Home | News    Sunday 17 October 2010

Ethiopia: Somali party urges factions to choose peace over war

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By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

October 16, 2010 (ADDIS ABABA) — The Western Somali Democratic Party (WSDP) called on the country’s rebels to stop insurgency and join the peaceful political process of the country.

The group, from the ethnic Somali region bordering Somalia and Kenya, lauded Tuesday’s peace deal between a faction of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) and the Ethiopian government.

Speaking to the state-run Ethiopia Radio and Television Agency, Chairperson of the WSDP, Hirsi Dool Hirsi on Friday said, ‘the deal is crucial to bringing about peace and development in the Somali region’ of western Ethiopia.

He praised that the ONLF faction who signed the recent deal, led by Engineer Salahddin Maow for choosing the right path by recognizing the cumulative effects of war and underdevelopment.

Hirsi called upon the Somali Diaspora to come home and be part of the development endeavors as the insurgency was now over. The chairman also praised the United Western Somali Liberation Front for signing a similar peace accord with the government last August and called upon other factions to follow suit.

The ONLF had staged 25 year-long insurgency seeking for the eastern region’s right to self-determination until Maow’s faction signed a peace deal with government.

According to the agreement, the Ethiopian government will release jailed leaders and members of the group. The group will also turn itself into a legal political group and continue a peaceful struggle.

The ONLF faction who are still fighting the government maintain that they are the larger and more significant of the two factions. Both factions regularly claim to be the main group of the ONLF.

A spokesman for the ONLF group who are still at war with the Ethiopian government, Abderahmane Mahadi, told AFP that the other faction was "irrelevant".

The armed wing of this ONLF the Ogaden National Liberation Army (ONLA) has been designated a terrorist group by the Ethiopian government.

Ethiopia accuses Eritrea of arming and financing, the Ogaden National Liberation Front, the Oromo liberation Front (OLF) and Somalia’s Al Shabab, an allegation Asmara denies.

The ONLF has claimed responsibility for several attacks inside the horn of Africa nation including an attack on a Chinese run oil company, which killed 9 Chinese and 65 Ethiopians in 2007.

(ST)

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