Ethiopia: ONLF lay down arms, combatants return home

Photo: File

by Engidu Woldie
ESAT News (November 21, 2018)

The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) has officially laid down arms and combatants of the Front have returned to Ethiopia from their base in Eritrea. The move followed a peace agreement reached with the Ethiopian government in Asmara last month.

Since its establishment in 1984, the ONLF has been fighting for the self-determination and autonomy of Smalis in the Ogaden region. It had claimed responsibility for several attacks against government targets.

In 2007, the ONLF attacked a Chinese petroleum exploration site in Ogaden, killing 74 people – 65 Ethiopians and 9 Chinese nationals.

Combatants of the ONLF were warmly welcomed in Jigjiga today, the capital of the Somali region in Eastern Ethiopia, as officials described the new development as ‘good news’ for the people of the Somali region.

Abdulahi Hussien, media advisor to the regional president, told ESAT that the return of the ONLF to a peaceful political struggle has been welcomed by the people and government of the Somali people. He said the return of ONLF would augment the ongoing positive political reforms in the country.

Meanwhile, Mr. Hussien said the youth group known as “Hego” which was formed by the ex-regional president Abdi Illey to destabilize the region, has been rooted out. Abdi Mohamed Omer, a.k.a. Abdi Illey was arrested in August for violations of human rights, inciting ethnic and religious conflict in the Somali region.

The regional government revealed a week ago that several mass graves have been found with hundreds of bodies. It said it is finalizing a report on the discovery of the mass graves and would be made public soon.