Abdi Iley, the notorious Somali region president sacked
Abdi Mohamed Omer (aka Abdi Iley), the president of Somali region, is reportedly removed from the post he had held since 2010. Abdi Iley, who was chief of regional security before becoming president, had been Abay Tsehaye’s point man in the creation of the notorious Liyuu (special ) police that have been accused of committing horrendous crimes against civilians.
According to people who knew him, Abdi Iley is a psychopath known for personally torturing political prisoners often holding many of them for days in his own office or residence. One NGO workers delcared ” the most terrifying figure in that war wretched region.” It was such notoriety that made Abdi Alley the most trusted local clientele for the Tigrean security operatives.
His downfall came due to two recently leaked videos that exposed the extent of criminal activity that routinely takes place in the region. The first was the raw footage of the film used as evidence against the Swedish journalists, Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye. The edited version of the film which supposedly show the moment when the journalists were caught in action was presented to court justifying the 11 year long sentence against the Swedes. In a recent interview with the BBC Persson and Schibbye exposed Abdi Iley as the man responsible for orchestrating the drama. Schibbye told the BBC
“This was not being done by some crazy militia: the director was the vice president in the region, and in the evening the regional president [Abdi Iley] called us and said, ‘We are not satisfied by your performances in the film,’” said Mr Schibbye”
After Persson and Schibbye were pardoned and left the country, the unedited version of the film surfaced showing the whole drama was staged days after the journalists were captured, to incriminate the journalists. This raw footage was shown on Swedish media embarrassing the Ethiopian government, whose departed ‘Great Leader’, repeatedly pointed to that fake video as irrefutable evidence. While publicly sticking to their story, Ethiopian government officials began distancing themselves from the affair telling diplomats that the federal government was also duped by the regional government .
Making things worse for Abdi Iley is the fact that this footage was stolen from his own personal archive, and along other and more damaging video, which shades light on the mysterious and controversial killing of Dr. Mohammed Sirad Doolal. Dr. Doolal who was a founding member and popular leader of the ONLF. He was killed on January 17, 2009 in Ogaden. The government spread the rumor that he was killed by the ONLF itself, an allegation that was effective in deceiving a segment of the Ogaden society because, at the time of his death, Doolal had broken away from ONLF’s main faction led by Admiral Mohamed Omar Osman. This enabled the regime to win over some Ogadenis including Dr Doolal’s daughter who wrote articles accusing the ONLF leadership for her father’s death.
The government’s propaganda unraveled with the leakage of a video showing Abdi Iley bragging how the Ethiopian security killed Dr. Doolal. The video supports the ONLF version of the story that Dr Dolaal was captured alive after being wounded in battle and later executed by the Ethiopian military. Thus, as Abdi Iley has become more of a liability than asset, the TPLF is throwing him under the buss and letting him take the rap for the backlash resulting from the two leaked videos.
He is likely to be replaced by Ahmed Shiekh, a person highly regarded by the Ogaden community both at home and abroad. But its doubtful whether the Tigrean security and military operatives roaming the region will allow the new guy to use his personal integrity to improve the human rights situation and for how long he might be allowed to stay in office for that matter.