Exclusive: documents seen by the Guardian detail £13 – £15m government funding for ‘special police’ in Ogaden regionThe Ethiopian army withdrew from teh Ogaden region after compalints againts soldiers” conduct – to be replaced by the ‘special police’. Photograph: Peter Delarue/AFP/Getty Images
Ben Quinn
The Guardian
Millions of pounds of Britain’s foreign aid budget are to be spent on training an Ethiopian paramilitary security force which stands accused of numerous human rights abuses and summary executions.

The Guardian has seen an internal Department for International Development document forming part of a tender to train security forces in the Somali region of Ogaden, which lies within Ethiopia, as part of a five-year £13 – 15m “peace-building” programme. The document notes the “reputational risks of working alongside actors frequently cited in human rights violation allegations”.

Dfid insists that the training will be managed by NGOs and private companies with the goal of improving security, professionalism and accountability of the force but Human Rights Watch has documented countless allegations of human rights abuses.

The Ethiopian government’s counter-insurgency campaign in Ogaden is spearheaded by the “special police”, also known as the “Liyu police”, which was created after federal security institutions effectively withdrew from the region following strong condemnation of the Ethiopian army’s conduct. The force is commanded by Abdullahi Werar, vice-president of eastern Ethiopia’s Ogaden region, who visited London this week.

The document says of the Liyu police: “The special police is a force of some 10-14,000 young Somalis mostly recruited from within the conflict zone (aka the Ogaden sub-region) using recruitment methods similar to those of insurgent groups.

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