By Staff Reporter
October 31, 2018 - Ethiopian Defense Minister Engineer Ayisha Mohammed said her army is closely following activities of armed groups in Qelem Wollega of Oromia regional state of western Ethiopia.
Her remark followed reports of large rallies across western Oromia, supporting the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and rejecting the government’s plans in Addis Ababa to disband OLF troops.
The rallies involved skirmishes and roadblocks, stemming partly from uncertainty over an agreement the recently returned OLF made with the government.
“It is true that armed groups are roaming around Wolega city and surrounding areas of western Ethiopia. Their activities have put security of the public in danger. They are of course under the surveillance of our defense forces.” the newly appointed defence minister said in a briefing on Wednesday.
Ayisha said the government will not tolerate such illegal activities and will take measures to defend the constitution and public security.
On October 26 and 27, rallies were reportedly held against potential disarming of the OLF by Ethiopian defense forces in and around 15 towns, including Ambo, Nekemte, and Dembi Dollo.
“The reason for the rally is to protest against the government’s intention to disarm the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) by deploying military forces to western Oromia,” participants of the rally were quoted as saying by some media outlets
“Officials of Oromia and Benishangul regional states have discussed the matter and agreed to resolve the problem in a peaceful way. Religious fathers and community leaders are discussing with the armed groups to help resolve the problem ” Ayisha said
She hopes that the security threat will be resolved shortly. "Otherwise, the national army will take measures to safeguard public security and national constitution." Ayisha warned