An Eritrean based rebel group, Patriot Ginbot 7 (PG7) has declared that it wants to return to Ethiopia to pursue a peaceful struggle, local media portal Addis Standard reported on Wednesday.
In a statement confirmed by PG7 leader, Dr. Bernahu Nega, the party said they have been encouraged by reforms undertaken by the new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed.
Nega was recently pardoned by Ethiopia’s attorney general, along with Jawar Mohammed, a prominent Oromo activist. They had been accused of leading the 2015 anti-government protests, charged under the country’s anti-terrorism laws.
The party says it ‘will renounce its act of self defense’ and return to Ethiopia if Abiy’s government continues on the path of eliminating repressive laws and building democratic institutions.
Abiy’s political reforms
The government recently started talks with 13 political parties to amend sections of the anti-terrorism law. Abiy has also continued to implement reforms including asking exiled opposition groups to return home.
Abiy also played a role in the pardon of Andargachew Tsige who was sentenced to death in absentia in 2009 over his role in the opposition group PG7. He had been arrested in Yemen and extradited to Ethiopia five years later.
In an interview with the CGTN Africa network two days after his release, Tsige said he was still mentally weighed down by the complexities of the country’s politics.
The PG7 statement added that they are interested in civilised politics and are keenly following the ongoing reforms, as they seek ways to contribute practical steps.