somalia mercenaries killed in tigray region of ethiopia
MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Former deputy head of Somalia’s Intelligence Agency Abdilasalan Guled said hundreds of Somali recruits deployed by Eritrea to Tigray region were killed in the initial offensive in the northern Ethiopian region.
Former deputy head of the Somali Intelligence Agency (NISA) Abdisalan Guled, in an interview with Kulmiye radio based in Mogadishu, stated that he received information saying that 370 Somali recruits trained by Eritrea had been killed in the recent war in Ethiopia’s Tigray region.
“Following an investigation and contacts I made with different people, it was confirmed that 4000 Somali soldiers participated in Tigray war, who were fighting alongside Ethiopian and Eritrean forces against the TPLF,” said Abdisalan Guled.
“I was shocked when I was told that nearly 1400 of those Somali recruits trained by Eritrea were killed and hundreds more were wounded [in Tigray war], and those wounded were returned to Eritrea.”
Abisalan Guled citing Ethiopian military sources told Kulmiye radio that “only a few men have survived from recruits numbered between 1900 and 2100 who had been deployed on just one frontline, nearly all of them were killed,”
Speaking further, Mr Guled said he was told that the Somali recruits thrown into the battle were led by Eritrean military officers.
“When i asked the officers, they told me that Somalia had signed agreement with Ethiopia and Eritrea that required Farmajo [Somalia’s president] to prepare Somali troops who would take part in the stabilization of Tigray, which he accepted,”
The former deputy head of the Somali Intelligence Services said president Farmajo had requested his Eritrean counterpart not to return those soldiers to their country if he does not win reelection.
“I have heard two days ago that president Farmajo said ‘those soldiers should not be returned home, if I win reelection the matter will be discussed with me, if I don’t return, it will be dealt with those in power but during this sensitive election time I should not be given information on whether they are alive or dead’.
manual for strengthening your power position as elected leader.
January 7 2021
As a democratically elected leader, getting absolute power is no easy feat. Just look at Hitler, or more recently, at Zimbabwe’s Mugabe, Russia’s Putin, or Turkey’s Erdogan. Here are some helpful tips for a prolonged iron rule.
1. Expand your power base through nepotism and corruption.
This is not just a tactic adopted in third world countries. Scandals like Bridgegate, Koreagate, Monicagate and Watergate demonstrate that the powerful will always find ways to abuse their privileges. Be warned, though: You will eventually be rumbled, so corruption tends to work only in the short term.article continues after
The lesson: Make sure to surround yourself with loyal kin who you can trust to do what’s best for you and your family.
2. Instigate a monopoly on the use of force to curb public protest.
Dictators cannot survive for long without disarming the people and buttering up the military. Former dictators such as Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan, Mobutu Sese Seko of the Congo, and Idi Amin of Uganda were high-ranked army officers who co-opted the military in order to overthrow democracies in favour of dictatorships. Yet democracies are not always more popular than dictatorships. In reality, people prefer dictatorships if the alternative is chaos. This explains the nostalgia for rulers like Stalin and Mao, who were mass murderers but who provided social order. One retired middle-ranking official in Beijing told the Asia Times: “I earned less than 100 yuan a month in Mao’s time. I could barely save each month but I never worried about anything. My work unit would take care of everything for me: housing, medical care, and my children’s education, though there were no luxuries…Now I receive 3,000 yuan as a [monthly] pension, but I have to count every penny—everything is so expensive and no one will take care of me now if I fall ill.”
Indeed, when given the choice in an experiment, people will desert an unstructured group (analogous to an anything-goes society) and seek the order of a “punishing regime,” which has the authority to identify and reprimand cheats. This lawlessness can be seen in hunter-gatherer tribes, too. When anthropologists visited a New Guinea tribe, they found that a third of males suffered a violent death.
The lesson: Any aspiring dictator who restores order, even through coercion, is likely to earn the gratitude of his people.
3. Curry favour by providing public goods efficiently and generously.
Benevolent dictatorship was practised by Lee Kuan Yew, prime minister of Singapore for 31 years. Lee believed that ordinary people could not be entrusted with power because it would corrupt them, and that economics was the major stabilizing force in society. To this end, he effectively eliminated all opposition by using his constitutional powers to detain suspects without trial for two years without the right of appeal. To implement his economic policies, Lee allowed only one political party, one newspaper, one trade union movement, and one language.article continues after advertisementhttps://93192547278b31c4b30b0c0af0b9a441.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html?n=0
Socially, Lee encouraged people to uphold the family system, discipline their children, be more courteous, and avoid pornography. As well as setting up a government dating service for single graduates, he urged people to take better aim in public toilets and handed out hefty fines for littering. Singaporeans tolerated these restrictions on their freedom because they valued their economic security more. On this point, Lee did not disappoint, turning Singapore into one of the world’s wealthiest countries (per capita).
The lesson: Restore the economy and develop large infrastructural projects that create a lot of jobs; it will strengthen your power base.
4. Get rid of your political enemies…
…or, more cleverly, embrace them in the hope that the bear hug will neutralize them. Zimbabwe’s former dictator Mugabe abandoned the unpopular practice of murdering political rivals and instead bribed them, with political office, for their support. Idi Amin, who came to power in Uganda after a military coup, stuck with the murderous route: During his eight years at the top, he is estimated to have killed between 80,000 and 300,000 people. His victims included cabinet ministers, judicial figures, bankers, intellectuals, journalists, and a former prime minister. At the lower end of the scale, that’s a hit rate of 27 executions a day.
The lesson: Keep your political enemies close to you.
5. Create and defeat a common enemy.
By facing down Nazi Germany, Churchill, de Gaulle, Roosevelt, and Stalin sealed their reputations as great leaders. Legendary warlords such as Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, and Napoleon were military geniuses who expanded their countries’ territories through invading their neighbours. Dictatorships feed on wars and other external threats because these justify their existence—swift military action requires a central command-and-control structure
More than half of 20th-century rulers engaged in battles at some point during their reign, either as aggressors or defenders. Among dictators, the proportion rises to 88 per cent. Democratic rulers find this tactic more difficult to adopt because most wars are unpopular with voters. To attract support, the ruler must be perceived as a defender, not a warmonger. The former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher received a lucky boost to her popularity after Argentina, a military dwarf, invaded the British-owned Falkland Islands; she triumphed over her Argentine enemies. Another former British PM, Tony Blair, was not so lucky. Although the 9/11 attacks did much to strengthen his government, his decision to attack Iraq (ostensibly to defend Britain from a long-range missile attack) sullied his legacy.
