Somalia Confirms Capture, Deportation of Ethiopian Rebel Leader

MOGADISHU (Capital Markets in Africa) – Somali agents captured a senior Ethiopian rebel leader and handed him over to the authorities of his home country, the head of Somali intelligence said.

Abdikarim Sheikh Muse, a member of the Ogaden National Liberation Front’s executive committee, was detained in the central town of Adado, 500 kilometres (311 miles) north of the Somali capital, Mogadishu, on Aug. 25, National Intelligence & Security Agency Director Abdullahi Mohamed Ali told reporters Wednesday. He declined to provide more details, saying the matter was “very sensitive.”

The ONLF condemned the arrest and said Somalia’s government contravened United Nations conventions by returning Sheikh Muse to Ethiopia, according to an emailed statement.

The outlawed ONLF has fought a low-level insurgency in the eastern Ogaden region of Ethiopia since 1984, seeking greater autonomy. The region, which borders Somalia, contains an estimated 4.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves, which the Ethiopian government plans to start extracting by next year. In April 2007, the group attacked a site operated by China’s Zhongyuan Petroleum Exploration Bureau, killing nine Chinese workers and 65 Ethiopians.

Somalia and Ethiopia have no official extradition treaty and the government violated the constitution by returning Sheikh Muse, who is also known as Qalbi Dagah, to Ethiopia, said lawmaker and former Internal Security Minister Abdirisaq Omar Mohamed.

“Somalia’s parliament will deal with this matter and hold them accountable for transferring Qalbi Dagah to Ethiopia by violating the law of the land,” Mohamed said on his Twitter account.


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