The traditional Issa elder Moustapha Mohamed Ibrahim, based in Dire Dawa, has drawn the wrath of Addis Ababa.
The creation of three kebele (small administrative entities) administered by the Issa within the Afar Regional State is a cause of ongoing concern for the Ethiopian authorities.
During his official visit to Djibouti on 7 February, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn asked Djibouti President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh (Issa) to intervene with the Ethiopian Issa.
He wants Ismaïl Omar Guelleh to persuade them to accept the federal arbitration decision ordering the Somali Regional State to hand the three localities situated on the Addis Ababa-Djibouti highway back to the Afar Regional State.
He even pointed a finger of accusation at the Ogas Moustapha Mohamed Ibrahim, based at Dire Dawa and the ethnic group’s highest traditional authority. He considers the Ogas fuels Ethiopian Issa resistance to handing back these localities.
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For his part, the President of the Somali Regional State, Abdi Mahmud Omar, known as Abdi Ilay, deems the Ogas an ally of “anti-peace elements” principally one of the leaders of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF, opposition) currently living in Sweden, Riyaleh Hamud.
This situation benefits Mohamed Hassan Hersi, the son of a former Ogas who had unsuccessfully tried to inherit his father’s function.
Now the Ethiopian regional government’s new intermediary, at the end of January he was invited to meet Abdi Ilay and his team in Shinille. On this occasion, the latter introduced him to an Ethiopian Federal Government delegation consisting of Addisu Legesse, a member of the executive committee of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF, ruling coalition), the Minister for Federal Affairs Shiferaw Teklemariam and Tsegaye Berhe, national security advisor to the Prime Minister.
During this meeting, Abdi Ilay made no secret of his intention of helping Mohamed Hassan Hersi to become the next Ogas after the general election in May.