Eritrea Based ONLF Army Returns to Ethiopia
November 21, 2018 - The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) army returned to Somali regional state from their base in Eritrea, reports FBC.
It is to be recalled that the Front reached agreement with the government of Ethiopia recently in Asmara, Eritrea, a deal that allowed the ONLF to undertake peaceful political struggle in Ethiopia.
On October 21, 2018, the two sides disclosed that they had reached an agreement in what the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs described as the ending of one of the oldest armed struggles in the country.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Workneh Gebeyehu, led the Ethiopian delegation at the time. He was accompanied by the Minister of Finance, Ahmed Shide, and the Vice President of Somali Region, Mustafe Mohamed. The ONLF side was led by its Chairman, Admiral Mohamed Umer Usman.
Upon arrival at the Jigjiga town, they were welcomed by residents and other senior local officials.
The contingent were flown from Asmara to Jijiga, capital of the Somali Regional State, by an Ethiopian Airlines flight. They were received with cultural displays upon their arrival at the airport.
According to Wikipedia profile, the Ogaden National Liberation Front operated as a separatist rebel group fighting for the right to self-determination for Somalis in the Somali Region of Ethiopia. The front was established in 1984 to demand autonomy for this region. It has claimed responsibility for several attacks since the beginning of 1994.
The area of the Ogaden region stretches at least about 330,000 square kilometres and has over 7 million people, mainly from the Absame Somali tribe. The ONLF is composed mainly of members of the Ogaden clan, specifically "the makaahiil tribe of the Ogaden".
The ONLF is one in a series of armed opposition groups that has been housed in Eritrea for decades to destabilize Ethiopia. Although Eritrea's effort did not bear much fruit, Eritrea served as a base to various Ethiopian armed opposition groups, including Ginbot 7, the Oromo Libreation Front (OLF), Tigray People’s Democratic Movement (TPDM), and the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF). Eritrea has also served as base to other opposition groups from neighboring countries, including those from Somalia. Eritrea was sanctioned by the United Nations for these activities for over a decade, sanctions that crippled its economy and caused thousands of its people fleeing home to neighboring countries.
The ONLF peace agreement with the Ethiopian government marks the end of Eritrea's subversive activities against Ethiopia.