The lesson: Start a war when your position as leader becomes insecure. Having generals in top political posts will certainly help.
6. Accumulate power by manipulating the hearts and minds of your citizens.
One of the first actions of any aspiring dictator should be to control the free flow of information, because it plugs a potential channel of criticism. Turn the media into a propaganda machine for your regime like Hitler did and Erdogan does now. Other leaders, such as Myanmar’s ruling junta, shut down media outlets completely. Democratically elected leaders are somewhat more restrained, but if they have enough powers, they can rig an election or do away with meddlesome journalists (like Vladimir Putin’s Russia) or, if money is no object, build their own media empire.
Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi owned nearly half the Italian media, encompassing national television channels, radio stations, newspapers and magazines. Unsurprisingly, these outlets carefully managed Berlusconi’s public image and shielded him from criticism. Aspiring dictators should note that muzzling the media is most effective in an ordered society: A 2007 poll of more than 11,000 people in 14 countries, on behalf of the BBC, found that 40 per cent of respondents across countries from India to Finland thought social harmony was more important than press freedom
The lesson: Control the media or, even better, own the media. It’s as simple as that.
7. Create an ideology to justify an exalted position.
Throughout history, leaders have used—or in some cases invented—an ideology to legitimize their power. In the original chiefdoms like Hawaii, the chiefs were both political leaders and priests, who claimed to be communicating with the gods in order to bring about a generous harvest. Conveniently, this ideology often passed as an explanation of why the chief should occupy the role for life, and why the post should pass to the chief’s descendants. Accordingly, these chiefdoms spent much time and effort building temples and other religious institutions, to give a formal structure to the chief’s power.
Henry VIII of England started his own religion when the Pope refused to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. He created the Church of England, appointed himself Supreme Head and granted his own annulment. Other ideologies include personality cults such as Mao-ism or Stalinism; some serve to unite a nation divided by ethnicity, religion or language.
Members of the opposition in Somalia warned this week that the country’s federal government is about to sign a secret petroleum exploration and drilling agreement with two foreign companies a month before its term in office expires, which would “pose a great danger” to the future of Somalia and its natural resources.
“On 5 June 2018, the Federal Government of Somalia and Federal Member states signed an agreement on sharing of natural resources in Baidoa, which states that any agreement on the drilling, exploration or search for oil in the country must be transparent, thoroughly debated, evaluated and agreed upon, and finally approved by the House of the People of the Federal Republic of Somalia, before it is signed,” the letter reads.
The Council of Presidential Candidates (CPC) in Somalia strongly opposes the secret deal between Coastline Exploration Inc and Liberty Petroleum Corporation on oil block deals, Warsame said on Twitter.
“Any agreement on the drilling for oil must be transparent, thoroughly debated, evaluated, agreed upon & approved by the Parliament, before it is signed,” he added.
The secret agreement would be signed just a month before the current government’s term in office ends, the opposition says in the letter, noting that this timing of an oil deal “creates strong suspicions.”
Somalia launched in August last year its first-ever offshore licensing round. Back then, the country expected to announce the winners of the oil auction in the first quarter of 2021, Ibrahim Ali Hussein, the chief executive of the Somali Petroleum Authority (SPA), told Reuters.
A high-Level delegation from Malawi led by Foreign Minister of Eisenhower Mkaka arrives in Hargeisa, the capital city of Somaliland for an official state visit.
The delegation will meet Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi to discuss aspects on how to strengthen bilateral relations.
The trip by the Malawian government delegation comes just days after Somaliland president Muse Bihi visited Kenya.
Kenya and Somaliland on Tuesday reached a deal for direct Kenya Airways flights to Hargeisa in Somaliland, in what will be the first destination for the national carrier into a Somali region. Kenya also agreed to set up a consulate in Hargeisa by the first quarter of 2021, joining Ethiopia and Djibouti and Turkey which have diplomatic outposts in the Somaliland capital.
At the end of August this year, WorldRemit, one of the leading players in the world of international money transfers, put in a reported $500m bid for the takeover of the US app-based remittance company Sendwave. Not bad going for a company that was founded only 10 years ago by a Somali entrepreneur, Ismail Ahmed.
Remittances today account for more than FDI or overseas development aid. The global market is estimated at $700bn a year. Nigeria alone received an estimated $24bn in remittances in 2018, up from $4bn in 2013.
Many economists predicted that the economic meltdown caused by Covid-19 would lead to a massive drop in remittances and as a result, adversely impact emerging markets. The World Bank, at the start of the pandemic in April, estimated a 20% fall in remittances, anticipating catastrophic consequences.
However, these predictions were confounded when some countries, such as Kenya, posted growing year-on-year remittance numbers as at August. Ahmed is not surprised by this. He says he couldn’t fathom the World Bank estimates as experience had shown him that remittances were generally countercyclical.
The rise in remittances, for example in countries like Kenya, has been attributed to a number of factors. One is that many of the people sending money back home are actually those ‘essential workers’ who have kept health facilities going, and provided the services that have kept the economies of the West afloat.
In addition, government stimuli had cushioned the economic blow and the different economic mitigation schemes have meant that in some countries, such as the US, disposable income at the end of the month has at times actually been higher than what many workers were earning before the pandemic.
Ahmed says that the figures for WorldRemit, as at October, were quite strong for the year. “The only region where there was a noticeable fall are the Gulf countries, especially with Indian workers sending money back home.”
Recalling his life story, he says it seems that he was destined to work in money transfer services. He was born and raised in what is now Somaliland and he reflects that his family often received monies from a relative working in the Gulf.
With an excellent head for figures, he was awarded a World Bank scholarship to study economics at the University of London in the UK. But before he could take up the offer, the Somali Civil War intervened.
In the chaos that followed, he managed to escape and thanks to the money sent to him by his brother working in Saudi Arabia, he was able to purchase an air ticket out of Djibouti to the UK.
Expertise in the world of remittances
Fascinated by the world of remittances, he wrote a research paper on the subject at Sussex University; and whilst at the London Business School, as part of a case study project, he put together a model of a remittance business. This was to become the blueprint for what is today WorldRemit.
Before setting up WorldRemit, Ismail worked at the UN to advise on the system of remittances after 9/11.
While working on a UN Development Programme for Somalia, out of Nairobi, he noticed fraud involving senior colleagues. He blew the whistle and, for this, was dismissed.
