land grabbing, a phenomena that is often associated in countries with weak governments, not only displaces impoverished people, but also leads to protracted conflicts and endless wars between communities.
The Oromo regional administration in Ethiopia, has recently began constructing a water reservoir in the Somali region territory at the Marar valley in Tuli Guuleed district of the Faafan province. This project, although is being build in Somali territory, has been carried out without the involvement of the Somali Region and over the head of the local Somali people in the area, where the Oromo is building the reservoir.
The digging of the reservoir, which was previously put on hold after strong opposition from the Somali residents of the area, has once again been resumed by the Oromo administration, in the Somali region, where they have no business in building such project. As if to give the project the stamp of the Oromo regional authority, the head of Jinacsani district, in Oromo region, has visited the project.!
As many in the area suspect or fear, the objective of the project, from the Oromo authority perspective, is to push out the Somali residents from their land and replace them with Oromo settlers, and as a fait accompli claim the ownership of the area in the end. If that was to happen, it would amount to land grab and ethnic-cleansing of the Somalis from their land.
Unless stopped, there is increasing fear that the digging of the reservoir at Marar valley, could reignite once again the tension that raged in the past between the communities of Somalis and Oromos in the districts of Tulli Guuleed and Jinacsani which has been calm for a while.
It was in August, 2021 when Oromo officials arrived Golmaayo and Derbiga of Tuli Guuleed district, and planted their flag, declaring their intention to implement a project at the site, while the Somali region authorities were nowhere to be found!
What many Somalis in the region find amazing and unfortunate is the apparent abdication of President Mustafe Cagjar and his officials to defend Somali territory from the blatant land grab and consequential ethnic-cleansing that would follow arising from Oromo actions at areas in the Somali region.
What would equally be bitter for the Somali people to take is that while their president is ready to sacrifice countless of his Somali people to defend Addis Ababa against TPLF attack, he is not prepared to protect Somali territory not far from the capital Jigjiga, and that of Moyale which are all in the process to be lost to the Oromos.
While in office, president Cagjar has proved himself to be a man of failed leadership, lacking confidence and courage in himself and routinely pliant to the Oromo’s repeated territorial transgression. For that reason few expect him to be different this time.
Keeping his post, and being on the right side of Abiy Axmed, are more important for him than defending the inalienable rights of his people.
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