An Ethiopian national recently displaced from Somaliland has been identified as the suspect behind an arson attack on the Offices of the Representative of Somaliland in Addis Ababa, police has revealed.
The incident occurred October 8, 2017 between 8pm and 9pm, damaging the lobby of the one-story building.
The Reporter gained access to the premises, and it was mostly furniture and other office equipment that bore the brunt of the attack.
The case is being investigated by Bole Sub-City Police Department, which confirmed the identity of the suspect, an evacuee from Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland.
He entered the compound by scaling the fence and then set the fire, according to a police officer close to the investigation whose name is withheld upon request given the sensitive nature of the case.
According to sources close to the investigation, the suspect confessed up to the crime, claiming it to be a payback for his displacement.
It is to be recalled that a couple of weeks ago, Negeri Lencho (PhD), Head of Government Communication Affairs Office, told the media that close to 3,000 ethnic-Oromo Ethiopians have been displaced from Somaliland.
The Reporter, during a visit to a temporary displaced persons’ shelter in Harrar, was able to confirm that many Ethiopians were displaced from Somaliland.
After perpetrating the attack, the unidentified man handed himself to law enforcement, according to police.
Members of the police and a team from the Addis Ababa City Fire Brigade responded to the incident. It took 46 minutes to control the blaze.
Damage to property was estimated at around 100,000 birr. Seven fire-fighters and one fire engine were deployed at the scene.
“We received a call from the [representative] office around 9:12 pm,” Solomon Mekonnen, communications officer with the Addis Ababa Fire, Emergency Prevention and Control Agency (FEPCA) said.
The Somaliland delegation has also reported the incident to Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“Yes, we were informed about the incident,” Meles Alem, spokesperson of the ministry told The Reporter.
Following the incident, security around the office has been beefed up. A security guard on duty at the time of the incident was arrested, but later released.
The head of the Somaliland delegation, Ali Hussien Ismali, confirmed the incident but declined to comment further, claiming the case was under investigation.