Ethiopia: Impact of the Hidar 29 Celebration on the Civilian Population in the Somali National Regional State
To understand the reward system, we need some back ground information.
So is there an explanation as to why the army generals go to great lengths to keep Abdi M Omar in office?
What did they do to the people?
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing- Edmund Burke
The Faallo.com team has invested huge resources to compile and present a report on the impacts of the Hidar 29 Celebration event in Jigjiga two weeks ago. During the time leading to the event, especially the two months preceding the event, decision makers in Jigjiga have designed and implemented a plethora of strategies that was dubbed to be preparation activities. However, as we will try to document and present below, most of these decisions have had far-reaching costs on human-and-civilian rights. Social, economic, as well as psychosocial impacts of these decisions will be exposed to the wider world. Indeed the main reason we chose to write this report in English is that, first, we have written many article on these issues in Somali language, and secondly, this time, we want the wider world to know what is going on in this part of the world. All in all, this event was a show for some including the House of Federation whose name is used to justify the celebration; for some, it was a medium to show they are in charge including the army Generals in Harar and their pupets in Jigjiga. Yet for others, they simply had no choice, they just were ordered to attend and they were there only for that reason. This category included the chief-administrators in Hargaysa (Siilaanyo), the chief-administrator in Garowe (Faroole), the interim chief-administrator in Kismaayo (Madoobe), and others. Finaly, for the majority, i.e., civilians in Somali National Regional State (aka, Soomaali Galbeed aka Ogaden) they were the victims of the event itself and all it symbolizes including EPRDF.
Ethiopian Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Celebration Day (ENNPCD) is a yearly event that coincides with Hidar (the third month in Ethiopian Calender) 29th. This is the day when the current constitution drawn by a Constituent Assembly was adopted by the Transitional Government of Ethiopia, led at the time by the late Meles Zenawi, who was then the transitional president of the EPRDF led, but TPLF dominated, government.
Although this day is said to commemorate the adoption of the constitution which first came into force in 1995, there has never been such a celebration between the years 1995 and 2006. In fact it was only on march 30th 2006 that the House of Federation in their second general assembly of that year recognized this day as a national day. The first ever ENNPCD was held 8 months later, i.e. November 30th 2006, in Addis Ababa, and was hosted by none other than the House of Federation itself.
To understand the motivation of establishing this day as a national constitution day, almost ten years after the adoption of the constitution, one has to look at the events that took place in Ethiopia during this ten year period. Probably the most significant event, and the one that is believed to have pushed the EPRDF to conceive of this celebration, is the 2005 election, which many argue as being the only near-democratic election in Ethiopia in a long time.
Although the future was uncertain at that time, we now know that this election has changed the way business is done by EPRDF. The election’s result has sent a shock wave across EPRDF cadre, and this wake-up call has made the EPRDF to resort to every possible means by which they could consolidate their rule over the Ethiopian masses. We have witnessed violence, intimidation, mass arbitrary arrest, etc. For those who knew EPRDF, this was not new. However, what was new was, in parallel to these abuses, the government has looked into itself and asked why ordinary people are against them. The EPRDF was not in short of technocrats. These masterminds put forward a plethora of ideas aimed to gain support of the people. The idea of ENNPCD was born in 2006, right after the election in 2005!
Since then it has become a big political event that is promoted as “the people’s day” but in fact it is EPRDF’s day, and the whole event is a platform to propagate both the “good” and the “bad” EPRDF propaganda.
Ethiopian Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Celebration Day (ENNPCD) and Somali National Regional State: It is Jigjiga’s Turn.
It has become a norm that Jigjiga and Somali National Regional State (SNRS) come always last. This time we cannot confirm whether it is a coincidence or as a result of policy design. But we can confirm that Jigjiga comes also last category when it comes to hosting ENNPCD, as it the 8th city to host the day. Well that is not a big issue for the people of SRS. The big issue is how their excitements are turned unexpectedly into nightmares.
Impact of the Hidar 29 Celebration on the Civilian Population in the Somali National Regional State
Our findings acknowledge that, upon hearing of an important upcoming event to be held in Jigjiga, there has been a temporary excitement in some circles of the city. The business people of the town in general, and the hospitality sector in particular, have on the outset welcomed the celebration as an opportunity to boost their dwindling profits that is already burdened by ever worsening economic situation in the region. A man made economic crisis attributed to short sighted fiscal management that paved the way for heavy-handed multi-taxation schemes and high inflation unparalleled elsewhere in the country, not to mention the myriad of restrictions (mainly blockade) imposed on free trade and institutionalized monopoly of businesses whereby only few favored individuals are issued a business license that gives them an unfair advantage to operate in a region more than twice the size of the Republic of Ireland.
