ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AFP)–The president of Ethiopia’s restive Somali region has been sacked for failing to curb a secessionist insurgency and implement development plans, state-media said Monday.
“The Somali Peoples’ Democratic Party has decided to dismiss President Abdullahi Hassan following consultations in Jijiga (the Somali province capital city),” state-owned Ethiopian Radio said.
The agency didn’t specify the exact date when the decision was taken.
“Regional officials took the measure after a three-month report highlighted a failure in implementing desired development programs, tackling drought and security threats,” it said.
Ethiopia is a federal system and each provincial assembly chooses a leader. The SPDP is allied to Meles Zenawi’s ruling party.
A regional official who asked to remain anonymous said however Abdullahi may have been given the sack for links with corrupt businessmen and for interfering in the trials of suspected insurgents.
The Somali province, which includes the troubled Ogaden region, has been hit by a series of attacks attributed to separatist rebels in recent years.
Abdullahi himself was injured in May 2007 when grenades were hurled into a stadium where some 100,000 people were gathered for a national celebration.
Eight members of the rebel Ogaden National Liberation Front, or ONLF, were subsequently sentenced to death following the assassination attempt. Last year the army launched an offensive against the rebels after they attacked a Chinese- run oil venture and killed 77 people.
Earlier this month, four people were killed and 22 injured by a separate bomb explosion in Jijiga. The attack was attributed to the Islamist rebel group Al- Ittihad Al-Islamiya.