He fought his corner, alleging unfair dismissal. He won his case and substantial compensation. This was the seed money he used to launch WorldRemit together with Catherine Wines, who also had extensive experience in money transfers, having herself restructured a remittance business that was subsequently sold to Travelex.
He says the scope of their ambition right from the get-go was big – hence the name of the company. As a student, he had experienced the frustrations and high charges involved in sending money back home. Working at the UN, he had realised that the process could be expensive as well as far from frictionless.
Right from the outset, he says, he knew that using rapidly improving IT technology was going to be the ace in their pack. Properly deployed, it could challenge the two giants in the field – Western Union and Moneygram.
He sees WorldRemit as an aspect of the increasingly important fintech sphere. The runaway success of M-Pesa and mobile money in Kenya underscored to him, in the early 2000s, the enormous potential of digital.
However, breaking into the market wasn’t plain sailing. The dominant players had, in many cases, struck exclusivity deals with banks or agents and seemed unassailable.
Given the very tight space left in the market, WorldRemit started with a single agent in both Uganda and Kenya. But the company still managed to get considerable business. This proved to them that their business was viable and also that the market was growing apace.
It was not long before WorldRemit became a substantial global player. Today the company operates in over 6,500 money transfer corridors worldwide and sends money from 50 countries to more than 150 nations.
The acquisition of Sendwave will make it a company that generates over $200m in revenue and manages more than $7.5bn of remittance flows.
The deal will strengthen the company’s position in the US, the world’s biggest source of outward remittances. “You can’t be big in money transfers if you’re not big in the US,” says Ahmed.
Industry more streamlined
The remittance industry has definitely benefited from having more players in the market: costs have been drastically reduced and the spread on exchange rates has also fallen considerably. However, some analysts warn that it is becoming an increasingly difficult area in which to make money as competition is eroding margins and the marketing costs to acquire new customers are greater than the gains.
Ahmed doesn’t agree; he counters that the industry will not only grow but will evolve. One factor behind the resilience of remittances has been the digitisation of payments. “Somaliland is pretty much a cashless society today. In Kenya, 90% of remittances are non-cash based, with the majority going to mobile money. In Nigeria 90% of international money transfers will end up in a bank account. So even during lockdowns, remittance flows still take place.”
He believes that the digitisation of remittances will also enable countries and analysts to better understand and make use of data that is now more readily available.
He also anticipates that the infrastructure backbone of remittances, which is ultimately about matching and settling trades, can help play a greater role in business transactions such as purchasing machinery or goods from abroad, as well as in intra-African trade, where too often buyers need to access dollars or euros to settle a payment within Africa.
Remittances have often been overlooked as a development tool, he says, but today they are a key indicator from a macro-economic perspective. Nonetheless they have been criticised for being ‘unproductive’ capital in that they are used in the ‘receiving’ country to make basic purchases.
Ahmed refutes this and says that as well as covering expenses such as school fees, food or medical bills, a big chunk of remittance payments goes to starting new businesses, investing in land and property.
Somalia on Tuesday morning announced it is cutting diplomatic ties with Kenya, in the latest escalation of a spat between the two, and following the invitation of Somaliland leader Muse Bihi to Nairobi.
Somalia cuts diplomatic ties with Kenya over Somaliland
Osman Dubbe, the Somali Minister for Information declared the news on national TV a few minutes to 2am in the morning, breaking tradition of countries making such pronouncements during the day.
Dubbe said Kenya had “constantly interfered” with Somalia’s internal affairs and that Nairobi was violating Somalia’s sovereignty.
He said Kenyan diplomats in Mogadishu will have seven days to leave the country. But this came just a week after Mogadishu actually expelled the Kenyan ambassador to Somalia, Lucas Tumbo, and recalled theirs to Nairobi, Mohamud Ahmed Tarzan, following a similar complaint of interference.
Somalia had also submitted a complaint to regional bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), to include the spat with Kenya during the upcoming virtual summit on Dec 20 on Tigray.
Kenya though, became the second country in a year after Guinea, with which Somalia has cut ties over the Somaliland issue.
Bilateral talks between Kenyan and Somaliland delegations
Kenya hosts Bihi
But as Mogadishu moved in the night, Nairobi was hosting Bihi for bilateral talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta. Both sides on Monday said they had agreed on a number of issues and would continue discussions on Tuesday on business and security cooperation.
With the cutting of diplomatic ties, it means the Kenyan embassy in Mogadishu and Somalia’s mission in Nairobi will be shut and their officials sent back home. But both countries, based on Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, will remain obligated to offer visa and other travel and immigration services to nationals of each other.Advertisement
In fact, each country will remain obligated to protect premises owned by either side on their host territories.
However, despite having legal obligations to protect citizens of each other, the actual protection of each other’s nationals may be granted to a third acceptable state.
It was unclear by Tuesday morning what will happen to military cooperation between Somalia and Kenya which has sent troops to the country under the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom). Legally, it is Amisom to make a decision about troop movements, but in consultation with the UN and troop contributing countries.
About 350,000 Somali refugees also live in Kenya, most of them in camps in Dadaab and Kakuma. Kenya will have to continue protecting them, under the international humanitarian law.
What may be exposed, however, are the properties owned by Somalia businesses and politicians in Nairobi.
Officials in the Kenyan capital said on Tuesday morning they had not yet received any formal communication from Mogadishu on the severing of ties.
Somalia had accused Somaliland of undermining its sovereignty after a delegation led by President Muse Bihi was hosted by President Uhuru Kenyatta at Nairobi’s Statehouse
• But Somaliland through its Foreign Affairs responded by saying such an irrelevant statement Somalia shows nothing but only failure and irresponsibility.
KENYA MAINTAINED ITS RECOGNITION OF SOMALILAND AS NEWEST COUNTRY IN AFRICA
(Afrika-times.com- Somalia and Somaliland on Monday engaged in a war of words on Twitter following the latter’s delegation visit to Nairobi.
Somalia had accused Somaliland of undermining its sovereignty after a delegation led by President Muse Bihi was hosted by President Uhuru Kenyatta at Nairobi’s Statehouse.
Through its Foreign Affairs, Somalia said Bihi’s visit must be treated with all contempt it deserved.
The ministry later deleted the tweet.
“Somaliland is the federal Member State of Somalia. It, therefore, has no legitimacy to directly deal with Kenya especially now that we have severed our diplomatic ties,” part of the tweet read.
