November 15, 2009 (ADDIS ABABA) – Ogaden rebels have captured seven towns in the oil rich region located in south eastern of Ethiopia, said a communiqué issued by the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) two days ago.
During a broad multiple front military operation against the positions of the Ethiopian army, the ONLF rebels took the control of seven towns in Ogaden on Tuesday, November 10.
"The operation involved thousands of O.N.L.F troops and resulted in two days of heavy fighting. A significant number of Ethiopian troops have been killed and their military hardware captured or destroyed," the rebels said.
The seized towns according to the ONLF statement are: Obolka located near Harar, Hamaro located to the East of Fik, Higlaaley near Degah Bur, Yucub located 40km from Wardheer, Galadiid located 35km from Kabri Dahar, Boodhaano near the city of Godey, Gunogabo located near Degah Bur.
"ONLF forces were warmly welcomed by the population in these areas and are administering medical care to those civilians killed by retreating Ethiopian occupation forces."
The ONLF rebel movement is founded in 1984 by the Somali people of Ogaden. The organization wants a referendum for separation of the Ogaden region from Ethiopia. But the central government refuses to negotiate with them and considers as a terrorist their group.
The ONLF fighters oppose exploration for Oil by Ethiopian authorities and foreign companies in the Ogaden region. In 2007 ONLF attacked an oil venture and killed 74 Ethiopian and Chinese Oil workers.