The hopes and excitements of Jigjiga business people were served a blow few days after the announcement of the event. The Regional Administration led by Abdi M Omar has ordered evacuation of all government offices and declared they will be used as guest houses for event participants. This meant profit speculations of hospitality sector was short-lived. The acts that followed this order indicate that there was some cover-up going on. Most prominent cover-up was the replacing the office names with false cover-up names, that seemed to have chosen ad hoc and uncoordinated.
Asked the logic and reason behind the cover-up, contacts close to the administration informed our investigation team that the cover-up was directed particularly towards the delegation from the Federal institutions. The contacts further described how the federally allocated budget for the event is misappropriated and used for personal reasons. This budget was partly meant to cover the hotel and other stay related accommodation needs of the expected guests. Since this budget is misplaced, the informants added, the administration saw an opportunity in abusing its power which is often does, and thereby through their power order the evacuation of public offices and use them as hotels by changing their set-up as well as names to mislead some of the Federal delegation. Insiders added that some of the Federal officials are long-time partners of regional corruption, therefore, only some Federal officials were considered threat to the on-going corruption.
The office transforming drama was not an isolated act. Acts of mismanagement, power abuse and human and civil rights abuse carried out in the name of Hidar 29 event were multicolored.
Especially notable were rampant human and civil rights abuse. The Faallo.com team observed an increase of reported harassment of civilians throughout the region. However, incidents in Jigjiga Zone skyrocketed in the days leading to the celebration. Arbitrary arrests of residents in Jigjiga and surrounding reached at alarming rates.
The so-called Liyu Police (especial police), whose members are trained and rewarded on the basis of their toughness towards civilians have found themselves in an ideal environment, where they could arrest, beat, torture anyone as they wished. For many Liyu Police members, their motivation of doing such abuses is personal. For some, it is professional; because the reward system is based on encouraging acts of power-abuse and human rights violation.
To understand the reward system, we need some back ground information.
To understand how reward system works in the Somali National Regional State, and particularly within the ranks of the Liyuu Police, the best example is the Chief Administrator himself. Abdi M Omar, who heads the region, is the de facto leader of the force. All Liyu Police orders emanate from him. In return, he takes his orders directly from the Army generals in Harar. The Army Generals, ethnically Tigrayans and politically members of old guard Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF), are the de facto rulers of the Somali National Regional State (Ogaden). Apart from directly committing population-wide crimes in Ogaden in their fight against armed movements in the region, these generals have benefitted mainly from a power-vacuum in the region.
The power-vacuum is created partly by the on-going violence in the region, and partly by the peripheral geography of the region, which is far from the center, and isolated from the rest of Ethiopia, thereby leading to weak or lack of direct Federal influence in the region. Hence the main influence of the Federal government in Ogaden has been an indirect one, i.e, through the Army, which, at least, in Ogaden, acts as an independent entity .
All these factors, coupled with clan susceptibilities among the Somali population has given rise to absolute power to be concentrated in the hands of the few Army generals, who apart from their military upper hand, also became experts in the clan system of Somali people, which they manipulate as they wish whenever they deem it necessary.
The extent of the influence of the Generals in the region and in Federal affairs was demonstrated by the Army Generals overturning an executive order by the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Dessalegn, ordering the removal of Abdi M Omar as the Chief Administrator of the Somali National Regional State. This, again, shows that Abdi M Omar is in charge not because of popular vote by the people, nor by the wish of the Addis Ababa prime minister, but the backing and blessing of the Army Generals in Harar.
So is there an explanation as to why the army generals go to great lengths to keep Abdi M Omar in office?
Sufficient evidence gathered by the Faallo.com team clearly shows that the Generals in Harar are only keeping their interests, not necessarily that of Abdi M Omar or anyone else’s by that matter. Abdi M Omar is simply the best partner they could ever imagine to safeguard their interests.
Abdi M Omar, publicly known as Abdi Iley, has a track record of being one of the most ruthless persons to ever operate in the region. His notoriety made him ascend to power and make him not only one of the most feared figures in the history of the region, but also one of the most corrupt personalities to ever have walked on the soil of the Somali National Regional State.
