo, Gadamaytu, Afdam, Meisso, Erer, Aydoora, Asboli, Garani, Yangudi, Han le Siira, Maanat, Gabulli, As Elwa areas immediately and unconditionally in order to ensure the permanent peace and security in Ethiopia generally and the Addis Ababa Djibouti corridor in particular.
Victory to the heroic ARDUF/UGUUGUMO
Military Command Centre (MCC)
Information Desk Afar Revolutionary Democratic Unity Front (ARDUF)