The notorious Somali region “liyu police” invades villages in Eastern Oromia

Report compiled by Jilcha Hamid and Arif Ali

Liyuu policeJan. 14/2013 – It has been reported that the Ethiopian-Somali regional state militia known as ‘Liyu Police’ have attacked the town of Qumbi in Eastern Oromia killing many and displacing the population. For the past month the Liyu Police have been attacking, harassing and displacing civilians in the lowland region of Mayu Mulluqe county (woreda) in East Hararge zone. Attacks have taken place in and around the municipalities of Qumbi Goohaa, Seelaa Jaajoo and Aanaa Miinoo according to locals. Many have fled these areas to neighbouring places such as Burqa Tirtira and the vacated areas remain under the Liyu police occupation, until this report is filed.

Since its creation in 2007 the Liyu Police militia has been known to commit atrocities against civilians in the Ogaden region and has launched attacks on neighbouring Somali tribes on numerous occasions. However  in the last few months, the militia  has  began carrying out cross-boarder raids into Oromia region. Its to be remembered that this  heavily armed militia overrun the town of Moyale  in Southern Oromia resulting in the death of cozens of people and forcing terns of  of thousands to flee to Kenya, as reported by Al Jazeera.  All indications are that the attacks have been carried out on the orders of the Federal government in Addis Ababa.  As reported at the time, during the attack on Moyale, the 4th army division stationed  just two miles outside the town center watched silently as the militia overrun the police station and ransacked the town.  Then the militia was allowed safe passage to retreat after looting and burning the town while administrators of the Borana province who protested against the army complacency were thrown to jail where they still remain.

Similarly, prior to   the recent attacks, the local militia in Mayu Mulluqe in charge of security had been disarmed while the Liyu Police have continued to receive supply of arms and food from the federal government, according to officials of the East Hararghe province who do not wish their name to be disclosed.  residents of After the militia’s incursions into Oromia region began last month, trucks transporting weapons to the areas controlled by the militia have been reported by witnesses. Locals in Burqa Tirtira have blockaded roads preventing weapons from reaching the militia currently occupying Qumbi. Despite this, weapons have been flown in and the campaign has continued. It is believed that Burqa Tirtira town may be the next target of the onslaught. This militia is so well trained and heavily armed that, they have taken over most of the fight against the Ogaden insurgents enabling the federal government to move most of its contingents to the northern  front where confrontation with Eritrea is on the rise.  The Guardian recently  reported that the British aid money is been used to arm and train the Liyu police .

According to a source in the Somali region, president of the region and commander of the Liyu police told the Somali elders  that  the cross-boarder raids and invasions by the Liyu police is meant to reclaim territories lost to Oromia during the 2004 boarder referendum. It is to be recalled that referendum was  organized to settle dispute between the two regions over 420 kebeles in 12 districts. The referendum resulted in residents living in the 80% of the disputed areas voting to join Oromia.  The district of Qumbi was created from some of the villages that voted to join Oromia. However, the demarcation was has been dragging for the last nine years. The final phase of the demarcation was supposed to take place  this year, Hence, the recent invasions are meant to to establish fact on the ground to influence the final outcome.

However, the territorial dispute seems to be  more of a cover story than a real motive for both the regional and federal government in catalyzing this conflict. There are two motives at play, tackling the activities of  the Oganden insurgents and dispersing the growing resistance of the Muslim population. The government suspects that Oromo communities in the region has been complacent  in facilitating for  the Ogaden  insurgents to pass through and hide  within the Oromo territories whenever they are pressured in their home region. The government securities believe that local elders’ coziness   towards the Oganden rebels might be orchestrated   by the Oromo  Liberation that historically enjoys strong support in the area. Hence the regime  is reviving  the territorial dispute to frustrate the  operational alliance between the two insurgents.

Moreover, East Hararge zone has as of late been the target of the governments Ahbash indoctrination campaign and was singled out in a leaked government document  as a target zone for government “re-education” due to the so called spread of “extremism”. The report complained that administrators in charge of many of the districts in the province have been openly hostile towards and refuse to implement the indoctrination campaigns.  Therefore these attacks by the Liyu Police militia can be interpreted as an effort by the Ethiopian government to instill fear in the population and force them into submission in exchange for protection against the cross-boarder raids. If the government does at some point decide to step in and call off its dogs, they will likely try to appear as the peacemaker and the populations only source of security, while sowing hatred and distrust between Oromos and their neighbors.

Update: we have confirmed that the town of  Mino still remains under the occupation of the Liyuu police force and death on the Oromia side has reached 30 including 10 members of the regional special police. 