Abdi M Omar is favored by the generals because of these traits: he is loyal, ruthless when it comes to abusing power and violating human rights, sometimes is willing to take risks to fulfill his objectives, extreme egoist willing to do anything to anyone to gain status for himself, tribal-minded who can subjugate other clans, even sub-clans from his own clan, open about being anti-Somali, despite being himself a Somali!, etc., and many other traits that the generals will not find in an average Somali person, regardless clan belongingness.
The relationship between the army generals and Abdi M Omar can be summarized in this:
The generals will give Abdi a maneuvering space and power to
1. First satisfy the needs of the generals and associates
2. And then satisfy his own needs.
Notice the sequence of the objectives. In order for Abdi to reach any goal he wants, there a preceding goal he has to fulfill for the generals and associates .
One of the tools given to Abdi is the Liyuu Police. Therefore, combined, Abdi and Liyu Police are tools working for the generals. Abdi is a tool used directly by the generals to fulfill their interests, and the Liyuu Police are in turn, tools used by Abdi to achieve, first the objectives of the generals, and secondly his own objectives.
The relationship between Abdi and the Liyu Police is by all means similar to the relationship between Abdi and his master generals. This is a manifestation of the classical concept of leadership by example, simply put like father like son. Probably, that is why all Liyu Police staffers address Mr. Abdi as “Aabbo” –a Somali word literally meaning father.
What did they do to the people?
So these Liyu Police members, having orders, and keeping the reward system in mind, have carried out indiscriminate mass arbitrary arrests of civilians in the capital city of the region, Jigjiga. It should be stressed here, almost any major clan in the town was represented in these mass victimization, and the findings of the Faallo.com team can refute any suggestions by individual clans claiming of their clans being targeted single-handedly. Every civilian in Jigjiga, except the perpetrators, have directly or indirectly suffered either physically or mentally, during the harassment campaign of the Liyu Police in the days leading to Hidar 29 event.
The usual justification when breaching civilian rights has been labelling unarmed civilians of being sympathizers, or even worse members of rebel movements. This was also true in this event. Nevertheless, what was unique here was the widespread accusation of entire peaceful residents to be silent cells created by Alshabaab, a notorious group that are wreaking havoc in Somalia, but which never enjoyed a popular support in the Somali National Regional State, especially, in Jigjiga.
Moreover, it should be mentioned the administration led by Abdi M Omar not only abused public property, but also a wide range of civil servants rights were violated. Firstly, when the offices were closed, civil servants were ordered to take an involuntary leave without salary. Members interviewed mentioned they simply had no choice. Several affected individuals mentioned how their basic civil rights were violated, but they said they could not dare to oppose, or make their concerns public for fear of retributions on themselves and their families. This happened exactly on 27th of October, 2013.
As if this was not enough, 2 days later all civil servants were recalled to attend an announcement to be made by the Chief Administrator Abdi M Omar. Many expressed worry of what might become of this announcement, since they always were alert of selfish and not-well-thought-of decisions by this man that affected their lives so adversely that some even told they had many nightmares about this guy and his backers.
The outcome of the announcement was hardly surprising, when he ordered all civil servants, regardless of their age, gender and capacity roam the city all night and participate the upkeep of the security of the town. An analyst later told our team that the intention was in fact not to keep security, as there was neither need for the civil servants to patrol the town, nor the trust in them to do so. To support her argument, the analyst pointed on two parallel factors that go against the declared objective of the announcement. On the one hand, many Liyu Police contingents were moved to Jigjiga, and everywhere you go in the town, it felt as if there were more Liyu Police staff than civilians. On the other hand, the civilians ordered to patrol the town were actually, unbeknownst to most of them, temporary prisoners. Every group of civilians allocated to patrol certain areas of the town were attached to armed Liyu Police members. Our analyst added further that this was a calculated preventive measure, because, she said, after the office evacuations, rumors of uprising by discontent civil servants spread, and the administration decided not to risk these people plotting against them. They then made this hasty, but relatively well-planned move whereby civil servants were matched as groups consisting of individuals with mostly no previous relationship, and were assigned to areas they know least, while every move they take is under the clear sight of the Liyu Police, who were secretly ordered to execute if they sense any civilian members organizing what resembles of an uprising.
