Somali President secretly meets with ENDF chief and Oromia President
MOGADISHU, Somalia – A high-level Ethiopian delegation visited Somalia on Friday in secret, amid an electoral quagmire, which threatened integration into the country, but their trip still remains a mystery, given that the two countries do not have not yet disclosed the mission.
Insiders within the presidency who spoke on condition of anonymity told media that the Ethiopian national defense forces [ENDF] The boss, Gen. Birhanu Jula Gelalcha, and Oromia President Shimelis Abdisa, traveled to Mogadishu on Friday for a closed-door meeting with President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo.
President Shimelis Abdisa is of Oromo ethnicity in Ethiopia and a close ally of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, whose interests in the Horn of Africa are in the public domain. Ahmed, who has faced turbulence in Ethiopia, was the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
Although the subject of their talks remains a closely guarded secret, Axadlenevertheless understood that the upcoming elections in Somalia and the presence of ENDF troops in Somalia were included in the talks in Villa Somalia. Neither country has released a statement.
The Ethiopian army has nearly 4,500 troops in Somalia and 1,000 others who are not part of AMISOM. The non-Amisom contingent reportedly left last year during the Tigray War, but it is not known whether they returned to the Horn of Africa nation.
But over the years, Ethiopian troops have often been accused of interfering with Somalia’s domestic politics, with the 2018 elections in the southwest where more than 11 people were killed after the former leader’s arrest. Al-Shabaab deputy, Mukhtaar Robow, being one of the most talked about incidents. .
Farmaajo and Abiy have forged a political relationship over the past two years that has led them to travel to each other’s countries. But the opposition has often called for the withdrawal of ENDF troops from Somalia, which they accuse of committing atrocities against innocent civilians.
Farmaajo visited the troubled state of Oromia on one of his visits to Ethiopia last year. Analysts have linked Farmaajo’s intransigence in election negotiations to Abiy’s strong stance against opponents.
Abiy played a crucial role in the state government elections in Somalia, supporting Farmaajo in pushing for the installation of his allies in federal member states such as the Southwest. It is not clear what role Ethiopia wants to play in the upcoming elections.
Last year, Axadleexclusively reported on attempts to expel Ahmed Madobe from Jubaland in the 2018 election after ENDF forces were denied a landing at Kismayo airport by Kenyan based troops. there, a decision that caused friction between Kenyan and Ethiopian troops in Somalia.