JIGJIGA —The Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) have launched pre-dawn raid on Saturday in Jigjiga town, seizing installations in the town.
The move by Ethiopian forces came after a dispute between the Somali regional president, Abdi Mohamoud Omar and Federal government of Ethiopia, according to residents.
In Facebook posts, regional officials called the move by the Ethiopian army as “coup”.
The Speaker of the Somali regional parliament Mohamed Rashid Isaq confirmed the deployment of ENDF troops in Jigjiga.
“I can only confirm that the Ethiopian Forces have entered in the town earlier on Saturday morning, but I don’t know what caused it”, he said via Facebook live
It remains unknown whereabouts of the regional president Abdi Mohamoud Omar, according to officials, who asked to be anonymouse, because of represal attack on themselves.
They (the officials) said that Federal Ethiopian troops entered Jigjiga after reports emerged that members of the Somali regional parliament were planning on Saturday to invoke article 39 of the Ethiopian constitution which allows self-determination including secession
Hundreds of supporters of the regional president Abdi Mohamoud Omar have reporedly taken to the streets as Federal Ethiopian troops control key installations.
Photos and videos, which were posted through social media showed that the situation is said to be very tense.
Black smoke were seen rising on the skyline after reports of attacks on some businesses and buildings belonging to some community members.
It is unknown who is in charge of the city’s Security at this time as massive protest started in the town over deployment of the Ethiopian soldiers.
Meanwhile, Somali-Ethiopian leaders who have been meeting in Dire Dawa in past two days have urged residents in Jigjiga to stay calm, avoid violence and not to attack other ethnic communities.
The Relations between the federal Govt of Ethiopia and leaders of the Somali region are said to be at “breaking point”, according to regional officials.
Latest reports suggest that dozens of Liyu Police forces on board have been seen in one of the streets of Jigjiga.
The Liyu Police is a paramilitary ethnic Somali force created by Ethiopia in 2007 to counter ONLF rebels.
Meanwhile, regular Ethiopian National Defense Forces are said to be positioned at key installations and outside the town.