Press Release from Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia(ARS)‏, “A Year of Resistance Against Ethiopian occupation”.

A Year of Resistance

Halkaan ka akhri

S  O   M  A  L  I  A:

A Year of Resistance Against Ethiopian occupation

Statement Delivered by:

Dr. Zakaria Mahamud Haji Abdi

1st Deputy Chairman of ARS

(Alliance for Re-liberation of Somalia)

Background:

The collapse of the Somali state in 1991, followed by bitter divisions and colossal civil war among the people, has caused devastating dissolution of socio-political and institutional structures, breakdown of economic infrastructure, and disintegration of national unity, which in turn promoted environment of instability, insecurity, reign of terror and dominance of ruthless warlords.

As a result of this hundreds of thousands of innocent lives were lost, an influx of millions of refugees and internally displaced peoples were flooded in outside the country, the country fall apart forming cantonized clan based fiefdoms, and finally fallen under full occupation of Ethiopia, a historical archrival enemy of Somalis, with unreserved explicit political, military and material support of the United Stated and its western allies.

The unprovoked US assisted Ethiopian occupation of Somalia has intentionally undermined and aborted the first collective locally initiated Somali driven with exclusive public support in restoring peace, law and order and bringing normalcy back, an efforts attempted in 2006 by religious and nationalist groups in Mogadishu, known as Union of Islamic Courts.

In these circumstances, the decision to pull forces and resources together, amalgamate and join hands for the liberation efforts in order to restore the independent sovereign united Somali state.

The founders of ARS were representatives of all the Somali social segments comprising; the Islamic Courts, the Free Parliamentarians, the Somali Diaspora and civil society representatives, from inside and outside the country.

At this crossroad critical moment, it was an imperative long overdue attainment, a historical political turning point and a monumental step to the future of Somalia as a people as well as nation state to have such gathering under one roof.

Therefore the formation of the ARS as an Alliance for Re-liberation of Somalia by the Congress of Somali Re-liberation and Re-construction last September this year, here in Asmara, was not only the right direction for the Somali people, but also the only political option left for Somalis arising from the need to have a representative national political organization under which all Somalis are united in order to liberate their country from the Ethiopian occupation and restore independence, statehood, freedom and hope for the Somali nation.

Although, ARS was founded in a relatively short period of time by these bona-fide patriotic Somali nationals who are from diverse political and ideological backgrounds, it has moved forward firmly and steadily facing all the challenges that are blocking its path.

However, the challenges confronting ARS are many, both in immediate/short and medium/long terms. Only to mention some, the immediate challenges are: political, organizational and Institutional re-structuring within the ARS, uniting Somali people, and the most important of all is the re-liberation struggle.

One year on from the illegal and reckless Ethiopian occupation to the Somali Republic proved to be disastrous in all aspects. States and organizations, which supported and cooperated directly or indirectly including those who turned blind eyes of this occupation in the name of international community, are now surprised the gravity of human sufferings and unfolding scale of the security and socio-political crisis in Somalia.

Watching clips from the major international news media, the world community was shocked by the war crimes that the Ethiopian occupation forces have committed with impunity against innocent, unarmed Somalis in Mogadishu on daily basis.

And yet this is a fraction of the reality on the ground. Two thirds of the capital city, Mogadishu, was demolished, entire neighborhoods were flattened, and thousands of innocent civilian lives were literally butchered and massacred.

Thousands were injured and maimed, while unaccounted number of men and women were abducted. Arbitrary gang raping of women and boys as young as 10 years old are documented as this is a normal ‘psychological warfare’ practice by the Ethiopian occupation forces.

Under intense and indiscriminate shelling, over one and half million of Mogadishu residents are also displaced from their own homes to face certain death of hunger, health epidemics and harsh weather conditions in the outskirts of Mogadishu and yet what remained from their properties were looted by the invading Ethiopian forces.

Moreover, Ethiopian occupation forces have not even spared the Islamic values and shrines. To add injury to insult and humiliation, they have deliberately converted mosques into lavatories using the holly Koran pages as trash toilets papers.

In assertion to above I would like to cite a selection of excerpts from voices who oppose this barbaric occupation:

Firstly; Congressman Donald Payne, Chairman of the Subcommittee on African and Global Health, of the United States Congress, recently commented on the crisis in Mogadishu, and I quote:

 “Innocent civilians in Mogadishu are being killed and maimed by Ethiopian security forces and the militia of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG).  The atrocities being committed against innocent civilians in Mogadishu are war crimes and crimes against humanity.  It is shameful and criminal to use tanks and heavy artillery against civilians.

Mogadishu is another Darfur in the making.  It is sad to see that no one seems to care about the untold suffering of the helpless in Somalia. 

Unfortunately and sadly, the people of Mogadishu are not even allowed to bury their dead relatives and neighbors.  We must not turn a blind eye to the suffering of innocent civilians.

Since the Ethiopian invasion of Somalia, thousands of civilians have been killed and maimed and hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes. 

The abuses that are being carried out by the TFG and the Ethiopian security forces are worse than during the dreadful days of the warlords. 

Instead of working towards peace and reconciliation, the TFG and the Ethiopian forces are engaged in collective punishment of innocent civilians.

 

 

Unquote

 

Secondly; On December 3, the UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, John Holmes, concludes a one-week visit to the Horn of Africa. Last month, UN officials described the situation in Somalia as the worst humanitarian crisis in Africa.

The humanitarian suffering we see in Somalia and Ethiopia’s Somali region is the direct result of serious international crimes,” said Steve Crawshaw, UN advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “Concerned governments and the UN Security Council need to press Ethiopia and Somalia to end these abuses and ensure accountability for their armed forces.”

The report continues: “in November, tens of thousands of people from Mogadishu have drove out yet again. The November clashes have been marked by increasing brutality toward civilians, including summary executions and enforced disappearances of individuals by Ethiopian forces.  

These heinous crimes and horrendous atrocities will reverberate in the minds of many Somali generations for many years to come.  

ARS Position & Future Vision:

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Our position and vision for the future Somalia is a crystal clear and summarized in the following points:

1.      Ethiopian occupation forces must simultaneously disengage and withdraw immediately and unconditionally from Mogadishu and all Somalia’s territory.

2.      Individuals and institutions responsible for the monstrous atrocities and who have committed War Crimes against Somali people should be investigated, apprehended and brought to justice in a court of law.  

3.      Ugandan and recently arrived Burundian forces must pull out from Somalia. However, an AU or other regional or international peace keeping forces, with specific mandate with explicitly unequivocal rules of engagement, could only be brought in after a negotiated political settlement is reached among the Somalis.

4.      ARS is committed for a Somali/Somali dialogue, promotion of peace reconciliation, and restoration of law and order with credible national unity government.

5.      ARS urges international community to genuinely assist the legitimate struggle of the Somali people in ending foreign occupation and calls for immediate humanitarian aid relief for the millions of displaced people by the Ethiopian occupation forces.  

6.      ARS emphatically believes and envisages that an independent, sovereign and democratic Somalia peaceful, prosperous Somalia with democratically elected government.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to conclude my remarks

Unless the Ethiopian government withdraws its occupation forces from all Somali soil, ends these appalling crimes, and accepts its responsibility of the war crimes that they have committed against Somali people, it will be too little, too late, with devastating instability and irreversible insecurity consequences for the whole Horn of Africa region.

SomaliSwiss@hotmail.com

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