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Somalia inquiry blames ‘incorrect’ info for rebel leader’s extradition to Ethiopia

The rendition of the leader of the Somali-ethnic rebel group fighting the Ethiopian government late August had sparked  a massive outrage across Somalia and beyond.

By Judy Maina,

NAIROBI – Months-long investigation into the extradition of a rebel leader to Ethiopia has come to a conclusion, with the parliamentarian inquiry found that incorrect information provided by intelligence agency have led to the rendition.

Abdikarim Sheikh Muse, aka Qalbi Dhagah, an executive leader of the Somali-ethnic rebel group fighting the Ethiopian government has been extradited to Ethiopia late August, sparking  a massive outrage across Somalia and beyond.

The final report from the dozen-member taskforce which was presented to the parliament  Saturday concluded that though the rendition was ‘illegal’, it was conducted as result of a ‘flawed’ intelligence briefing by the country’s former Somali intelligence chief Abdullahi Mohamed Ali which suggested that the extradited rebel leader has posed a serious security threat to the country’s security in general and that of neighboring states prompting ‘spur-of-the-moment’ extradition order by the country’s leaders.

“Qalbi Dhagah’s extradition was made without due process and judiciary review.” the report said before legislators approved the conclusion.

While the report concluded that the anti-Ethiopia rebel group, ONLF is ‘not’ a terrorist organization, it noted that it was ‘necessary’ for the government ‘not to allow’ an armed group to operate in the country to threaten the security of a neighboring country.

Meanwhile 152 lawmakers have voted in favor of the panel’s final report, 6 lawmakers rejected while three abstained.

In the meantime, the committee has also called for the government or review all agreements signed with other countries since the collapse of the central government in 1990s.

According to the government, an agreement signed by the previous government of the former Somali president Hassan Sheik Mohamud with Ethiopia last year has paved way for the extradition of people seen by both countries as criminals between the two countries.

The panel also wrote in the report’s conclusions that the intelligence agency has mishandled the extradition case, accusing it of withholding a ‘crucial data’ from the country’s leaders. It also called on the government to safeguard and protect the nation’s national security and avoid anything that damages the public interest.

Founded in 1984, ONLF is fighting for independence from Ethiopia, complaining of discrimination by the central government against the region’s Somali-speaking nomads.

Ethiopia refers the ethnic-Somali rebel group as a terrorist organization.

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