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Rising tension in Ethiopia; Regional leader arrested, Internet shut down

There is rising tension in Ethiopia as emerging reports say former president of Ethiopia’s Somali regional state, Mahamoud Omar, a.k.a. Abdi Illey, is being held under federal custody barely twenty-four hours after he resigned his post

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There is rising tension in Ethiopia as emerging reports say former president of Ethiopia’s Somali regional state, Mahamoud Omar, a.k.a. Abdi Illey, is being held under federal custody barely twenty-four hours after he resigned his post.

“Officials from Ethiopia’s Somali region told the Ethiopian Somali region media that Abdi Mahmud Omar who resigned 6 August as a governor, was arrested by Ethiopia’s federal military,” the state-run ESTV website reported.

“Officials from the Somali region in Ethiopia have confirmed to us reports of the arrest of Abdi Mahmud Omar,” the report added.

Illey who has been president of the region since 2005 agreed to step down in the wake of a face off between federal forces and notorious regional paramilitary unit, the Liyu police.

Read Also: Will South Sudan know peace? Questions asked as Kiir and Machar sign accord to end brutal war

Despite his resignation, the former leader according to reports maintained his position as leader of the ruling party in the region, Somali People’s Democratic Party.

Meanwhile, authorities have shut off Internet access in the troubled region, residents said on Wednesday, a sign of the challenges facing reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in containing ethnic tensions in parts of the country.

The residents, one speaking from Oromia region and the other from the city of Harar, said the connection had been down for three days — the first time access has been cut off since parliament lifted a state of emergency in June.

Violence broke out on Saturday in Jijiga, the capital of Ethiopia’s Somali region, with mobs looting properties owned by ethnic minorities. Security officials shot dead four people, a witness told Reuters.

Ethiopian authorities allege the unrest had been stoked by regional officials,
government spokesman Ahmed Shide declining to comment on the internet shutdown, first reported by digital rights group Access Now.

Politics

Tunisia’s Interior Ministry alleges threats to President Saied’s life

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The Tunisian Interior Ministry has alleged serious threats to the life of President Kais Saied as concerns over a mounting political crisis in the North African country grows.

The Ministry said the country’s intelligence apparatchick revealed that both internal and external elements were involved in plans targeting the president.

Ministry spokesperson Fadhila Khelifi said in a news conference that “the goal was to undermine Tunisian public security by eliminating the President.”

Though Khelifi did not give out names of the purported planners, he however assured that they would soon be rounded up and made to face trial.

President Saied has been having a running battle with the opposition in Tunisia with opponents accusing him of a coup for seizing most powers last summer to rule by decree and preparing a new constitution that he plans to put to a referendum next month.

This year alone, Saied has moved to consolidate his powers by dissolving the parliament, annuling the electoral commission and taking also taking the war to the judiciary by sacking 57 judges after accusing them of protecting Islamists.

Critics have also accused him of clamping down on the opponents with the arrest of leading opposition figures and a widespread crackdown on the opposition parties.

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Senegal’s opposition leader calls for nationwide mega protest on June 29

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Despite clashes between government security forces and anti-government protesters which led to the death of three people last week, Senegal’s main opposition leader, Ousmane Sonko, has called for a fresh demonstration to be held on June 29.

Sonko who came third in the last presidential election in the country and has a large followership made up of mainly youths, had also called on citizens to bang pots and pans in protest on Wednesday which was a huge success, prompting in his call for the July 29 showdown.

“On the 29th of July, with or without authorization, we are going to organize our demonstration,” Sonko, a leader of the PASTEF party said in a press conference on Friday.

“If President Macky Sall wants to prevent this affair, he should be ready to arrest us or terminate us.

“Let the whole of Senegal rumble and let Macky Sall understand that the Senegalese people do not agree with his dictatorial designs or his ill-fated plan for a third term,” Sonko added.

Though the police has banned protests in the West African country citing risk of unrest, Sonko and other opposition figures have called on citizens to come out enmasse for the demonstration.

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