It has to be also noted this strategy had an unintended effect, a far-reaching psychological effect. Many civil servants later detailed the harrowing experience they had by witnessing a widespread human rights violations perpetrated by Liyu Police. One young newly employed recent university graduate, shared how shocking and humiliating it was to witnessing of a rape case by a group of Liyu Police in one of the remote corners of Jigjiga. He said it was about 7 soldiers against a young, beautiful but vulnerable, lone girl. He estimated her age to be about 17-20 years old. Besides, he said, although she looked very attractive and clean, you could tell by her dresses that she either came from low-income family or from the villages neighboring the town. He recalls how he tried to intervene the situation and confront the Liyu Police to stop raping the young, defenseless Somali girl, but he said he was almost killed. However, he added, he was fortunate to have the leader of that Liyu Police team to as his kinsman, who after slapping him in the face, and calming the rest of his staff, warned him not to ever interfere with the actions of Liyu Police, whether he likes them or not. The leader made to him clear that they have an order from their “Aabbo” to shoot on the spot anyone who shows signs or feelings that are against or can undermine the actions of the Liyu Police. He said after that incident, he has given up his vision of bright future in his motherland. In the eyes of this young university graduate, he cannot spend the rest of his life witnessing more humiliation by what he called a powerful bunch of animalis, i.e. Liyu Police. He concluded that since the general society does not seem to be ready for change and take necessary collective action, my only option is to migrate to another civilized society where few individuals do not abuse power, and where the human being can thrive as an equally respected person.
As mentioned earlier, there was no differentiation of civil servants ordered to “patrol” the town. Hence many women could not escape the fate faced by that young graduate. But it is reported some have even found themselves in the place of that defenseless girl. In some places it was reported that in entire Liyuu Police sub-groups, only women civil servants were assigned to join the for the “patrolling.” Although we tried to investigate rumors in the town that many of these women-only groups were raped, we could not confirm the existence of such cases. Some interviewed acquaintances were not willing to share information; others were risky for our investigators to approach them.
The Hidar event has not only left its tragic trace in many civil servants. We mentioned that no one was spared, although with varying proportions and degrees, some directly affected, others indirectly. A common effect felt by almost everyone is the restriction of movement in the region. Unlike other regions in Ethiopia, the Somali region has more business and social connection to the rest of Somalia than mainland Ethiopia.
The autonomous self-declared independent Somaliland shares an important border with the region, as is the rest of Somalia and Djibouti. But Somaliland is more significant when it comes to movement of people and goods in that it is located in the part of Horn of Africa that borders Jigjiga Zone, where the capital of the region Jigjiga is situated. Between Jigjiga and and Hargaysa lies one of the most important bustling crossings in the Horn of Africa, namely, Wajaale Border Town. Here, every day, people and goods cross either side of the border, and in fact many households in Jigjiga travel to Wajaale, at least once a month, we were told, to shop consumption items which are cheaper in Wajaale. On the other hand, businesses in Jigjiga are increasingly dependent on goods imported through Berbera, largest port in Northern Somalia, which is administred by the self-declared independent Somaliland administration.
Our investigation team from Faallo.com has faced many challenges to quantify the economic impact of the border restrictions on the people on both sides of the border. These challenges stem from lack of data to support with the ground observations, which in turn is caused by unwillingness from some the affected businesses to share data. Here, we have to emphasize that we were able to get some limited data from confidential sources particularly in Wajaale Border crossing, but we chose not to report results based on this, since we were not able to verify whether this data we had was representative for the whole affected population, and such uncertainties call for caution when making generalizations that could be biased. However, what is clear and without the slightest doubt is that the economic impact of the restrictions have had a far-reaching implications on the wider population. Although it could be argued to be a zero-sum game, the only reported positive consequence of the restrictions is the fact that for the first time since the fall of the central government in Somalia in 1991, there was a politically motivated supply-side restriction on qat (khat). The Faallo.com team is aware of the fact that this is just one of the unintended spillovers of the restrictive policies implemented in the name of Hidar 29. An externality so negative to the Ethiopian Revenues that raised some eyebrows in high-level offices including the Ministry of Revenues and even, we were told, resulted in scolding the technocrats in Jigjiga who are responsible of the event planning.
