Hargeisa (Horn)- Neither the government nor people of Somaliland have at any time ever participated in acts discriminatory to Ethiopians of Oromo Ethnicity.
This was stated by Somaliland minister of foreign affairs in reaction to allegations made by the Ethiopian federal authorities to the effect that, the government in Hargeisa was response for the displacement of thousands of its citizens.
The allegations were made in Addis Ababa by the Ethiopian minister of information Dr Ngeri Lencho during a press briefing in which he informed that over 3000 Ethiopian of Oromo ethnicity were thrown out of Somaliland.
According to Dr Lencho the displacement occurred during the recent clan skirmishes in his country putting ethnic Somalis and Oromos in which a number of Somaliland businesspeople lost their lives.
Queried on this allegation the Somaliland minister of foreign Affairs Dr Saad Ali Shire told Geeska Afrika, that the claim was unfortunate considering the cordial relations existing between both the governments and peoples of the two neighbouring countries.
Completely denying the allegations made by the Ethiopian information minister , the Somaliland foreign policy chief said that in the contrary Oromos reside and have resided in large numbers in Hargeisa and most other major towns of this country.
“Currently we have over 18,000 Ethiopians registered as legal residents of Somaliland of which 10,000 are Ethnic Oromos” said Dr Saad Ali Shire adding that this warm welcome by Somalilanders has been in existence for eons.
Stressing on the fact that incidences in which immigration officials have repatriated Oromos found to be in the country illegally, the foreign minister who argued that such repatriations never exceed 20 at a given time, said that this should not be misconstrued with displacement.
In reference to the clan clashes between Somalis and Oromos in Hawaday Ethiopia in which a number of Somaliland citizens lost their lives, the foreign minister said that reports indicate that a number of Oromos departed Somaliand presumably in fear of retaliation by relatives of those killed.
“If this is the scenario leading to minister Ngeri Lencho alleging crowded displacement, then it is not accurate for none of those departing were forced to so by ether our government or citizens” said Dr Saad Ali
On the issue of official communications between the two authorites, the foreign minister informed that an Ethiopian delegation arrived on Saturday and discussions are ongoing, promising to divulge outcomes once concluded.