Published On: Thu, Apr 4th, 2013

Ethiopia: The UK Government Project Liyu Police Peace and Development Programme

The Peace and Development Programme:

Overarching Theory of Change


The Somali Region does not suffer from major armed conflict and prospects for armed conflict on a significant scale are considered unlikely. But a number of areas constitute hotspots of low intensity conflict and large portions of the Region are prone to a combination of armed criminality, insurgent and counterinsurgent activity, and sporadic communal violence which creates a condition of not war not peace




The Somali Region is one of the largest of Ethiopia’s nine ethnically-defined states and one of its four Developing Regional States. It is also one of the poorest and most conflict-ridden regions of Ethiopia. The Region’s protracted crises pose serious security threats to its inhabitants, the Government of Ethiopia and to the wider Horn of Africa.




About 85% of this vast Region’s four million inhabitants are engaged in pastoralism or agro-pastoralism. But the Region is changing fast: the rise of the remittance economy and the role of the Diaspora, rapid urbanisation and sedentarisation, privatisation of land, small arms proliferation and commercial expansion are just some of the trends apparent in the Region today.


All of the major Somali families are found in the Region – with the Darod Ogaden clan estimated to be the largest, constituting around 50% of Ethiopian Somalis[1][1].  The Darod clan mostly inhabit the central Ogaden plateau of the Region (Fik, Deghabur, Gode, Korahe and Warder) (Annex 1 – insert clan distribution map)[2][2]. The division between Ogadeni and non Ogadeni clans – and the unease that many non Ogadenis share of Ogadeni dominance – is an important fault line in the Regions dynamics (see below).  Virtually all of the inhabitants practice Sunni Islam. 


History matters – an abbreviated history


The Somali Region became part of Ethiopia in the late 1880’s. Some Somali nationalists consider the region part of ‘greater Somalia’ (Somalia, Somali Region, Djibouti and northern Kenya).  The most recent effort to unify Somalia and the Somali region came in the Ogaden war of 1977-8. The Ogadeni National Liberation Front was established in 1984 after then Somali President Siad Barre contemplated an agreement with Ethiopia.


The establishment of the Somali Regional State in the new Federation in 1992  offered opportunities for Somali political parties to play a role in the government of the region.  The first government was a coalition between the EPRDF and the ONLF.  However, this government broke up over a disagreement regarding a referendum on secession.  The dominant political party in the region is now the Ethiopian Somali People’s Democratic Party (ESPDP) which has close ties to the EPRDF.


Following their departure from government the ONLF engaged in a low level insurgency.  The Government imposed a crackdown and trade blockade in the Region after an attack on a Chinese oil installation in 2007. The actual aims of the ONLF are ambiguous and shifting with latest indications that it aims neither to join Somalia nor to pursue radical Islam. However, some view the current Somali Regional State as illegitimate and use that as a justification to continue fighting.  They receive support from the Somalia diaspora, as well as from Eritrea.  The level of popular support for the ONLF is unclear, with some claiming that support remains limited to specific Ogadeni sub clans, whilst others claim support is more broad based.


Peace deals were agreed between the government and a faction of the ONLF (the Saledin Mao faction) and with the United Western Liberation Front in 2010 but the larger part of the ONLF remains active, who discredit both deals.  


As of 2011, low level conflict continues in parts of the Region. The government’s efforts to bring security to the region have shifted from a military to a police-led strategy, but accusations of human rights abuses continue.  Most observers agree that: (i) the conflict will only be resolved through some kind of political settlement; and (ii) in the meantime it is the poorest stratum of the Region’s population who bear the brunt of ongoing insecurity. 


Other forms of conflict in the Somali Region include inter-clan conflict primarily over natural resources and inter-regional conflict mainly focusing on Somalia. These conflicts are intensifying in part due to the decline in available natural resources, environmental stress and the proliferation of small arms. Clans are increasing trying to gain control of administrative units in order to engineer access to jobs, resources, economic opportunities, rangelands and wealth. The most important of these clashes are: Shiekash-Ogaden clashes in east and west Imi, Ogaden-Isaaq clashes in Jijiga zone, multiclan clashes in Warder zone, Afar-Issa clashes in Shinile zone and Garre – Oromo and Boran-Digodia clashes in the Liben area. These mainly clan and sub-clan clashes account for far more fatalities than the insurgency and counter-insurgency. 