We would like to make it clear that this positive effect is not a consensus among the population, especially in Hargaysa, where the impact of the restriction on khat was felt highest. As has been the case in the past, some people in both Hargaysa and Jigjiga welcomed the change, i.e. lack of Khat in the market, citing the negative effects of khat including economic, health, psychosocial and overall productivity at both individual as well as society levels. Those complaining about the unfair implication of Hidar event on khat distribution are unsurprisingly involved in the khat sector, although a great number of these can be classified as khat addicts, especially in Hargaysa, where the majority affected there were the Khat consumers, while in Jigjiga, the affected are mainly khat distributers who lost significant earnings from Khat as a result of the movement restrictions.
Besides those directly selling and buying goods in the restricted markets, a huge number of the affected people are the vehicle owners operating in the transport sector, not to mention the energy sector business-owners who supply fuel to the transport sector. For almost a month these people had suffered from constant losses, mostly as a result from slackness, i.e., idleness of resources. While the ill-planned, inconsiderate and mismanaged policies implemented in the name of Hidar 29 event have brought the transport and enegy sector business to a halt, the businesses had to incur fixed costs such as rents and overhead costs, and some of the business-owners, especially the morally robust ones among the big players had to pay their employees’ salaries, although these employees were simply idle, and were not allowed to fulfil their day-to-day duties.
In the last five years, private operated transportation has been improving in Jigjiga, thanks to the introduction of Bajaj (a tri-cycle form of taxi imported mainly from India) into the market. The Bajaj is cheaper, more fuel-efficient and easily accessible. A conservative estimate of Faallo.com team in Jigjiga ranks Bajaj as the most widely used type of transportation in Jigjiga. From the public point of view, one of the widely felt implications of the military-style policies on transportation in Jigjiga is the restriction of the Bajaj. In the start, Bajaj was restricted to operate only between 09.00 am and 04.00 pm. Even during these hours Bajaj operators were required to operate only in officially designated places. These places were so limited that many saw no reason for operating within this framework, since, according to some informants in this sector, no reasonable profit could be generated by going along with these shenanigan rules. Some Bajaj owners reported that they later found that the designation was well planned to benefit the Liyu Police, in that they strategically selected the meeting junctions of Liyu Police, who could sometimes use the Bajaj without paying the fare. No sight of profit coupled with the rist of facing harassment from Liyu Police many Bajaj-owners chose not to come out of their homes.
There were many victims in the Bajaj area. But as can be expected the usual large scale victims were the wider public who depend on the Bajaj for their daily movement in the town, be it personal as getting the kids into kindergarten, or business.
As if this was not enough, government employees were ordered to park government cars or face dire consequences.
This decision applies to all cars with government-code plate number. This, again, was done so in the name of the Hidar 29 event security. In the eyes of the majority in the general public, this was probably least significant decision that could cause critical criticism towards the decision makers in Jigjiga. Many interviewed, expressed no discontent on this issue, the explanation of the most interviewees being that this is their property (government property), and they can be excused in managing their property as they wish. Most people claim that their problem with the administration is not how they manage their property, but how they abuse their power in interfering the individual liberty and freedom. However, the Faallo.com team would like to stress here the need for educating the public on what government and government’s property really is. If the simplest definition of government is a collection of individuals representing the interests of the people in a given territory, then it is clear that it is in fact the public who collectively own the so-called government property, and a democratically elected representative government can only be expected to act on behalf of those who they represent.
The above inconsiderate emergency decision to ban any movement of cars with government-code plate shows how those whose hands power is concentrated are never there for the people. This decision had had a very dire impact on many patients who needed transportation, especially those with emergency needs. The few ambulances that are functional today in the region are government owned , and the above order translates to no movement of ambulances throughout the entire region, and this must be upheld until another order is issued after the Hidar event. The ban was initiated long before the event. That means more than a month until the Hidar celebration, no patient was allowed to be transported with public ambulances. We have heard a lot of fatalities resulted by this ill-conceived decision, and even confirmed few incidents including a woman with complicated pregnancy that was being transported from Ararso to Jigjiga by an ambulance. The ambulance and personnel as well as the patient were all arrested en route to Jigjiga. As we discovered later, this ambulance was in fact not aware of the decision, but that could not make them scape from the wrath of Jigjiga administrators. They were sent back to Ararso and prisoned there. We also learned the patient was also among the prisoned, although we head she was released later; we cannot confirm this at this stage.
