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Crisis in Ethiopia’s Somali region taking ethnic twist – ONLF worried

The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) has reiterated its call for a peaceful resolution to the security standoff between federal and regional forces in Ethiopia’s Somali region.

ONLF, which operates in Ethiopia but insists it “struggles for the right of self determination of all Somalis under Ethiopian occupation,” bemoaned the deadly nature of the crisis.

The group said it was only a peaceful transition that could end the impasse which it said was turning into an inter-ethnic conflict between Somalis and Oromos – the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia.

The conflict is escalating and is turning into an inter-ethnic conflict between Somalis and Oromos. It will be unfortunate if this turns into full fledged war between Somalis and Oromos. That is unacceptable in this age and time.

ONLF called on neighbouring states and the international community to join efforts aimed at deescalating the situation. Capital of the region Jijiga has been the scene of battles between the national army and regional forces.

About thirty people are said to have died with attacks on about eight Orthodox churches. Some of the attacks led to in some cases gruesome murders of priests. Looting and supposed targeted killings have led scores to cross over into neighbouring Somaliland.

ONLF pointed at the Somali region’s paramilitary unit, Liyu Police, as being at the heart of security crisis in the region and called for justice. The current federal deployment is believed to be targeting Mohamed Omar, aka Abdi Illey, president of the region.

In response to a tweet asking it to help government tame the Liyu police, ONLF said: “Liyu Police was created by the federal government, so who will control the federal government. The crime that happened in Ogaden was masterminded by the federal government. All criminals must be apprehended, justice cannot be partial.”

Below are excerpts of its latest position as shared on Twitter:

ONLF calls upon the Ethiopian government and the Somali Regional administration to stop all military action. We don’t need anymore violence in the Somali region. The solution is all stakeholders to come together and chart out a peaceful transition to a Somali led transitional administration.

ONLF calls upon the neighbouring states and international community to pay attention to this issue and help all parties achieve a peaceful solution to the current debacle in the Somali Region.

The conflict is escalating and is turning into an inter-ethnic conflict between Somalis and Oromos. It will be unfortunate if this turns into full fledged war between Somalis and Oromos. That is unacceptable in this age and time.

Ethiopia’s Ogaden region and ONLF activities

Ethiopia’s Somali region has been plagued by violence for the last two decades. The government has fought the rebel Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) since 1984 after the group launched its bid for secession of the region, also known as Ogaden.

Since 2017, clashes along the province’s border with the Oromiya region have displaced tens of thousands of people.

The region’s officials have recently been accused by the government in Addis Ababa of perpetrating rights abuses. Last month, Ethiopia fired senior prison officials there after details emerged of torture and other abuses in one notorious prison.

Africanews

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