Governance in the Somali Region


Since 1992, the SRS Government has been characterised by a series of short lived administrations. The current ruling party, the Ethiopian Somali Peoples Democratic Party, with representation from most clans and comprising a new generation of younger educated professionals, has been more stable. It has made some progress in bringing development to the Region, with a focus on establishing local government structures, building capacity and delivering what they can given budget constraints to (most of) its people[3][3]. However, development in the five conflict affected zones lags behind the rest of the region.  The discovery of significant oil and gas deposits in the Region offers an opportunity for economic growth but may also be a cause of popular discontent and an additional resource over which communities can compete. 


Conflict fuels underdevelopment and underdevelopment fuels conflict


The cost in development terms has been high. The Somali Region has not made the impressive progress against the MDGs that other parts of Ethiopia have.  The insurgency is a factor in this, as is the cost of reaching remote dispersed communities.  Ethiopian Somalis have traditionally traded with Somalia and the Middle East rather than with Ethiopia.  However, most traders are not formally registered meaning that they operate outside of Ethiopia’s stringent trade regulations, while ongoing insecurity along the border and in Somalia makes both formal and informal trade challenging.  The pastoral economy suffers most with trade and movement regulations making it increasingly difficult to access traditional markets and cope with localised droughts.  Over half of Ethiopia’s humanitarian caseload comes from the Somali region. 


The Theory of Change

The Peace and Development Programme aims to address the nexus of conflict, poor governance and underdevelopment in the Somali Region (‘the problem’) and contribute to a more peaceful and inclusive Somali Region (‘the impact’)[4][4]. This section discusses a theory of change which is based on what needs to happen in the medium term if we are to make progress towards this impact and is based around the need to address four fundamental and underlying dynamics[5][5], [6][6]:


Firstly that governance lies at the heart of the problem. The regional government has not been able to implement its policies in all parts of the region.  This is due to a number of factors including, capacity constraints at different levels of government, a high turnover of personnel, the need for improved public financial management, clan politics and continued insecurity.  Observers are united in their harsh judgement of the Somali Region administration, but divided in their explanations: some blame the prevalence of former civil servants from Somalia and the clannish and corrupt habits they imported; some point to lack of experience, education and low administrative capacity; and others blame manipulation, patronage politics and divide and rule tactics.


Secondly, that the low level of development and limited access to resources, services and economic opportunities are promoting grievances which left unaddressed will undermine the prospects for peace. These inequities have political, clan and social dimensions. And Geography matters: There are three distinct areas of the region: (i) the more stable secure commercially vibrant and rapidly growing Jijiga areas in the northern part of the Region and the Jijiga – Berbera corridor (Jijiga and Shinile zones); (ii) the less conflict prone and to some extent more commercially active southern parts of the Region – Afder and Liben zones and parts of Gode; and (iii) the Ogaden – the vast and impoverished conflict prone central areas of the State[7][7]. 


Thirdly, that insecurity in the Somali Region occurs at multiple levels which are closely interconnected. The most endemic forms of conflicts are communal and clan clashes at the local level but these are often indistinguishable from the regional and international insecurities that affect the region.


Fourthly, that the political environment for change in the Somali Region is shifting.  The federal government has integrated accelerated development for the DRS into its current five year plan, helping DRS governments to put in place strategies to bring the periphery into parity with the interior.  Potential oil and gas deposits and increasing diaspora interest in business opportunities in the Somali Region add pressure to create a conducive business environment.  Continued conflict poses a threat to this.  At the same time, the exploitation of natural resources will fuel conflict if policies behind it are not sensitive to conflict. 

The PDP will need to engage with each of these dynamics if it is to support progress towards a more peaceful and inclusive Somali Region.  The PDP will aim to catalyse and build upon positive developments (e.g. work within the Regional Governments commitments plans and capacities, reinforce the growth of the private sector and support the ongoing rollout of basic services); demonstrate new ways of working that put good governance at the heart of interventions (e.g. build on local institutions and capacities, support regional government capacity building) and work to reverse or at least reduce the risks to progress including that posed for example by the discovery of oil and gas resources, the entrenched conflict economy, the continued sense of grievance arising from the behaviour of armed groups and the growing inequity within the region. 


The Somali Region is vast and needs are immense. The starting point for PDP’s approach  is to look for areas were there is significant potential for changing the dynamics of the conflict/underdevelopment nexus rather than aim for an all singing all dancing integrated type of development programme.  We have identified support/engagement in the following areas as offering significant potential for demonstrating a new way of working.


