According to the organization Djibouti League for Human Rights (LDDH). arbitrary arrests against members of the political opposition and ethnic minorities have increased rapidly over the past three weeks, especially in the north-eastern areas of the country.
Approximately twenty Djiboutians have been arrested and detained in prisons where torture is routinely practiced against prisoners, although the LDDH itself is unable to confirm that these prisoners have actually suffered torture.
The arrests would be part of a police operation aimed at discouraging the adherence to the FRUD organization, the Front for the Restoration of Unity and Democracy, which according to Djibouti authorities has assumed the profile of an organization for armed struggle, being in fact considered a terrorist organization.
Relations between the FRUD and the Djibouti authorities deteriorated once again following the contested election of President Ismail Omar Guelleh for a fifth term, which led to protests by opposition forces and – according to these – increased the numbers of political formations most hostile to the president.
Presidential spokesman Daoud Houmed, speaking on the matter, described the arrests of recent weeks as normal police operations against common criminals, while adding that the FRUD is considered a terrorist organization and that the complaint of the LDDH is devoid of any credibility.
In spite of the government denial, however, it must be reported that the Djibouti government perceives with increasing concern the increase in tensions between Somali and Afar minority communities, providing for a comprehensive reorganization of the command line of its armed forces, with a view to a more effective management of the phenomenon.