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Jigjiga in Revolt
BKB
27May 2013

The survival and rights of a Somali clan that has traditionally been the gatekeeper of the Somali identity in Ethiopia’s Somali region must be protected if the region’s Somali clans aspire to preserve and invest in their collective wellbeing. The rights and survival of Jidwaaq clan (Abasguul, Bartire & Yabare) are currently at risk with many of its elders and intellectuals besieged and thrown in jails.

Garaad Wiilwaal

The Jidwaaq clan is one of many Somali clans that reside in the Somali region of Ethiopia. In addition, the clan is an older brother of the Ogaden clan, making the two clans fall under the umbrella of Absame conglomerate of clans, despite the fact that other Absame clans have assimilated in the Ogaden clan. However, the Jidwaaq clan has always had its territorial boundaries and coexisted with other Somali clans in the region.

The clan’s rights have lately been violated and its elders and intellectuals have been exposed to different kinds of maltreatments. And it is President Abdi-Iley Omar’s administration that is tormenting the clan and removing it from its long time held land, among other atrocities.

The clan is losing some of its land and whatever it embodies to President Abdi Iley and his associates. Unfortunately, the administration is systematically displacing the clan, disbanding its intellectuals, degrading its elders and disapproving any critics’ voices from within the clan. What a terror! What is the root cause of this violent, ill-treatment inflicted on the Jidwaaq clan? Well, the president is inflicting these atrocities on the clan for reasons that are only known to him and his advisors.

The Somali region of Ethiopia is not governed in accordance with the Ethiopian federal constitution. Consequently, President Abdi- Iley does whatever he desires to the region’s people, and the Jidwaaq clan has been the most afflicted community in the region, in terms of lands confiscation and arbitrary penalties.

The clan’s lands have been appropriated and awarded to people assumed to be investors. Actually, most of the so-called investors are from the diaspora community, mainly from Arabia, Europe and North America; and the imposter investors are reported to have relied on welfare systems for decades.

What do they have to invest then if they have continuously subsisted on handouts? They have perhaps pilfered treasures of their respective countries of residencies.  Nonetheless, the fabricated, calculated scheme of President Abdi-Iley is yielding fruits and is taking a terrible a tall on the Jidwaaq clan and its future survival. Sadly, entire lands owned by Bartire and Yabare communities of the clan have been confiscated and given to the imposters with the lands’ original inhabitants displaced and left in the cold. This is the administration’s justice and the progress it has attained thus far!

President Abdi-Iley is a master at using people and exploiting their resources. He has, among other things, pocketed Garaad Mohamud Dool of the Bartire community and made him displace and disband his very own people. The president inaugurated the Garaad about a year and a half ago and made him a Grand Garaad for the Absame clans. What a calculated tactic! And right after his inauguration, Garaad Mohamud Dool, in the presence of his mentor President Abdi-Iley, visited a town of the region named “Dhurwaale” inhabited by the Abasguul community and read a lengthy decree to a big audience.

“From today on, I do not want to hear any name other than Absame,” said the Garaad. “Neither Abasguul, nor Bartire, nor Yabare, nor Jidwaaq are to be heard. The only name that I want to hear is Absame.” The Graad was emotional and a bit incentivized.

Strangley Garaad Mohamud sees President Abdi-Iley to be an Absame leader. If Abdi-Iley cares about Absame and its collective wellbeing, why is he displacing the Jidwaaq clan and destroying its resources. The Garaad gets it wrong, but the answer is simple. President Abdi-Iley is simply bothered by the Jidwaaq name itself, and the Garaad is seen to be a tool with which to fight the clan.

Now and that he is unable to enjoy life due to an age factor, one may wonder and ask,  why Garaad Mohamud Dool  is humiliating his own people for wordily gains? Truly, and unlike Garaad Wiilwaal, who has dignified his Jidwaaq clan, Garaad Mohamud  will go into history books as the man that had traded his clan’s territorial integrity and resources for personal gains. He will indeed taste a bitter history if he keeps doing what he is doing and does not speak up and defend his disappearing community.

As I am writing this article, some prominent Jidwaaq elders and intellectuals are languishing in prison cells on the basis of their refusal to President Abdi-Iley’s policy aimed at confiscating the clan’s lands and crippling its human resources. Of the prisoned elders are Abdi Mohamed Sheikh Hassan chairman of Jidwaaq Guurti, Suldan Abdirahman Bade of the Abasguul community and elder Abdi Yonis of the Bartire community, to name but a few. Both men are vehemently opposed to the administration’s plunder actions in Jigjiga and surrounding areas.

But conversely, the region’s president is accusing the clan’s elders and intellectuals of disturbing peace and progress in the region, and that they are ONLF supporters. What a lie! This is a pure accusation to be laughed at, and it a ploy aimed at exploiting the clan’s lands and expelling its human resources. In fact, the president knows that the clan neither supports ONLF, nor subscribes to its principles, but he is too arrogant to admit his plunders and injustices aimed at the Jidwaaq clan.

The Jidwaaq clan will exist and outlive President Abdi-Iley and his administration. Moreover, whatever injustices the clan is currently enduring will not last forever. Surely, times will change and the weaker will perhaps prevail, and the Jidwaaq clan will not be obliterated of the Somali region’s map.

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