By Ahmed Abdi,

The Ogaden Somali communities around the World held a memorial to remember the lives that Ethiopian security forces killed in their country of origin.

Ogaden Somalis in Sweden, Canada, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Finland and  Kenya’s Nairobi and Ifo held the event last week. Communities in the UK, Yemen, and many others countries are preparing to hold it in the next coming days.

Ethiopian Security Forces most barbarously murdered thousands of civilians in their towns of Werder, Gunagado, Kebri Dahar, Garbo, Galalshe, Malkaka, Birkod, Gudis, and Kamuda in the Southeast, neighboring Somalia.

Most of those executed were accused of supporting separatist rebels fighting Addis Ababa.

Tigray-ruled Addis Ababa recruited thousands of young men, most of them aged between 15-25 to fight brutal wars against the very strong freedom fighters, Ogaden National Liberation Front, ONLF in the Southeastern Ethiopia.

The discovery of oil and gas in the restive Ogaden region is also fuelling the conflict. Dozens of Foreign Oil Corporations that entered into agreements with Addis Ababa were eventually pulled out from the Ogaden basin for security reasons.

Despite escalating armed conflict in the Ogaden, Ethiopian government sealed off the region from the rest of the world and denied all international aid workers and the independent media to have access to the region, which is home to 7-8 million Somali ethnic population.

On January 2016,  The EU Parliament voiced the increased presence of armed security forces, political repression by the Ethiopian government in the Ogaden and Oromia regions and tabled a resolution after carefully studying and debating on the human rights breaches in Ogaden and Oromia. Ethiopia officially rejected the EU’s 15-point resolution.

The Ogaden Somali Communities around the World hold annually the memorial event which starts from February and continues through the early months of the Year.

They intended to raise awareness for the hidden genocide in the Ogaden which has been going on for the last 24 years.

The ONLF has been fighting with the regime since 1994. The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people since then. Peace talks between ONLF and the government stalled in October 2012.

According to Human Rights Watch and Amnesty, International Ethiopia is responsible for “Gross Human Rights violations”, forcing hundreds of thousands of refugees to flee the Ogaden region. Kenya is currently hosting close to 100,000 refugees from Ogaden.

The UN’s humanitarian arm, UNHCR, neglected many of those Ogaden refugees in the neighboring countries, including those living in Yemen’s Sana’a and Aden/Kharaz, and caught up in the Yemen conflict.

In last January, delegates from Kenyan negotiating team led by Mohamed Yusuf Haji, a former State Minister for Defense and member of parliament representing Garissa County, Ambassador Ali Bunow Korane, Kenya’s Special envoy to the Horn of Africa and Ambassador Mohamed Abdi Affey, the IGAD envoy to Somalia visited Ethiopia and then Jigjiga possibly to pave the way for the resumption of the talks to end one of the Africa’s longest-running conflict.

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