By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
August 20, 2012 (ADDIS ABABA) – The Ethiopian government last week signed a peace accord with rebel group, Benishangul People’s Liberation Movement (BPLM) to end the latter’s two decades of insurgency.
Minister of federal affairs, Shiferaw Teklemariam, and Jafar Mustafa, deputy chairperson of the BPLM inked the peace agreement on Wednesday at Ghion Hotel in the capital, Addis Ababa.
The breakthrough was reached following two years of negotiations, government officials said.
This is the second time for the rebel group to sign peace pact with government.
In 2005 the group also reached a peace deal with Ethiopian government which they broke a year later, resuming its armed struggle from its base in neighbouring Sudan.
Following the signing ceremony Shiferaw called on the group’s leadership for commitment in the implementation of the agreement, urging them not to bend to pressures from other external forces.
Jafar Mustafa assured the minister that the leadership of the movement would adhere to the deal and would work towards implementing it.
Since its establishment 17 years ago the BPLM has been carrying out cross-border attacks, mainly against developmental facilities in the Benishangul Gumuz state bordering Sudan.
There are allegations that Khartoum has ties with the BPLM.
The Benishanul Gumuz administration has welcomed the agreement.
President of the region, Ahmed Nasir, said the agreement would enable the region to successfully carry out on going developmental activities.
Ethiopia is currently constructing the multi-billion dollar Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam hydropower project in the region only 30km from Sudanese border. It is hoped the agreement improve the security for the project.