ONLF accusing Ethiopian government troops kills 71 civilians

ADDIS ABABA — Ethiopia’s rebel Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) on Friday claimed that 71 civilians had been killed by government forces during an operation launched last month.

ONLF which says it is fighting for autonomy for ethnic Somalis in the region on the border with Somalia, said the operation against them started on May 18.

It said in a statement on Friday that the offensive was launched in retaliation for a raid during which ONLF claimed to have captured a town previously controlled by the government.

Map of Ogaden
Map of Ogaden

“The Ethiopian army combed the countryside, summarily executing men in front of their families while beating, raping or killing the women,” the ONFL statement said.

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“The ruthless troops have so far massacred 71 innocent civilians with impunity while wounding and torturing hundreds.”

The Ethiopian government denied the accusations.

“We are still gathering information about these accusations, but so far we can say they are entirely baseless,” Shimeles Kemal, an Ethiopian government spokesman, said.

He denied that military operations were taking place in the Ogaden area.

Claims from either side are almost impossible to verify, as journalists and aid groups cannot travel in the poverty-stricken region without a government escort.

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The ONLF has been fighting for what it calls autonomy for ethnic Somalis in the Ogaden region since 1984.

The conflict has taken on new significance since international petroleum companies began searching for oil and gas in the area.

In April, a British geologist working for a subcontractor of Petronas, a Malaysian oil giant, was shot dead there.

Source: Al jazeera and AFP

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5 Comments

  1. Ethiopian elites are always cashing on the poor Ethiopians blood. EPRDF started as a secessionist group by Tigrians elites and now causing great harm to the Ethiopian people. Now another tribal sentimental secessionist on the east part of the country called ONLF mainly supported by the Eritrean government and causing great harm Ethiopians not to exist long term in peace. Unless we say no to EPRDF, ONLF, OLF, and all those who are not even liberated their narrow mentality we can not settle to our common objectives. Ethiopian people thought the country have common desire – to exist, taking care their family, and live in peace. The country is already divided by tribal boundary. If you are from Oromina you cannot go to other tribal region, if you are Amhara, your faith is to live only to your tribal region, the same to the Tigrian, Ethiopian Somalians, Afars, and so on.
    Let’s be bold and stand for our unity and say no to all those who caused us great harm to our unity.

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