By Ahmed Abdi,
A MOURNING for the massacred Civilians in Ogaden region were held in Johannesburg, South Africa on Wednesday, which highlighted the atrocities that continue to affect the people in the Ogaden region.
February is Ogaden National Day of mourning, following killing of innocent civilians mainly women, children and elderly by the hands of the Ethiopian occupying forces in Kebri Dahar and Werder towns in September 1994.
The event was hosted by the Ogaden Youth and Student Union (OYSU) at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) Campus and was invited International NGOs, Lawyers, Human Rights organizations, members of government organizations, ONLF Spokesperson , Ogaden Women Association,(OWA) and Ogaden Community in South Africa (OCSA), Somali and South African students from University of Johannesburg.
The event opened with a presentation from the Chief organizer of the ‘Ogaden Massacre Day’ and OYSU representative, Mr. Abdirisak Aden, who gave detailed accounts about the atrocities that is taking place in Ogaden and the past human rights violations, which were extensively reported, published, documented and denounced by leading Humanitarian and Human Rights NGOS the likes, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Genocide Watch.
After guest speakers, poems and presentations the OYSU representative Halganto Zamzam asked the honorable officials from Human Rights Lawyers, ONLF Spokesperson, Ogaden Women Association and Ogaden Community in South Africa to answer questions from the audience.
Abdulkadir Sheikh Hassan Hirmooge, ONLF Spokesperson, who has been in South Africa since early of February spoke to the audience.
“Ethiopia’s scorch-earth policy is continuing for decades now. As the most powerful country in Africa, we call on South Africa to play its role,” said Hirmooge.
In February 2012, Ogaden Community in South Africa filed a complaint, comprising 700 pages of evidence against Ethiopian Security Forces in Ogaden and was lodged with the director of public prosecutions, according to Al-Jazeera English report.
According to a report published on Ogaden News Agency, the OYSU has renewed filing a complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC) with the help of South African Lawyer.
“We will pursue to those who have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ogaden region of Ethiopia and bring them in front of justice,” said Siyad Badal, a South African Lawyer based in Johannesburg.
Abdirahman Sanweyne is one of the audiences attended in the event he said, “without U.S. – UK money, Ethiopian security forces could not be able to commit crimes including extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detention, rape, torture, disappearance, the destruction of livelihood, the burning of villagers, confiscating livestock and forced marriage.
Donors mainly U.S and United Kingdom gives up to 3 billion dollar to Ethiopia annually and he urges U.S and UK to stop funding Ogaden genocide.
” They are the ones that can do something about it. They can press Ethiopia to refrain from committing more atrocities against Somali people in Ogaden region,” said Mr. Sanweyne.
Finally, the audience watched a shocking footage regarding the Ethiopia’s ethnic cleansing policy towards Somali people in the Ogaden region.
Ogaden Today Press published Youtube video about another mourning Ceremony that was held in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.
The Ethiopian authorities deprived the Ogaden people both civil and political rights and has imposed an embargo on commercial and population movements to control the Ogaden region.
Ethiopia government also has expelled from the region all International NGOs and Humanitarian Agencies including International Red Cross and Medecins San Frontieres (MSF) or Doctors Without Borders.The Ethiopian authorities have sealed off the region to International journalists as well.
Ogaden region, which is under 50% Ethiopian Army’s control since 1954, borders Somalia, Kenya and Djibouti and the people never really accepted an Ethiopian identity since the British forcefully handed them over to Ethiopia in 1954.