The stories we report here are only the tip of the iceberg. For instance Ararso is relatively nearer to Jigjiga, a fact that makes communication and spread of information easy, whereas areas further from Jigjiga such as Wardheer, Liibaan, and Afdheer (and in many other remote areas), face even more challenges, as they are far less developed making, for example, the need for ambulance transportation even more important. We tried to get as much information as possible from all areas in the region. During, the compilation of this report, it was reported that Wardheer and Afdheer are among those areas that suffered most about the restrictions. For instance, our team was told that although residents Wardheer seek advanced health services from bordering areas inside Somalia such as Gaalkacyo and Boosaaso, they also faced huge abuses in terms of restricting their rights to move freely and legally. What is worse, we were told, places like Wardheer are so far from the eyes of Jigjiga and Addis Ababa, where at least international NGOs and diplomats have access to information, that the Liyu Police have even more power there and commit worst crimes there.
As is known, the Hidar 29 celebration has taken place in Jigjiga, and one could wonder why an event in Jigjiga could affect the lives of an entire populations so far away from Jigjiga, as in the case of Wardheer, Afdheer, Liibaan and the likes. One may argue this areas border other countries, and border crossings are important for security, then the natural question against this argument is, then why not protect the borders, and not oppress ordinary people that only mind their legal businesses? Given the knowledge we have on how the administrators in Jigjiga came to power, and their past and present history, the only explanation for the actions of Abdi M Omar and colleages is that they have grown and still grow by abusing the human rights of the innocent civilians with the powers they derive from the Generals in Harar who, as we made clear, have vested interests in the oppression of the people of the Somali National Regional State.
Further, the reporting team also found out that, contrary to expectations, people not directly involved in business activities were hurt economically by the restrictions. Many individuals claimed they were affected economically because they were independent on someone who is involved directly in the businesses affected. Additional interviews and later observations confirmed this. In fact the culture here in Somali National Regional State is can be characterized by individual-income-co-consumption. What this means is that, since there is rampant unemployment, only few people have some sort of income, be it direct salary, or other forms of income such as wages for laborers or income from independent sources such as businesses. In this region, it is not uncommon to see a single individual supporting a large family, usually consisting of extended relatives. Thereby, it is not hard to imagine how any factor affecting the single bread-winner can have bitter consequences on the rest of the family members.
Back to the transportation sector, some people had to innovate to survive this restriction crisis. As cars could no longer be used as transport means, people started to use more and more donkey transportation. This innovation can be classified a mix of product and process innovation in that people were reverting to using existing means of transportation type which initially was not a target for the restrictions. This innovation was actually brought about by the forces for demand and supply in the market. Demand of transportation was at its highest, while no one could supply because of the restrictions. But some people, particularly those with lowest income, were already using donkeys to transport their water from other the outskirts of Jigjiga. As other types of transportation were restricted more and more people had to use donkeys for water and other necessary goods. Water was especially very important for households as the town have been facing water shortages ever since it became the capital of the region. This opportunity, however limited it might have been, was not a long-lasting one for the people of Jigjiga. Soon after realizing the innovation of transportation, the decision makers in Jigjiga declared war on donkeys and their owners. The consequences were even far reaching as Abdi M Omar and colleagues with the help of Liyu Poilce have extended the curview in Jigjiga far beyond Jigjiga, and for the first time in the restriction period, neither donkeys nor ordinardy farmers living in the villages near Jigjiga were not allowed to move into and out of Jigjiga until the event is over!
As we have tried to report above, some sectors have felt the consequences of the ill-sighted decisions by Abdi M Omar and colleages in Jigjiga more than others as a result of the so-called Hidar 29 Celebration. However, we have to acknowledge that the actual impact the restrictions made in the name of this event are definitely far greater than we could possibly report. All in all, this event was a show for some including the House of Federation whose name is used to justify the celebration; for some, it was a medium to show they are in charge including the army Generals in Harar and their pupets in Jigjiga. Yet for others, they simply had no choice, they just were ordered to attend and they were there. This category included the chief-administrators in Hargaysa (Siilaanyo), the chief-administrator in Garowe (Faroole), the interim chief-administrator in Kismaayo (Madoobe), and others. Finaly, for the majority, i.e., civilians in Somali National Regional State (aka, Soomaali Galbeed aka Ogaden) they were the victims of the event it self and all it symbolises including EPRDF.