Home | News    Saturday 13 November 2010

Ethiopia releases more detained Ogaden rebels

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By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

November 12, 2010 (ADDIS ABABA) - The Ethiopian government has released an undisclosed numbers of Ogaden rebels, according the Somali state in the east of the country.

The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), the country’s most active rebel movement, has been fighting for the right to for the Somali region of Ethiopia to secede since 1984.

Somali state President, Aro Abdi Mohamod Oumer told journalists that the detained members of the rebel group were freed on Wednesday in accordance with lasts month’s peace deal with a breakaway faction of the ONLF.

This is the second time for the Ethiopian government has released detained Ogaden rebels since the peace accord was signed in October. Following the agreement several leaders and members of the group were also set free.

The Ethiopian government claims that the breakaway group, which laid down their arms, represents around 80 percent of the main group.

However, an exiled ONLF faction which alleges rather to be the main group has dismissed the government claims as “Addis Ababa’s propaganda” and vowed to continue an arms struggle against the central government.

The Ogaden rebel group on Tuesday claimed it had killed 267 government soldiers since the beginning of October, a claim immediately dismissed by the government as “an internet gimmick".

Ethiopia accuses Eritrea of arming and financing, the ONLF, the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and other regional enemies of the Ethiopian government, an allegation Asmara denies.

The ONLF has long been warning foreign firms not to look for oil and gas in the Somali region.

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

(ST)

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