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Anger, shock over map showing Somalia as part of Ethiopia

Wednesday May 29, 2019 - 22:26:37 in Latest News by Super Admin
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    Anger, shock over map showing Somalia as part of Ethiopia

    MOGADISHU – Somalis expressed anger, disbelief and shock over an incorrect Ethiopian map showing their country as a part of their arch-foe, calling it "an act of aggression" that lays bare Addis Ababa's "expansionist tendenc

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MOGADISHU – Somalis expressed anger, disbelief and shock over an incorrect Ethiopian map showing their country as a part of their arch-foe, calling it "an act of aggression" that lays bare Addis Ababa's "expansionist tendencies and colonialist mentality."
It’s not clear how long the colored map was on the website of Ethiopia’s foreign affairs ministry, but its existence is likely to give further ammunition to many Somalis who are already against President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo’s overtures to Addis Ababa, which they consider as an enemy illegally occupying their territory.

The ministry removed the map on Sunday, replacing it with another that included Somalia and other countries whose names were left out in the original map.

"It’s an act of aggression,” said Lawmaker Zakaria Mohamud Haji Abdi, who saw the map before it was taken down. " The Ethiopian map means we don’t exist. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw it. I am still in shock and angry.

"Ethiopia gobbled up a Somali territory and tries to swallow the rest. But that won’t happen. It’s living in cloud cuckoo land. It will never ever be able to occupy Somalia again,” Abdi said.

Abdi, who warned of "dire consequences”, said Addis Ababa risks losing the Ogaden territory it occupies if it doesn’t change its behavior toward Somalia.

Abdi also said such a "flagrant provocation” raises questions about the sincerity of the words of Ethiopia’s new Prime Minister Abiy, who promised to dismantle destructive polices of the former Tigrayan-led regime and to open a new chapter in relations between the two neighboring countries.

The map will be a slap in the face for the proponents of the much-vilified initiative to economically integrate the Horn of Africa nations, especially Donald Yamamoto, the U.S. Ambassador to Somalia who appears to have made the issue of merging Ethiopia and Somalia as one of his top priorities.

"We can’t ever be a part of Ethiopia. Everyone knows the history between our countries,” said Aden Ali Aden, a shop-owner in Mogadishu.

Under the headline "African Countries”, the map — which clearly spells out the names of all African nations except Somalia and several other countries — seems to recognize the northwestern Somali region of Somaliland as an independent country, separating it from the rest of Somalia that it incorporated into the Ethiopian map.

"The map violates all international norms and laws. It’s illegal for Ethiopia to claim Somalia as its own land,” said Mohamed Alim, an independent Somali analyst. "It is a clear indication of Ethiopia’s expansionist tendencies and colonialist mentality.”

Alim, who also saw the incorrect map, urged the Somali government to urgently protest the Ethiopian blunder.

"The Somali government can’t keep silent on this blatant violation of its territorial integrity by a nation known for its desire to annex Somalia,” said Alim.

Alim said the Ethiopian ministry’s "belated decision to remove the map from its website doesn’t change the fact that landlocked Ethiopia always wanted to capture Somalia to have access to the sea.”

The Somali government did not yet comment on the map.

"It is unacceptable and wrong. Somalia is a sovereign nation,” said Abdiasis Ahmed Omar, a fourth-year information technology student at Mogadishu’s Horsed International University. "The map is a danger to our country and our future. I am a Somali. I’m not an Ethiopian or Kenyan. And I am proud of my nationality.”

Ethiopia, which still occupies a Somali territory since the 19th century, made no secret of its ambition to annex Somalia. With the military support of the United States, Addis Ababa invaded Somalia in 2006 and occupied much of the southern regions, including the capital, Mogadishu, for two years before being expelled by angry Somalis.

The two countries were never good friends to begin with and Somalia continues to claim the Ogaden region, which is now under the Ethiopian rule, as a part of its territory. Mogadishu went to war with Addis Ababa several times, the most important of which was the 1977 war.

Since he came to power in 2017, President Farmajo has been trying to forge strong ties with Addis Ababa amid stiff opposition from the Somali public. In June last year, President Farmajo allowed Ethiopia to invest in four Somali seaports, sparking a wave of angry reactions from Somalis who were opposed to the deal.

On Sept. 5, 2018, Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea agreed in Asmara, Eritrea, to "foster comprehensive cooperation,” promote "regional peace and security” and "build close political, economic, social, cultural and security ties.

The U.S.-backed integration issue is, however, yet to get the crucial buy-in it needs to succeed from Somalis and Eritreans who are disinclined to acquiesce to any political or economic integration that could weaken their hard-won sovereignties.

Earlier this year, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed proposed a political and economic integration for Horn of Africa nations.

"There is no need to have different army in Ethiopia, in Eritrea, in Djibouti. I don’t believe in this,” he said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where on Jan. 23 he delivered a speech on his country’s progress since he took office in April last year.

He added: "There is no need to have a foreign Embassy here in Switzerland for each of East African countries. We can share because we are poor. We have to allocate that resource to chang(ing) the lives of our society.”

Somalis dismiss the proposed integration as a capitulation to Ethiopia. On Dec. 9, dozens of irate lawmakers filed an impeachment motion against President Farmajo, accusing him of cutting secret deals with Ethiopia and Eritrea. Although the lawmakers later withdrew their motion, yet the Somali public’s concern about the actual consequences of the integration — whose details remain secret — still persists.

By The Star Staff Writer

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