Politics | Human rights
Djibouti meets protests with repression
Since 29 January, Egypt and Yemen-inspired protests have been noted in Djibouti, calling for Djiboutian President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh to respect the country's constitution and not seek a third term in office in the upcoming April elections.
The FRUD movement, which represented the Afar minority in the 1991-94 civil war, warns that the Guelleh regime may be planning to use "mercenary" police troops to meet the protests. A group of around 500 Somali policemen, receiving training in Djibouti by Ugandan officials, since the protest started has been "patrolling in Djibouti City and continue to do so, to identify sites of protest," according to FRUD leader Mohamed Kadamy.
Mr Kadamy "warns" President Guelleh against the possible use of these Somali police troops "against peaceful demonstrators," adding that the President does not have confidence in the loyalty of the national police.
During the last few days, however, more and more Djiboutian groups have expressed their support for the protests. FRUD leader Kadamy said party s
Other minor opposition parties have called on their supporters to join the protests, as have Djiboutian human rights groups. From abroad, businessman and would-be presidential candidate Abdourahman Boreh called on President Guelleh "to step down to make way for a peaceful transition of power."
As Djibouti gears up for massive anti-government protests on Friday, both President Guelleh and the international community meet the popular demands with silence. While Djibouti is a small and relatively unknown country, it is far from insignificant.
Strategically placed at the entrance to the Red Sea in the Gulf of Aden, Djibouti houses the region's largest port, also being Ethiopia's main trade trans-shipment point. Djibouti further houses the main military bases of both the US and France, key to anti-terror and anti-piracy operations in the region. Unrest here would be very inconvenient.
By staff writers
© afrol News
- Create an e-mail alert for Djibouti news
- Create an e-mail alert for Politics news
- Create an e-mail alert for Human rights news
On the Afrol News front page now