Sunday January 23, 2022
The cabinet also declared the rendition of senior ONLF member Abdikarim Sheikh Muse - better known as Qalbi Dhagah- as illegal.
Mogadishu (HOL) - Somalia’s government has announced a reversal of its controversial 2017 decision to place the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) on its national terror list.
Somali’s cabinet voted overwhelmingly on Sunday for the resolution, with only one vote dissenting and another abstaining.
The decision was immediately welcomed by the ONLF, who hailed it as a ‘landmark decision.’
"ONLF commends The PM of Somalia and his cabinet. This is a historic landmark decision that the Somali people in Ogaden will cherish for centuries to come. This is a lesson to those who transgress against the just rights of peoples.”
Qalbi Dhagah was handed over to Ethiopian authorities on August 28, 2017, following a raid by Somali forces on his hotel in Galkayo, central Somalia. Qalbi Dhagah’s rendition was met with uproar both online and through protests in Somalia’s capital.
The federal government doubled down on their decision, saying that Qalbi Dhagax was a terrorist threat to regional security.
A 15-member parliamentary committee formed in September 2017 found the rendition to be illegal and accused Somalia's intelligence apparatus of acting unilaterally and providing misinformation to facilitate the unlawful transfer.
Somalia’s then intelligence chief Abdullahi Mohamed Ali 'Sanbaloolshe' distanced himself from the controversial extradition once he was out of office, saying that the decision was made at the very top of the federal government.
In early 2018, Ethiopia’s PM Abiy Ahmed removed the ONLF from the list of banned groups in Ethiopia - where it has waged an insurgency for succession since 1984 - as part of his reform drive to welcome Ethiopia’s former enemies to join the political arena. In return, the ONLF promised to pursue its political objectives peacefully.