Support to Security and justice – without improvements in the basic levels of security in Somali Region, there is little prospect for enduring social and economic development.  Trusted, accessible and transparent security and justice mechanisms will increase community trust in government and strengthen community cohesion as disputes are less likely to become politicised.


Support to economic opportunities – the inability of pastoralism to support the numbers of people it has in the past is leading to an increasing number of unemployed, often young men, who are increasingly moving to urban areas to find work.  Those young people who are unable to find work pose a social problem in urban areas (through crime and other anti-social behaviours); many of them travel overseas where some may be recruited by armed groups or fall into other forms of exploitation.  Alternative opportunities need to be created for unemployed people (particularly young women and men), but also for drivers of change (i.e. women).


Support to basic service delivery – there is little hard evidence to demonstrate a causal link between service delivery and peace building, but what is generally clear is that the comparatively low levels of basic services at the community level will deepen grievances and contribute to enhanced fragility –especially as is the case in Somali Region where access to services is improving at a national level.  More equitable and visible access to services (especially to water) can build confidence in the Government to deliver.


Good governance must be at the heart of how the PDP works across these intervention areas. Addressing the elements of good governance as outlined above offers significant potential for beginning to change the dynamics of conflict, but is also integral to the chances of delivering tangible and visible results in areas that matter to people. 


There are important linkages between these three intervention areas and we will seek to build synergies between the areas – for example supporting vocational education for youth to equip them for the job market; mainstreaming approaches for tackling gender based violence in the service delivery work; and working to improve the security environment to support access to services. PDP will aim to work in three or four clusters located in each of the broad geographical areas identified above. 


But good programming will only go so far. It will need to be complemented by wider high level political engagement both as an enabler of the PDP, but also to take advantage of opportunities flowing from the PDP. We need to harness political will to resolve the situation in Somali Region.  The counter-insurgency strategy and the handling of oil and mineral revenues are two critical areas of GoE strategy which have the potential to fundamentally change the situation in Somali Region over the coming years. This will involve cross-UK government engagement with the range of political and security actors with a stake in the conflict.

PDP’s theory of change is summarised in Figure 1.



Approaches for delivering basic services which build on local knowledge, are sustainable, conflict sensitive, and can be scaled up 


More supportive business environment and opportunities for pastoral drop outs, youth and women


Greater professionalism and accountability of security actors to communities


Policy and institutional  reforms and enhanced capacity


Equitable and visible improvements in access to services, rule of law and livelihoods


Political will and capacities of Federal, Regional, opposition and local stakeholders to transform conflicts 



More peaceful and inclusive Somali Region


Improved and enabling governance


Different ways of working


Resources plus cross HMG engagement










Positive change in the Somali Region will likely be incremental. The impact of a more peaceful and inclusive Somali Region may indeed be beyond HMG’s control. We need to be realistic about what the PDP can achieve over the next four years;




        The focus of the initial phase of PDP will be on learning, building coalitions, relationships and trust with Federal and Regional stakeholders.


        Given the complex underpinnings of the conflict and the current political situation, the PDP will demonstrate a new way of working which can deliver results and establish some momentum for change which can be built upon and scaled up in subsequent years.


        Not everything will go well – and PDP will need to be open to changing tack and taking new opportunities as they arise.  This approach will be underpinned by retaining the ability to fund new initiatives quickly and flexibly and by ensuring a proactive approach to risk management that enables the PDP to respond (as best it can) to shifts in the operating environment. 






[1][1] Menkhaus K (2006) Somali Region State: Conflict Assessment and Trend Analysis.

[2][2] The Somali Region is indeed often referred to as the Ogaden.

[3][3] As a designated developing regional state the Ministry of Federal Affairs is also a key player, with advisers working within the regional administration.

[4][4] Indicators of amore peaceful Somali Region will centre on peoples’ perceptions of safety and security; and indicators of a more inclusive Region will track progress of key economic, political and development indicators – looking at both equity within the Region and between the Region and the rest of Ethiopia.

[5][5] These premises are founded on the extensive research carried out on the Somali Region under the Peace and Development Inception Programme and the findings of the WDR (2011) which recognises the strengthening of legitimate national institutions and governance in order to provide citizen security, justice and jobs in breaking cycles of violence.

[6][6] The outcomes identified in Figure 1 are drawn from our analysis of the underlying dynamics.

[7][7] Ironically it is the Ogaden that contains the most the most promising   prospects in terms of oil and natural gas reserves.

