Ethiopia: Abdi Illey arrested for inciting ethnic, religious violence

Abdi Illey being take by Ferderal police on August 27, 2018 [Screen grab from Ethiopian Television]

by Engidu Woldie
ESAT News (August 27, 2018)

The ex-president of Ethiopia’s Somali region, Abdi Mohamoud Omar, also known as Abdi Illey, has been arrested at his residence in Addis Ababa today.

According to a report by the Ethiopian Television that quoted the federal prosecutor, Abdi Illey was arrested for violations of human rights, inciting ethnic and religious conflict in the restive Somali region in Eastern Ethiopia.

Police found five kalashnikovs and four pistols at the residence of Abdi Illey, located near the Atlas Hotel in the capital.

The federal prosecutor also said other individuals who colluded with Abdi Illey in perpetrating the alleged crime have been arrested.

Abdi illey has been under house arrest in Addis Ababa since he was removed from power on August 6, 2018. He has been accused of abuse of power, torture and imprisonment of his critics, corruption as well as the displacement of over a million Oromos and the killing of hundreds in communal clashes under his watch.

The Human Rights Watch and other rights watchdogs have been calling for justice in the Somali region of Ethiopia, implicating Abdi Illey and other regional officials in gross human rights violations as well as ethnic and religious strife. A recent report on Jail Ogaden and other reports by the Human Rights Watch implicate Abdi Illey and his special police unit, the Liyou Police, in torture, killings and imprisonment of innocent citizens. The Liyou police and a youth group aligned with Illey have killed at least 30 people and burnt churches and looted properties early this month as pressure mounted on Illey to resign.

During his reign of power, Abdi Illey had kept close ties with TPLF officials and army generals who used their influence to keep him in office. The TPLF officials and army generals have been accused of abusing their position, corruption and allegedly engaged in contraband trade that is rampant in the region.