Hudet, Somali Region (28 November): Pastoralists representing all the ethnic groups of Ethiopia’s Somali National Regional State have decided to give priority to peace in the region in discussions that started today at a unique event in the region’s Liban zone, facilitated by the UN OCHA Pastoralist Communication Initiative. After opening prayers, the meeting of 500 people was officially opened by eight traditional leaders and the Liban zonal administrator.
Clan leaders and elders from all 9 zones of Somali Region, and others from Afar and Oromiya, officials from all levels of government, members of parliament, pastoralist representatives from Kenya and Somaliland, as well as a number of NGOs and international organizations will sit for five days in a bid to resolve a range of pressing issues affecting Somali region.
Addressing the sultans hosting the gathering, Elder Mohamed Ibrahim of Kebridehar said “Today, we are in your area and all pastoralists are under your shade. We are very happy to be here”. Mohamed Liban from Jijiga added “We have traveled all this way to discuss something very important and that is peace.” Women from all parts of the region insisted that peace be addressed seriously during the deliberations.