By Haudland

Displaying 10 Comments
Have Your Say
  1. Omer Hussein Dualeh says:

    The 5th Province of Ethiopia is not concurred in 1880s the report says, but there is Reserve Area that belongs to the people of Somaliland and was given to Emperor Haile in February, 1954. The then Somaliland Constitution clearly state that this part can be negotiated with Ethiopia by the new-born State of Somaliland. Unfortunately, our people have rejected that Independence, and joined those of Italian Somalia, but still this land has to be negotiated with Ethiopia, and if the people who live there still want to be part of the Federal Ethiopia, they should get their rights fully, and should not be dominated by Ogaden. People of Reserve Area do not have conflict with Ogaden, but it seems since this local government under Federal Ethiopia, there is one tribe that considers everything belongs to them.

    • Naasir ali says:

      All 5th Province of Ethiopia is call somali reserve area it was handed over to Ethiopia by the British. A How could be possible Isaq in reserve area or even somaliland addmin will be able negotiate Ethiopian government since Isaq in reserve area are only 10% out of total population 5.4 million somalis live in reserve area?

      The best way work together and live as they done for centuries.

      • mohamed cheers says:

        Naasir Ali,
        Brothda u r as confused as the ONLF,Liyu Police and the Somali Region Kilika5 Govts.
        The Reserved Areas remain the Somaliland demarcation boundaries before annexed
        to Ethiopia in 1954 by the UK Colonial Govts. Clearly the Reserved Areas have no
        connections with the historical backgrounds of the Somali Region Kilika5.
        Please think again and accept the true modus operandi of the subject matter.

  2. PuntlandGeezer(PIS) says:

    Isaaq are affected by a problem called envy & hatred for their fellows daroods they hate everything Darood stands for and will never coexist with Darood so let them flip from the cage and fly like a free bird. we don't need (Isaaq) people anymore because it's obviously they show a complete disregard for somali people so Somalia should remove them from their lives we should give them what they've always wanted their deluded white trash colonial village Hargeisa, Burco, Berbera , Ceerigaabo and Gabiley are predominantly Isaaq villages so this is where we redraw Somalia's borders and Isaaq's borders But the
    SNM cockroaches and their hardcore students fascists Dhugtame, Buuxiye, Hodan, Mohameed cheers etc if you donkeys don't accept the demarcation of the Isaaq and Somalia border then the 800,000 residents of your village (Hargeisa) will disappear from earth. No Joke!

    • mohamed cheers says:

      The 1988s Roadmap signatories joint treaty accords between Gen.Siade Barre, Kenya, Ethiopia,
      Djibouti to strangle the SNM back to the SDR borders for the SDR Military powers in the North
      to execute a final crashing blow to the chain commands of the SNM for good riddance which
      miraculously failed due to the suicidal SNM factions led by a group of SNM Military hardware
      commanded by Muj Ahmed Mire and Civilian mastermind planner politician MUj Abokor Afdhalle
      who during that confused period took a daredevil hike dive into the Togdheer heart screwing up the whole Northeastern SDR Military garissons. Three days later, The other SNM fighters of the Northwestern Regions followed suit to attack the Hargeisa Marodiland SDR garrisons. From then onwards, the
      whole Somaliland were fully liberated out of the brutal SDR Military Regime.
      PS..PuntlandGeezer(PIS)..if you think that stupidity of the 1988 would gain another momentum…
      forget it bcos the democratic of Somaliland is now more stronger Nation and Country than a single
      SNM fighters.

  3. Brooks says:

    Dear Omer Hussein Dualeh

    Why is it important now to raise Robert Howe’s Horn of Africa configuration of colonial times especially now when Somaliland it self struggling through system integration social and political identity in self verifications and Ethiopia has no de facto control of its 5th administrative region?.Why raising this question is important now?.Thanks.

  4. Irir Samaale says:

    These Liyu Police are not loyal to anyone except the highest bidder they're mostly made out of ex ONLF WSLF fighters.

    Somalis of all walks of life should start a fundraising campaign so that we can outbid the Woyane regime in order for the Liyu Police to once again become a freedom fighter only this time with a well oiled machine on their backs.

    Remember the Liyu not only are they nearly 15000 strong but are also a heavily armed experienced fighters if they switched sides tomorrow i reckon in less than a year Somaligalbeed could be free but hey that's my wish so shoot me.

  5. Sahra says:

    This entire clan mentality is sickening. Somali wexey noqdeen xayawaan la'isku diru marku gaal dantiisu ay tahay. Waxaasna waa laga xagli fiicanyahay. SubhanAllah Ilahay ka baqa

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