On August 14th 2018, Ogaden Youth and Student Union (OYSU) delegates headed by OYSU Chairman Shaafi Sheekh Abdi, travelled to the Ogaden region, for the first time since the organization was formed in 2010. This was made possible following Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed’s call towards inclusivity and greater freedoms throughout Ethiopia.
Many of our OYSU activists around the world have been unable to travel freely to the region due to the nature of the advocacy work they are involved in, and many of them have been personal victims of reprisals during the reign of Abdi Iley and successive Ethiopian administrations. For this reason, this trip is an opportunity for the delegates to meet and collaborate with OYSU members who have been operating secretly inside the region. Such youth are the cornerstone of our youth movement, and have consistently upheld the values of justice, peace, and freedom under extremely difficult circumstances. In addition, this is an opportunity for the youth delegates to finally reunite with their families and their homeland.
The youth delegates were received extremely well and were welcomed by OYSU youth and the citizens of Jijiga, the capital of the region. Unfortunately, during the celebration of their arrival, a handful of individuals tried to incite violence and disruption. As a direct consequence of the chaos created by theses groups, two individuals were injured.
Despite these groups’ attempts to disrupt the peace and try to intimidate the youth delegates and their supporters, this has further motivated the youth to stand strong in OYSU’s mission, which is to advocate for the rights of the Somali people in the Ogaden region. Therefore, the youth delegation plan to continue with their scheduled meetings and activities which are due to start tomorrow.
OYSU condemns in the strongest possible terms any acts of violence that may breed any form of enmity and disunity, especially during this critical time of change in the region. We wholeheartedly stand with our OYSU members in the Ogaden region as they embark upon the important task of bringing together the youth of the region.
Ogaden Youth & Student Union