It also read, “Muse Bihi’s visit to Nairobi undermines the sovereignty of Somalia and must be treated with the contempt it deserves”.
But Somaliland through its Foreign Affairs responded by saying such an irrelevant statement Somalia shows nothing but only failure and irresponsibility.
Somaliland said as an independent country it has a right to make a decision to strengthen its mutual relationship with Kenya which is also an independent country.
“The irrelevant statement from the failed administration of Somalia shows nothing but only failure and irresponsibility. The Republic of Somaliland and The Republic of Kenya are two independent countries which has (sic) the rightful decision to strengthen their mutual relationship, ” the tweet read.
President Uhuru Kenyatta hosted bilateral talks between Kenya and Somaliland delegation led by President Musa Bihi Abdi at State House on Monday.
President Abdi arrived in the country on Sunday for a three-day official visit.
During the meeting, the two leaders initiated discussions on a number of subjects of mutual interest between Kenya and Somaliland.
The two delegations are set to meet again on Tuesday to finalise the talks.
Kenya has no diplomatic presence in Somaliland but takes cognizance of the political and economic stability of the region.
The country is keen to enhance and broaden trade in goods and services, as well as an investment as the cornerstone for long-term development cooperation with the region.
There has been a looming diplomatic spat between Nairobi and Mogadishu after Farmnajo expelled Kenya’s ambassador to Mogadishu Ambassador Lucas Tumbo.
Mogadishu cited what it termed as the Kenyan government’s interference in its internal and political affairs.
“The federal government f Somalia expresses it regret in the government of Kenya’s overt and blatant interferences in the internal and political affairs of Somalia which has the potential to be a hindrance to stability,” a statement from Somalia’s foreign ministry said.
But Kenya in its response dismissed the claims terming them unsubstantiated allegations.
Nairobi said it had not received any Note Verbale or any other official communication from Mogadishu requesting Kenya’s ambassador to leave for Nairobi for consultations.
“However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ attention has been drawn to a press statement purportedly released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Somalia,” a statement from the ministry said.
“This action is reportedly based on unsubstantiated allegations, namely, “continued interference in the internal affairs of Somalia”. The Government of Kenya respects and upholds the cardinal international principles of self-determination, sovereignty, political independence, and territorial integrity of all countries, and in particular those in Africa,” Nairobi said.
President Uhuru Kenyatta is hosting his Somaliland counterpart Muse Bihi Abdi amidst worsening relations with Somalia.
KENYA 🇰🇪 MAINTAINED ITS RECOGNITION OF SOMALILAND AS NEWEST COUNTRY IN AFRICA
The visit by the leader of the self-declared country seeks to give Kenya a platform through which Nairobi can have presence in Hargeisa, as it has no diplomatic presence in Somaliland
President Abdi jetted into the country for a three-day state visit yesterday and was received. Official invitation from uhuru kenyatta
This visit comes after Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, also known as Farmaajo, imposed restrictions on Kenyans hoping to travel to the country. At the same time, there has been a maritime dispute that saw Somalia file a case against Kenta at the International Court of Justice in 2014.
Mogadishu has accused Nairobi of meddling in its upcoming elections by allegedly putting pressure on the leader of Jubaland region, Ahmed Mohamed Islaam Madobe, to pull out of poll agreement brokered two months ago.
Mogadishu expelled Kenya’s diplomat to Somalia Maj Gen (rtd) Lucas Tambo and recalled its ambassador to Kenya, Mohamud Ahmed Nur ‘Tarzan’, over claims of Nairobi’s continuous interference in its internal affairs.
“President Kenyatta, on Monday, is scheduled to host President of Somaliland for talks on mutual interests and discuss diaspora issues as they seek to deepen trade ties,” reads a press release by the Foreign Affairs ministry.
Uhuru, according to the ministry’s brief, will be seeking stronger relations between the two countries to bolster security, economic and social
“Somaliland is an important partner in the Horn of Africa region in the fight against terrorism and particularly Al-Shabaab,” the statement read.
“ takes cognizance of the political and economic stability of the region and is keen to enhance and broaden trade in goods and services, as well as investment as the cornerstone for long-term development cooperation with the region.”
The ministry also disclosed that Uhuru would be seeking intensified cooperation in banking and financial sector to accelerate investment opportunities for both parties. Kenya Airways flights connecting Nairobi and Hargeisa to enhance trade and movement is carefully being explored, the statement said.
Other issues on the table include information sharing on security, particularly in countering terrorism in the Horn of Africa. “Kenya and Somaliland will work together to actualise these aspirations,” the statement read.
This is the first official visit to Nairobi by President Abdi since he took over Somaliland in 2017, and the second by a Somaliland leader following a similar one by President Kahin Riyale Kahin in 2009.
Such differences are not new to Kenya. Tanzania cancelled landing rights for three Kenyan airlines — Kenya Airways, Fly540 and Safarilink Aviation — after Kenya insisted Tanzanians arriving in the country had to be quarantined for 14 days.
The actions by the two countries have recently stalled business ventures for Kenyans over ‘bad’ policies by Nairobi.
While receiving President Abdi together with his delegation, which includes uhuru kenyatta and the members of the Cabinet, Munya said today’s talks between the two leaders would be of mutual interest.
Somaliland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said President Abdi left Hargeisa on Sunday and would meet Kenyan officials for bilateral talks.
Somalia has had issues with Kenya over miraa (khat) export. The country has since banned Kenyan miraa from its market.
The matter resurfaced last week after a delegation of farmers’ representatives travelled to seek audience with Somalia officials. However, they were met with a list of demands, including a tax charge of $4 per kilo.
The farmers were also told to report to the Kenyan authorities that they would only be allowed to sell miraa in Somalia if flights from Mogadishu are not forced to stop in Wajir for security checks.
Somalia officials say Kenya should treat their country as an equal partner.
In 2016, Mr Munya, then Meru Governor, caused a diplomatic storm after he ‘offered recognition’ of Somaliland if they were assured a steady miraa market.
Ethiopia is teetering on the brink of civil war as fighting intensifies in the north of the country, sparking fears that its economic transformation could be stymied by protracted conflict.
Federal government forces loyal to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed are making advances in the semi-autonomous northern Tigray region, which is currently controlled by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). The TPLF led a coalition which ruled Ethiopia for almost three decades prior to Abiy taking office in 2018.
