MOGADISHU; Somali Cabinet of the Ministers on Wednesday defended the transfer of Somali-Ethiopian rebel commander to Ethiopia last week which brought public outrage.
In a statement released by the Office of Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire following an extraordinary meeting, the cabinet justified the hand over of Abdikarim Sheikh Muse based on “previous joint agreements between Ethiopia and Somali Federal Government” which recognizes armed groups such as the Al-Qaeda affiliate militant group Al-Shabaab and Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) as terrorist organizations.
According to the statement, the cabinet presented two agreements with Ethiopia – one in June 7th, 2015 and the second on May 2nd, 2016.
“The agreements recognized that the two armed groups Al-Shabaab and ONLF are threat to the national security of the two countries [Ethiopia and Somalia], and that the two governments maintain joint collaboration and deal against the two groups.” the statement added.
LINKS WITH AL-SHABAAB
The cabinet alleged Abdikarim Sheikh Muse as a rebel figure who had links with Al-Shabaab in Somalia.
“He [Abdikarim Sheikh Muse] has organized acts against the national security and has long been doing these acts inside the country.” the statement said “He had links with Al-Shabaab.”
Ethiopian government considers ONLF, an ethnic Somali separatist rebels fighting for self-determination of the Somali-Ethiopian region, as a terror group. Somalia has never listed the group as a terrorist entity.
The statement is the first one from Somali government since the ONLF officer was transferred to Ethiopia on August 27th after he was arrested by the National Security Agents in Galkayo on August 23.
EXISTENCE OF THE AGREEMENTS
On Tuesday, Former Somali internal security minister of interior Abdikarim Hussein Guled has rejected the existence on any known extradition agreements between Somalia and Ethiopia.
Mr. Guled was reacting to Somali-Ethiopian regional state president Abdi Mohamud Omar’s comments who said the transfer of the ONLF officer was inline with agreements with Somalia in 2015 when Mr. Guled was the Somali Internal Security Minister.
“The agreement the Somali-Ethiopian president Mr. Abdi Mohamud Omar referred was neither about extradition of prisoners nor was it national level. It was a truce-like agreement between the two regional states [Somalia’s Galmudug and Ethiopia’s Somali state] following violence at the border.” Mr. Guled emphasized.