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Meeting the Victims: Ogaden to Dadaab in Search of Peace

Meeting the Victims: Ogaden to Dadaab in Search of Peace
It was dark when I arrived at Wilson Airport, Nairobi for the 7am United Nations charter flight to Dadaab. I was in Kenya to meet refugees from the Ogaden region of Ethiopia and record their stories. Accounts of false imprisonment, murder, rape, torture at the hands of the ERPRDF government: stories, which would prove deeply distressing.

An inhospitable land, the Ogaden region is home to around five million Ethnic-Somalis, and has been the battleground for several armed conflicts between Somalia and Ethiopia since the 19th century. There is natural gas and oil under Ogaden soil: is the Ogaden yet another oil-infused battleground?

A hidden war, the people’s suffering irrelevant in the eyes of Ethiopia’s donor benefactors, who see their ally as stable and ignore wide-ranging human rights abuses.

Mainly pastoralists, the people of the region live simple lives tending their cattle and moving along ancestral pathways. Most have never been to school, cannot read or write and live hard but honest lives in tune with the land. They want simply to be left alone, and allowed to live peaceful dignified lives.

Shocking Stories

A fleet of white UN 4x4s met the incoming Nairobi flight and drove us along the pitted dusty road through Dadaab town to the main United Nations Humanitarian Committee for Refugees (UNHCR) compound. With a population approaching 500,000 in the five sites Dadaab Refugee Camp collectively forms the largest temporary settlement (22 years temporary) in the world.

A small open room in the middle of one of the courtyards suffices as a workspace. Noor, a tall man in his forties, was eager to talk about his experiences. Strong and proud, he had worked for the local government in Fiiq province, Ogaden. All regional government activities, he said, are supervised by the military, “they control everything.” Arrested without charge in 2010, he had been imprisoned for two years in barracks, where he “was repeatedly beaten. After two years I was released and confined under house arrest, but managed to escape.” Noor had witnessed the killing “of a 14-year-old girl, by the Ethiopian military. She had set up a small business – a kiosk. The military suspected she received financial support from the ONLF [The Ogaden National Liberation Front, which has been fighting for self-determination since 1984].”
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9 year old gilr and 7 year old boy gang raped

Fathi Ahmed Hassan Arab, a nine year old in Qabridahar town, was gang raped by Ethiopian soldiers an...

Last Updated ( Thursday, 27 March 2014 13:28 )

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OYSU-San Diego and the Walk to End Genocide

OYSU-San Diego and the Walk to End GenocideSan Diego, CA- The 3rd annual Walk to End Genocide was held in San Diego on March 23rd 2014. This ev...
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Poisoned and thrown out of the jail Ogaden

A report I am receiving now from Jigjigga (The headquarter of the puppet administration installed by...
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Ogaden Massacre day held at University of Minnesota

The Ogaden Youth & Student Union in correspondence with the University of Minnesota Human Rights Cen...
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Public Demonstrations Rock the PAP Summit in South Africa

Public Demonstrations Rock the PAP Summit in South AfricaThe streets of Johannesburg took notice of a very large and organized protest conducted by the Ogade...

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 18 March 2014 22:33 )

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A Devastating story of the jail Ogaden in Jigjigga

A Devastating story of the jail Ogaden in Jigjigga Few days ago, as I was searching news and information about the situation in ogaden through the regi...

Last Updated ( Sunday, 16 March 2014 19:43 )

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Civilian Detentions and Looting reported in Karin bilcile Village.

Ethiopian military and its associated militias are reported to have detained many civilians in Karin...
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Angry Protests Greet the Pan African Parliament Summit in South Africa

Hundreds of members of Ogaden Community in South Africa staged a well organized protests in front of...

Last Updated ( Friday, 14 March 2014 21:29 )

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Frontline Club Oslo: Ethiopia

Frontline Club Oslo: Ethiopia from FILM.as on Vimeo.

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Walking From The Ogaden In Ethiopia: Seeking Peace In Dadaab

he “firstly travelled by camel – given to me by my brother, to Danod in Wardheer. This...

 

A Place To Call Home: images and interviews of refugees from Ogaden

 

Genocide Watch calls on UN to initiate action against Ethiopian Dictator

March 23, 2009E-mail:genocidewatch@aol.com Website: www.genocidewatch.org

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