On Friday, Human Rights Watch called on Tigray’s regional authorities and the national government to protect civilians and property amid reports of mounting casualties.
Abiy, who last year won a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to resolve a long-standing border conflict with neighboring Eritrea, tweeted on Sunday that the military campaign in the region to “uphold the rule of law” was “progressing well.”
“By advancing rule of law and holding accountable those that have been looting, destabilizing Ethiopia, we will lay the foundation for lasting peace & harmony,” Abiy said.
The prospect of a bloody and protracted conflict could dent Abiy’s recent push to transform the country’s economy.
Africa’s second-most populous nation has been one of the fastest growing economies in the world so far this century, consistently posting double-digit percentage annual growth in GDP (gross domestic product). However, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the IMF has slashed Ethiopia’s 2020 growth forecast to 1.9% from 6.2% — and this was before the unfolding events in Tigray.
Risk consultancy EXX Africa has highlighted that the government’s Tigrayan offensive and its “perceived authoritarianism” was jeopardizing the country’s relations with key economic partners.
“Growing domestic and international criticism of the government’s crackdown on political opponents, journalists, activists, and business leaders is attracting the attention of some of Ethiopia’s key partners, such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), which is assisting the country in its response to the coronavirus and slowing economy,” EXX Africa Executive Director Robert Besseling said in a report last week.
“Foreign investors seeking to participate in Ethiopia’s privatization and liberalization drive will also be cautious of such human rights abuses and unilateral state actions, such as the suspension of internet service and closure of media networks.”Amhara militia men, in combat alongside federal and regional forces against the northern region of Tigray, receive training in the outskirts of the village of Addis Zemen, north of Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, on November 10, 2020.EDUARDO SOTERAS/AFP via Getty Images
In addition, a growing focus from investors on ESG — or environmental, social and corporate governance — could mean additional overseas investment courted by the government remains on the sidelines, as reports of civilian casualties emerge from a region in which outside access and communication is mostly blocked.
“Human rights abuses will deter ESG-conscious investors at a time when Abiy is looking to attract foreign investment to drive his Homegrown Economic Reform agenda which aims to transform Ethiopia from an agrarian to an industrialized economy by 2030,” said Verisk Maplecroft Senior Africa Analyst Ed Hobey-Hamsher in a comment last week.
“The conflict will prove an expensive distraction from government efforts to address systemic poverty and food insecurity, exacerbated this year by the disruption that travel restrictions imposed in the wake of Covid-19 has had on agricultural production and markets.”
Both sides have sought to assert the moral high ground under international scrutiny since the government began military operations on Nov. 4, in what Abiy said was a response to an attack on a federal military base by the TPLF.
Reuters reported on Monday, citing military and diplomatic sources, that government forces had dropped bombs on the Tigrayan capital Mekelle.
It comes after Amnesty International said last week that “scores, likely hundreds” of civilians had been killed in the western part of Tigray, likely by TPLF personnel following defeat to government forces.
Each side has denied responsibility for various air and ground attacks, and accused the other of trying to destabilize the country.Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki (second right) is received by Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (third right) as he arrives at Bole International airport in Addis Ababa on July 14, 2018.Stringer | AFP | Getty Images
Communications have been interrupted in the region since Nov. 4 as Abiy declared a six-month state of emergency, and access is blocked by road and air, making reports difficult to verify by international agencies. However, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) now estimates that more than 25,000 displaced Ethiopians have arrived in neighboring Sudan.
“Tight restrictions on access for aid agencies and communications mean that millions of people in Tigray affected by the fighting may be at grave risk,” said Laetitia Bader, Horn of Africa director at Human Rights Watch.
Abiy has appeared to suggest in tweets that a swift resolution to the conflict could be possible. However, his resistance to ceasefire calls from the UN and various international powers have raised fears of a protracted conflict with a knock-on effect for the region.
“At this stage the prospect of a negotiated settlement or ceasefire does not appear promising, and the reported atrocities being committed in Tigray will only intensify the conflict – so will moves by the federal government to establish a parallel government for Tigray to replace the current TPLF-led administration,” said Louw Nel, political analyst at NKC African Economics.
“Concerns over neighboring Eritrea being drawn into the conflict are not unfounded; however, the governments of Ethiopia and Eritrea have been projecting an image of solidarity and commitment to the peace agreement concluded in 2018.”
A cheetah cub receives care from representatives of Somaliland’s Ministry of Environment and Rural Development, in a village near Erigavo, Sanaag, in August 2020. According to reports, the cubs were being held by local farmers who surrendered them to the authorities, as the result of conflict with the mother cheetah near their livestock. (Photo: Twitter / Ministry of Environment and Rural Development)
A recent spate of cheetahs being seized in Somaliland has shown that the illicit demand for these animals remains strong. Cheetahs are highly prized as exotic pets in the Gulf states, and in supplying this market, traffickers have heavily impacted local cheetah populations in Africa, a situation compounded by the fact that many animals die en route.https://spkt.io/a/1132481?isAmp=1&Player=MinimalPlayer#amp=1
In late July, two cheetah cubs were rescued from a 25-day ordeal at the hands of wildlife traffickers by the Awdal region police in Borama, a city in Somaliland not far from the Ethiopian border. Members of the local community helped look after the dehydrated and underweight cubs until the rescue team arrived. The cubs were then given care by Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) staff before being transported to a CCF safe house.
These cubs were part of a series of recent seizures of cheetahs in Somaliland. Through July and August, 20 cheetah cubs were rescued over five missions jointly conducted by the ministry of environment and rural development, the Selel regional administration and the Somaliland police, with support from the CCF and Torrid Analytics.
On 14 September, two cheetah cubs were seized in the Sool region in the south-east: the youngest was only two weeks old. In total, 25 cubs have been reported as seized or rescued in Somaliland so far this year.
Cheetah trafficking in Somaliland is not a new issue. Since 2010, when reporting became more consistent, there have been 193 rescued or surrendered cheetahs. Nearly a third of these occurred after the country ratified its Forestry and Wildlife Conservation Law in August 2018, which has reportedly led to increased awareness and better coordination between wildlife officials, police and the army.
Many of the cheetahs seized in Somaliland are believed to originate in Ethiopia, which shares an 800km border with the self-declared state. At least 25% of seized cheetahs in Somaliland have been found at or near the Ethiopian border – the two cubs intercepted near Borama in August, for example, were less than 15km from the border.
