Djibouti’s Opposition Denounce ‘arbitrary ‘arrests and Detention of Official

Ahmed Ali Mohamed, an opposition leader in Djibouti, has been in arbitrary detention since April 11 following a defamation complaint filed by the Ministry of the Interior. Mohamed’s arrest came after he alleged that Djibouti authorities planned to relocate Eritrean refugees to the south, leading to violence. The Djibouti government’s plan aims to distribute the refugees fairly, but the opposition party has denounced the “intolerable” repression and called for Mohamed’s release.

An opposition party in Djibouti has denounced the arbitrary detention of one of its leaders, Ahmed Ali Mohamed, who has been in custody since 11 April.

Mohamed, the organizing secretary of one of the branches of the ARD party, was summoned to the central police station following a complaint of defamation lodged against him by the Ministry of the Interior.

The ARD party has denounced his arrest as arbitrary.

This detention comes after a press release issued by Mr. Mohamed in late March, in which he alleged an incident in the Markazi refugee camp in the north of the country.

According to his statement, Djibouti authorities were planning to relocate Eritrean refugees in the camp to the south, and when the refugees opposed the move, security forces intervened violently, resulting in injuries to some of the refugees.

The ARD party has condemned what they call “intolerable” and “inadmissible” repression with ethnic overtones, citing videos on the internet as evidence.

However, the Obock prefecture has denounced the ARD’s remarks as “slanderous” and “unfounded”, claiming that the videos were staged and that it was the asylum seekers who showed incivility.

The Djibouti government’s plan to relocate the Eritrean refugees to the south, specifically to Ali Addeh, where there are already over 650 refugees, is said to be aimed at fairly distributing the refugees in reception structures according to needs and available space, according to Daoud Houmed, spokesperson for the majority.

Meanwhile, the opposition party RADDE has called for the release of Ahmed Ali Mohamed and accused the government of imprisoning a whistleblower instead of conducting an impartial investigation into allegations of violence against refugees.

A source in the camp has claimed that a routine registration operation on March 28 led to dissatisfaction among some of the refugees, unrelated to the relocation issue, resulting in unrest that required medical attention.

The source also stated that while videos were filmed and posted online suggesting violence, the police did not brutalize anyone and that the authorities were ensuring security. The source further added that refugees have always lived in harmony in Djibouti.

The situation remains tense in Djibouti as the opposition and government continue to trade accusations, and calls for the release of the detained opposition official and impartial investigations into the allegations of violence against refugees.

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