The government of Somalia is defending a controversial decision to hand over a prominent Ogaden rebel leader to authorities in Ethiopia.
The transfer of Abdikarin Sheikh Muse, a top member of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), has sparked a social media uproar and protests against the government by nationalist politicians. Small demonstrations took place in Mogadishu on Monday and at Kenya's Dadaab camp for Somali refugees on Tuesday.
Muse, who is in his sixties, was detained by security forces August 23 in the Somali city of Galkayo. His supporters say he is a dual Somali-Ethiopian citizen who fought in Somalia's 1977 war against Ethiopia.
Following a cabinet meeting Wednesday in Mogadishu, the government described the transfer as "a legal step taken to remove a security threat."
Speaking to reporters in Mogadishu, Somali Information Minister Abdirahman Omar Osman said Somalia and Ethiopia reached an agreement in 2015 that designates both the ONLF and Somalia-based al-Shabab as terror groups.
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