As known cheetah populations in Ethiopia total no more than 300 adolescent and adult specimens, it is clear that the trafficking of cubs is taking a significant toll on cheetah populations. Ethiopia and South Sudan, along with Somalia/Somaliland where cheetah populations are unknown, are also the last remaining stronghold of the North East African cheetah subspecies, Acinonyx jubatus soemmeringii.
Cheetah cubs are mostly taken from the wild when the mother hides them to go hunting, either opportunistically by nomadic herders or by poachers. A cub can sell for between $200 and $300 in Somaliland, although prices vary greatly: an unhealthy cub can be bought for as little as $80, while a healthy, older cub can cost up to $1,000. The same cheetah can be sold for up to $15,000 in the Gulf states.
Mortality is high, as most cubs are removed from the wild at only two to eight weeks from birth and are subjected to maltreatment and poor nutrition in the hands of poachers and dealers, compounded with the rigours of the trip across the Gulf of Aden. While difficult to estimate, it is thought that more than 60% of cheetah cubs die before they reach the market to be sold.
Somaliland is vulnerable as a conduit for the illegal wildlife trade not only due to its proximity to the Arabian Peninsula’s wealthy consumer markets for exotic wildlife, but also due to the country’s rampant poverty, weak legal frameworks and a lack of environmental awareness.
Corruption also drives the cheetah trade. There are instances of illegally obtained cheetah cubs being sold back to smugglers by corrupt officials after a confiscation has been reported. That being said, Somaliland’s cheetah trade has been more extensively researched than other countries and regions of Somalia. Its relative importance as the main cheetah trafficking route into the Middle East might be in part connected to underreporting from other countries.
Across the Gulf of Aden
From Somaliland, cheetahs are transported by boat – hidden in hampers, crates or cardboard boxes – from the northern coastline across the Gulf of Aden to Yemen at an estimated rate of 300 cubs per year. The 140 nautical miles between the ports of Berbera in Somaliland and Aden in Yemen can be covered in just over seven hours at a dhow’s average speed of 20 knots.
Once in Yemen, cheetahs are reportedly transported by boat or road across the Saudi border to animal markets such as Al-Jazan or Al-Khouba, or delivered to Saudi traders, who will then offer them throughout the Gulf states to known buyers on ecommerce and social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat, or, more recently, through private chat groups.
Research carried out by CCF researchers found that at least 2,000 cheetahs had been advertised online between 2010 and 2019. Most were found on Instagram, with sellers offering cheetahs in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait.
“It is enough to mention that they are ‘cats’ on the box and to pay certain people I know. It is easy for me because I work there and I know who will take the money. I give them between KWD500 and KWD1000 ($1,600–$3,200 to allow illegal animals (through the country).”
There have also been isolated reports of cheetahs arriving in Oman from Yemen, as well as being transported from Oman into the UAE via the Hatta border crossing.
An illegal status symbol
Cheetahs have long been popular household pets or hunting companions in the Gulf states, where they are viewed as status symbols. This popularity has been boosted in recent years by wealthy or famous individuals posing with their exotic pets on social media.
However, few cheetah owners know how to provide the proper care for these animals, with some social media posts advertising cheetahs that have been declawed – an extremely painful process for the animals.
Many pet cheetahs in the Gulf states do not live beyond the first year, and few live longer than five years, according to information collected by CCF.
Trade in wild cheetahs for commercial purposes is illegal in all the Gulf states, either through the states being party to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) or through domestic legislation.
In December 2016, the UAE enacted a law banning the private possession of exotic and dangerous pets, although only one seizure (of four cheetahs) has been made since 2015, suggesting that the ban is seldom enforced.
Under CITES regulations, however, captive-bred cheetahs can be traded commercially by registered facilities. The CITES trade database reports that 16 “captive-bred” cheetahs were exported into Armenia from Bahrain and the UAE between 2009 and 2015.
However, the probability that cheetahs in the Gulf (both those kept as pets and those exported) are truly bred in captivity or traded in compliance with national laws or CITES regulations is low.
First, only two such registered breeding facilities exist worldwide – both are in South Africa.
Second, cheetahs do not breed well in captivity. Based on information from the International Cheetah Studbook, a voluntary register of captive cheetahs worldwide, the first report of captive-bred cheetahs in the Gulf states was in 1994. Since then, six facilities have reported a total of 304 cheetah births in captivity, with a 31% mortality rate for cubs under six months.
It is therefore more likely that purportedly “captive-bred” cheetahs in the Gulf come from elsewhere, as suggested by the “captive-bred” cheetahs exported from Bahrain to Armenia. There are no known cheetah breeding facilities in Bahrain, suggesting that the cheetahs’ real origins were masked.
A contentious issue
The issue of the illegal cheetah trade has been on the CITES agenda since 2013, when it commissioned a study that led to decisions and recommendations aimed at reducing demand and encouraging international collaboration. However, the 18th Conference of the Parties (CoP), held in August 2019, voted to delete these decisions based on a report from the standing committee to the secretariat.
The report concluded that the illegal cheetah trade was limited, based on official seizure reports from nine countries that cited 32 specimens (13 live, 19 parts or products) between 2015 and mid-2018. Based on this, the CoP agreed that matters related to the illegal cheetah trade could be addressed by a Big Cat Task Force, jointly run by CITES and the Convention for Migratory Species, which is currently in the process of being implemented.
However, Kenya and Ethiopia – two cheetah-range countries – argued that the numbers reported by CITES “underestimate the full extent of the trade, since they only include confiscated animals appearing in official records and omit data from many countries, including key primary source countries for trafficked cheetah”. They cited information showing 393 cheetah specimens (274 live animals and 119 parts), including the 32 seized specimens reported to CITES, during the same period.
The countries’ joint statement – submitted to the CITES CoP – went on to add: “Given the perilous state of [East African] cheetah populations that are the source of illegal trade, any ongoing trade in wild cheetah is alarming.”
The recent spate of seizures in Somaliland seems to confirm those fears. The illegal trade in wild cheetahs appears to be continuing apace, with potentially grave consequences for East African cheetah populations. DM
This article appears in the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime’s monthly East and Southern Africa Risk Bulletin. The Global Initiative is a network of more than 500 experts on organised crime drawn from law enforcement, academia, conservation, technology, media, the private sector and development agencies. It publishes research and analysis on emerging criminal threats and works to develop innovative strategies to counter organised crime globally. To receive monthly Risk Bulletin updates, please sign uphere.
