President of Ethiopia's Somali region sacked over leaked video

October 23, 2012 —The president of Ethiopia's conflict-ridden Somali region, Mr. Abdi Mohamoud Omar, has been removed from office, officials in Addis Ababa have disclosed.

Abdi, who has held this position since 2010, was sacked from his post by the central government after a staged, unedited footage of Swedish journalists in the Ogaden were stolen from his offices and made public, sources said.

The video showed Swedish correspondents Martin Schibbye and Johan Person with two men pretending to be ONLF rebels, in a choreographed staged video that was used to incriminate them.

Describing the video as a 'Spielberg production in the desert' to the BBC, Schibbye reveled senior regional officials were behind the staged video, including the vice president of the region, Mr. Abdifatah Mohamud Hassan.

“This was not being done by some crazy militia: the director was the vice president in the region, and in the evening the regional president [Abdi Mohamoud Omar] called us and said, ‘We are not satisfied by your performances in the film,’” said Mr Schibbye‬.

Sources say the leaked footage has been an embarrassment to the regime. Prior to being released early, former dictator Meles Zenawi often referenced the video as hard evidence for justifying an 11-year sentence handed down against the Swedes.

President of the Somali Region of Ethiopia, Mr. Abdi Mohamoud Omar,
has been sacked from office.