A campaign group in South West state has dismissed as ‘misleading political rhetoric and biased information’ reports from the Federal Government that ‘some level of reconciliation had been reached’ regarding the political disputes which led to the death of at least 15 people in the lead-up to the state elections in 2018.
In a statement Tuesday, Justice for South-West State Protest Victims said reconciliation can only start with the release of Mukhtar Robow and acknowledgment by the federal government of its involvement in the violence which followed Robow’s arrest.
“The Federal Government is creating deceptive publicity by falsely stating that some level of reconciliation has been reached regarding the atrocities of 13-15 December 2018, where more than fifteen innocent Somalis were murdered, many more injured or detained illegally in Baidoa,” the statement read in part.
The arrest of Robow in the lead up to the December 19 elections by Ethiopian forces under AMISOM and confirmed by the UN sparked violence in the South West state leading to the death at least 15 people among them a state MP and the arrest of about 200 youth.
In a terse letter addressed to the Federal Government late December, then UN chief in the country Nicholas Haysom sought explanations regarding the government’s involvement in the clashes. Haysom also demanded answers from AMISOM on its involvement in the arrest of Robow.
“The SPF, the SWS police and the SWS Special Police Force were deployed in Baidoa on 13, 14 and 15 December 2018 and responded to the protests,” said Haysom in the December 30 letter addressed to the S Minister.
Haysom also sought explanations regarding the role of AMISOM in the arrest of Robow and also demanded to know what legal basis the government relied on to arrest Robow.
Haysom was subsequently declared persona non-grata by the Federal Government January 1. In their statement Tuesday, Justice for South-West State Protest Victims accused the government being in denial on its role in the December violence.
“The governments’ approach to the crisis is undermining the severity of the atrocities by reducing the needed reconciliation to “check-the-box” event through bribery and “divide and rule,” the group noted.
The group further warned the attempts by the federal government to spearhead reconciliation amounted to intrusion which ‘have caused more harm than good and its continued interference is detrimental to the security and political stability of the State’.
“Any future reconciliation must be inclusive to all stake holders, not one-sided and can only be started upon release of Sheikh Mukhtar Roobow,” the group said.