A ballot-harvesting racket in Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar’s Minneapolis district — where paid workers illegally gather absentee ballots from elderly Somali immigrants — appears to have been busted by undercover news organization Project Veritas.
One alleged ballot harvester, Liban Mohamed, the brother of Minneapolis city council member Jamal Osman, is shown in a bombshell Snapchat video rifling through piles of ballots strewn across his dashboard.
“Just today we got 300 for Jamal Osman,” says Mohamed, aka KingLiban1, in the video. “I have 300 ballots in my car right now . . .
“Numbers don’t lie. You can see my car is full. All these here are absentee ballots. . . . Look, all these are for Jamal Osman,” he says, displaying the white envelopes.
The video, posted on July 1, was obtained by Project Veritas and included in a 17-minute video expose released Sunday night.
Under Minnesota law no individual can be the “designated agent” for more than three absentee voters.
The allegations come just five weeks before a presidential election plagued with predictions of voter fraud. Both President Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr have warned that the increased use of mail-in ballots, due to COVID-19 concerns about in-person voting, are vulnerable to fraud, especially when unsolicited ballots are mailed to all voters in certain states.
Project Veritas’ investigation in Minneapolis will pour gasoline on the fire, only 48 hours before Trump debates Joe Biden in the first presidential debate Tuesday, addressing topics including election security.
“Our investigation into this ballot harvesting ring demonstrates clearly how these unscrupulous operators exploit the elderly and immigrant communities” said James O’Keefe, founder and CEO of Project Veritas.
The alleged involvement of Ilhan Omar, a controversial member of the Squad, and frequent Trump target, is claimed on camera by two people in Veritas’ investigation, including whistleblower Omar Jamal, a Minneapolis community leader and chair of the city’s Somali Watchdog Group.
He claims Mohamed is “one of” Ilhan Omar’s “many people.”
“It’s an open secret. She will do anything that she can do to get elected and she has hundreds of people on the streets doing that,” he told Veritas in an on-camera interview last Tuesday.
“It’s not only her. It’s all this DFL [Democratic-Farmers-Labor] machine [that’s] in . . . the state of Minnesota . . .
Also implicating Ilhan Omar’s campaign in the scheme is an anonymous Minneapolis-based former political worker, who told Project Veritas that, before Minnesota’s primary elections, August 8, ballot harvesters “took every single ballot” from elderly people in a Minneapolis public housing complex — the Charles Horn Towers.
“Knock on the door and say, ‘your ballots come? Give it to me.’ ”
She alleges Ilhan Omar’s long-serving staffer, campaign deputy district director Ali (Isse) Gainey, was “coordinating everything.”
Gainey, “who is working in Ilhan’s campaign, is the one who is managing the voting place. They bring them. They line them. They put the open ballots in there and then they take them in and say, ‘Here,’ and the people mark [the ballots] . . .
She also alleged that young people and women were paid for their ballots before last month’s Minnesota primary.
“Cash, cash, cash. They were carrying bags of money. . . . When you vote and they mark you off, then you get in the van, they give you the cash.”
Federal laws forbid paying someone to vote or register to vote, or intimidating voters.
Jamal, who has worked with Minnesota’s Ramsey County Sherriff’s Office on deradicalization education, helped Project Veritas investigators unveil what he calls “ongoing election fraud” which victimizes his community. He secretly recorded conversations with alleged ballot harvester Mohamed and a member of the DFL, Minnesota’s version of the Democratic party.
In one call, Mohamed allegedly explains ballot harvesting: “You request for the ballot. It will be sent to your house. You will fill it out and then send it.”
Omar asks: “So they request for the elderly?”
Mohamed says: “Yes, they request for them.”
Omar: “And it is taken away from them?”
Mohamed: “Yes, it is taken away from them.”
In another call, Mohamed says: “I’m working for Jamal Osman [who is] running for city council in Minneapolis. That’s my young brother.”
Osman, a member of the DFL, won the Ward 6 race for Minneapolis City Council in August.
Another grab from Mohamed’s Snapchat with the time stamp 1:59 am, July 2, shows a man brandishing a wad of about 30 ballots with the words “OFFICIAL ABSENTEE BALLOT” on the front of envelopes. “Two in the morning, still hustling,” he says.
Project Veritas’ investigation raises serious concerns about the security of mail-in ballots, and intimidation of vulnerable voters.
While FBI Director Christopher Wray told the Senate last week, “we have not seen, historically, any kind of coordinated national voter fraud effort in a major election,” troubling examples have arisen in recent months.
In Paterson, New Jersey, two officials were charged with election fraud last month after hundreds of mail-in-ballots were discarded. In Pennsylvania, nine military ballots from the 2016 election, most for Trump, were found in a dumpster, it was revealed last week.
In her speech in the Rose Garden Saturday to accept the president’s nomination to the Supreme Court, the 48-year-old mother of seven paid tribute to her husband of 21 years, Jesse Barrett.
“At the start of our marriage, I imagined that we would run our household as partners.
“As it has turned out, Jesse does far more than his share of the work. To my chagrin, I learned at dinner recently that my children consider him to be the better cook!
“For 21 years, Jesse has asked me every single morning what he can do for me that day. And though I almost always say, ‘Nothing,’ he still finds ways to take things off my plate.
“And that’s not because he has a lot of free time. He has a busy law practice. It is because he is a superb and generous husband, and I am very fortunate”.
It must be disappointing for leftists that this is not the “Handmaid’s Tale” nightmare they like to paint of faithful Christian marriages, but a respectful partnership, with mutual generosity and love, between a woman who does not deny her femininity and a man who has not sacrificed his masculinity.
Successful marriages are not celebrated enough, and yet they are everything to a healthy society.
ILHAN OMAR’S MINNEAPOLIS DISTRICT — WHERE PAID WORKERS ILLEGALLY GATHER ABSENTEE BALLOTS FROM ELDERLY SOMALI IMMIGRANTS
Berbera and Zeila, two of the Horn of Africa’s ancient trading cities, have long attracted the interest of global powers because of their strategic location near the Bab el-Mandeb Strait connecting the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea. This location makes Somaliland’s coastal ports among the region’s most valuable real estate and an alternative to Djibouti as a key player in terms of trade, development, energy, and water security for the Red Sea and Horn of Africa.
