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Djibouti: Abdourahman Boreh Calls for President Guelleh to Leave

The opposition candidate for Djibouti, Abdourahman Boreh, has called for President Guelleh to leave his job in a press release issued through a London communications agency this morning.

Using the services of business & brand reputation experts MHP, Abdourahman Boreh to called for justice in the small African nation and announce a fresh round of demonstrations on Friday 25th February 2011.

In a statement released through the firm, he said:

I condemn President Guelleh’s appalling and inhumane treatment of innocent people and call on him to order the release of all human rights and political activists. At the same time I call on the international community and human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch to intervene to put an end to this brutal suppression of free speech. People’s hopes for greater democracy, for greater freedom, for greater rights should be met with political reform – not violent oppression.

Fighting continues in Djibouti and the President appears resolute on staying in power by force. The situation is likely to deteriorate in the coming days. Another mass demonstration is planned for Friday, February 25, and more than 50,000 people are expected to participate.

I call on President Guelleh to order a halt to police brutality and arrests of citizens exercising their constitutional rights to free expression and free assembly. President Guelleh must listen to the will of the people and step down to pave the way for free and fair elections.

Djibouti is a small but highly strategic country.  It hosts foreign military bases, is the only maritime trade route to Ethiopia, and is the guardian of the Mandeb straights pinch-point en route to the Suez Canal. It is important that a mature and sensible transition to real democracy is now made.

It should be remembered that, as a proportion of the population, the size of the demonstrations in Djibouti is comparable to those recently seen in Egypt. Demonstrators are continuing to demand democracy, despite the threats of police brutality, tear gas and arbitrary arrests.

It is now clear to the world that President Guelleh has lost his authority. He can no longer rule the country and claim the support of the people. A lame duck president clinging to power by the use of force and the misuse of the institutions of the state is bad for Djibouti and bad for the region. He should go now, before the country descends into chaos. If he refuses to step down, opposition groups will boycott the elections.

I call on the international community to help the transition by allowing safe passage of President Guelleh to a neutral country, and by helping in the supervision of free and fair elections.  It is time to give the people of Djibouti a genuine opportunity to determine their future.

Djibouti is home to less than one million people and claimed its independence from France in 1977. It is a strategically important state at the mouth of the Red Sea – a choke point for international shipping and a potential point of interaction for Al-Qaeda forces moving between Somalia and South Yemen.

Ismail Omar Guelleh, the current President, came to power in 1999 and was re-elected in a one-man election in 2005. Election are due at the end of his six year term.

A biography available on Mr Boreh’s website, details how Mr Boreh previously supported President Guelleh and helped him be be elected to his present position in both 1999 and 2005.

His activities culminated in an active role in Presidential elections of 1999 under which the current President was elected with Boreh’s support. Boreh also supported the President’s constitutional re-election in 2005.

After the election Boreh became personal advisor to the President. He counselled him in many political achievements such as the final Reconciliation Agreement made with the Front for the Restoration of Unity and Democracy (FRUD) in February 2000 and was regularly called to advise on foreign policy, especially during serious disputes related to Somalia and Eritria.

Boreh represented the Djibouti Government in the successful negotiations and agreement for the establishment of the US army base in Djibouti.

Boreh has acted as the Ambassador of the Djibouti Government and successfully promoted the stability of Djibouti law and political system to attract investors to Djibouti.

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