21 comments for “The notorious Somali region “liyu police” invades villages in Eastern Oromia

  1. amama
    January 17, 2013 at 11:04 pm

    Shocking !!! I physically know the area very well. I had been working there in one of the international humanitarian aid organization, community was suffering from recurrent drought & famine: children and lactacting mothers suffer from malnutrition, politically instable specifically the area down Hariro, in Qumbi district of the oromia. Mino town is the most insecured & instable place with lots of problems, even to address water rationing for community & thier livestock with trucks. Last year in 2011, water was rationed for solid three months for Gola Oda & Qumbi districts of Oromia region, about 14 kebeles by three INGO. Meyu Muluke is adjacent to Qumbi & Gola Oda, relatively secure with relatively dry weather road. Still dry climate, Huse is its capital.

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  3. Barento Oromo
    January 18, 2013 at 5:11 am

    The best solution to this problem is counter strike. We need to create a group to fight back. These group should not be affiliated with any organization and will strike at any target randomly. Let’s get a consensus and move forward with this idea unless you have better ideas out there.

  4. qabuu liph
    January 18, 2013 at 6:40 am

    oddun kuun oddu mootumman oromiyaa fi federala ileen dhoysuudhaan ,ummata bakka issanii irra buqaaee daaimaaniif bishanii fi nyaata tokkoo godiini hararge baha hindhiyeessin baratoonii Anaa golaa odda Magaala( Burqa) ummanii keenyaa osso dhummanuu caliifnee hin teenyuu jachuudhaan shaqaxaa irra koshoroo fi bishaan bitaanii ummataaf raabssa jiraan kunii wanii garssisu ummanii hangaam takka akka mootumaa duraa deemma jiruu nugarssisa.
    ummanii Aanaa QUMBII magaalaan guddoon aanaa kana Minoon yeroo taatu sommalootaan moohamanii hin beekan ,amma wanii moohamaniif loola kaanaan duraa nageenyii buee jiraa jachuudhaan qawee ummata oromoo irra guuruudhaan obbo Nuree Qamar (kan sabnii issa somaaleedha jedhamee hassawamuu)ummata harka duwaatii waan hanbiiseef Liyuu polisiin m.n.somalee qabeenyaa ummata fi kan mootummalee waan tokko osso hin haanbiisiin Aanaa naanoo somaalee jala jiru Gaara Leencaa kaan jedhamuutti guurtee jirtti .
    koreen naanoo irra hundooytee deemtee wardiyoota issniitiin qawee hikaadhaa seena ajjajjinii jedhamuu federal policee guyyaa 05/05/05anaa qumbii seenteen waan ajjajamaniif jachaa biyya teenyaa irratti meesha hin hiikanuu jachuudhaan koreen oromiyaa irra dhuftee taan duraan loola ummataatii jatee caliisaa turtee lolaa ummataa akka hin tahiiniifi abbotiin qabeenya kan naanoo somaalee hundii loola kana akka maalaqaan gargaara jiran fi mootuumaaniis direetii akka deegaraa jiruu himamma jira .
    kanaa malees federaal poliisiin guyya duraa dhuufuu qawee 41 fi bireelii lamaa waraana somaalee irra yoo hiikeelee boodaa kana irra manguuddo oromoo duubissu diiduudhaan soomaaloota akka gaargara jiraan beekamaadha .
    soodaan soomalee hangaa Awaashiitii laftii teenyaa jatuu tuunii ummataa birratii feederaaliiniis waan deegara jiruuf fudhatamaa argachuudhan magaala BURQAA TIRTTIRA IRRA DALDALTOONII MEESHAA ISSANII KARAA MAGAALA BADDANNOOTII AKKA FIIACHAA JIRAN BEEKAMEE JIRA .HUNADDFUU GALAATOOMII.JAWAR MOHAMMED.

  5. ber
    January 18, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    I know Burqa, these people are very desperate need help. They never bother the government, didn’t ask for service. But as usual the wayane governmnet is killling them using banditis.
    The ogaden Leyyu police is the most barbaric and the killed so many Ogadenia people. In Africa if you dont have gun to protect yourself you are done. I think people in the area need to organise themselves and defend. No body will listen from finfine as they are busy looting the few resources.

  6. January 22, 2013 at 12:28 am

    Dear Friends, We Ogaden and Oromo are brothers and sisters, mistakes happen in every party of the world, lets be more patient Coz I remember so many times Oroma’s melatia Savagely kill more innocent Somalis in Qubi, Moyaale and Qarsa-dula, even I know The Oromo took large part of Somali territories, by the name referendum, I knw I feel sorry for the victims, I think people in the the Diaspora should not talk about war and counter attacks and so on, Let only ppl in the area decide what to do next..

  7. November 17, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    i strongly agree, the best solution to this problem is a counter strike, to create a group to fight back. Oddun

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