Richard Burton, the British explorer, recognized the importance of Berbera port back in 1896, writing:
In the first place, Berbera is the true key of the Red Sea, the centre of East African traffic, and the only safe place for shipping upon the western Eritrean shore, from Suez to Guardafui. Backed by lands capable of cultivation, and by hills covered with pine and other valuable trees, enjoying a comparatively temperate climate, with a regular although thin monsoon, this harbour has been coveted by many a foreign conqueror. Circumstances have thrown it as it were into our arms, and, if we refuse the chance, another and a rival nation will not be so blind.
A new geopolitical rivalry in the Red Sea
Somaliland’s ports still remain the object of international interest and rivalry today, although the foreign powers involved have changed. On July 1, according to an official statement, Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said Taiwan had agreed to establish ties with Somaliland based on “friendship and a shared commitment to common values of freedom, democracy, justice, and the rule of law.”
Less than a week later, however, Somalia’s federal government, led by President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, aligned itself with China to prevent a Taiwanese-Somaliland nexus that would have clear geopolitical ramifications for the Horn of Africa.
While China and Somalia rebuffed and condemned the new strategic bilateral ties between Somaliland and Taiwan, the U.S. National Security Council has blessed Taiwan’s venture into East Africa, sending a clear message to China that the U.S. stands with Taiwan. This is a significant blow to the Chinese government, which has used its international influence and “development-trap diplomacy” in recent decades to rally support among African and Middle Eastern states for its efforts to suppress Taiwan’s presence in the international sphere.
Egypt, Ethiopia, and Somaliland
On July 12, a high-level delegation from Egypt traveled to Somaliland. Although an Egyptian delegation had visited in 2019, angering Somalia, this year’s trip comes at a critical time as Ethiopia and Egypt have locked horns in their dispute over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). The Egyptian delegation’s visit prompted protests from the Ethiopian government, and Egypt’s growing bilateral ties and cooperation with Somaliland are giving Ethiopia GERD problems of its own — as in gastroesophageal reflux disease.
It is important to note that Ethiopia has a 19 percent stake in the port of Berbera, which is managed by the UAE’s DP World with a 51 percent stake, while Somaliland holds 30 percent. In May 2019, Ethiopia signed its first military cooperation agreement with France, which covers joint air cooperation and includes assistance for Ethiopia’s efforts to build up its naval forces — although where the landlocked country plans to dock these naval forces remains unclear. Joking aside, Ethiopia’s naval endeavors are driven by two main factors: first, concerns over the future of Djibouti’s port, which the IMF categorizes as at a “high risk of debt distress,” comparable to the Sri Lankan port of Hambantota, which was built with Chinese financing and which Beijing took control of after Colombo failed to meet its debt obligations; and second, to protect 11 state-owned commercial vessels managed by the Ethiopian Shipping & Logistics Services Enterprise (ESLSE).
Scramble for fragile Somaliland
Although Somaliland is relatively peaceful compared to Somalia, its lack of international recognition makes it fragile and susceptible to being drawn into regional disputes as it seeks allies, bilateral ties, and eventual recognition. This has been the case with the Gulf states, where it has sided with the UAE and Saudi Arabia. In part as a result of this fragility and desire to secure more allies and improve bilateral ties, Somaliland now finds itself in the middle of multiple disputes among other states, including Ethiopia and Egypt and China and Taiwan.
Taken together, the current domestic instability in Ethiopia and its tensions with Egypt over the GERD, combined with the global superpower competition in the Horn of Africa and Red Sea, are a recipe for conflict that could trigger the largest refugee influx in African history. This could destabilize Somaliland and with it key international maritime trade routes, making it vulnerable to insecurity and terrorism that directly affects both Ethiopia and Djibouti, with which it shares its western border.
To reduce future geopolitical uncertainty and security risk in the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea, it’s in the best interest of the international community to take the following steps:
Consider recognizing Somaliland;
Praise Taiwan-Somaliland relations instead of giving in to Chinese pressure and potentially keeping at bay Russia, which also has a keen interest in establishing a military base at Berbera port; and
Include Somaliland in the Red Sea Council and help it develop its own navy.
Egypt fears the $4bn project could lead to water shortages upstream, while Sudan is concerned about dam’s safety.
05 Aug 2020 GMT+3
Egypt has decided to withdraw from the latest round of tripartite negotiations over Ethiopia’s multibillion-dollar dam on the Blue Nile for internal consultations after Addis Ababa proposed a new draft of filling guidelines.
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which is being built about 15km (nine miles) from the Ethiopian border with Sudan on the Blue Nile, has become a major sticking point between the three countries.
Egypt fears the $4bn project could lead to water shortages upstream, while Sudan said it is concerned about the dam’s safety.
The Egyptian water ministry, in a statement on Tuesday, said Ethiopia put forward a draft proposal that lacked regulations on the operation of the dam or any legal obligations.
Addis Ababa’s draft also lacked a legal mechanism for settling disputes, according to the Egyptian ministry.
“Egypt and Sudan demanded meetings be suspended for internal consultations on the Ethiopian proposal, which contravenes what was agreed upon during the African Union summit,” it said.
The Blue Nile is a tributary of the Nile river, from which Egypt’s 100 million people get 90 percent of their fresh water.
Ethiopia dam dispute: Concerns in Sudan’s Blue Nile state (2:55)
Sudan’s safety concerns
Meanwhile, Sudan’s irrigation ministry said the latest Ethiopian position presented in talks on Tuesday raised new fears over the track the negotiations had been on.
Khartoum also threatened to withdraw from the talks, saying Ethiopia insisted on linking them to renegotiating a deal on sharing the waters of the Blue Nile.
Sudan’s water and irrigation minister, Yasser Abbas, said he received a letter from his Ethiopian counterpart who proposed “the deal under discussion be limited to filling up the dam and any deal concerning its management be linked to the question of sharing Blue Nile waters”.
Egypt and Sudan invoke a “historic right” over the river guaranteed by treaties concluded in 1929 and 1959.
But Ethiopia uses a treaty signed in 2010 by six riverside countries and boycotted by Egypt and Sudan authorising irrigation projects and dams on the river.
“This new Ethiopian position threatens the negotiations under the aegis of the African Union, and Sudan will not participate in negotiations which include the subject of sharing Blue Nile waters,” Abbas said.
“Sudan will not allow the lives of 20 million citizens who live along the Blue Nile to be tied to an agreement on sharing the water of this river.”
The call came after a meeting of technical and legal committees from the three countries aimed at pushing for a deal on the filling and operation of the GERD.
The meeting was also attended by observers from the United States and the European Union as well as experts from the Africa