Tension Running High in Oromia State After Fighting Broke Out in Western Ethiopia

By Staff Reporter

OLF-Fighting-EthiopiaNovember 5, 2019 (Ezega.com) -- Tension is running high after fighting broke out in Begi and Qondala districts in Wellega zone of Oromia state in western Ethiopia between the rebel Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and members of the Ethiopian Defense Forces, residents said on Tuesday.

The fighting has continued even a day after an agreement was reached by Oromo political parties, including OLF, in Addis Ababa to collaborate for peaceful political activities in the region.

Eyewitnesses told Ezega.com that the fighting has been going on since last Saturday after OLF soldiers dismantled a blockade by members of the National Defense Force and the situation turned into a serious fighting.

“One person named by Abdi was found dead at a place called Garjela and residents have begun leaving to other places," Deutsche Welle Amharic has quoted residents of the districts as saying.

According to the eyewitnesses in Gedami district, the exchange of gunfire is still going on at a place called Haro Dima between the two forces.

“Gunshots were first heard for about three hours in Haro Dima last Thursday. The fighting restarted on Saturday and caused insecurity in the surrounding districts,” the eyewitnesses said.

“There were some provocations from the armed members of Shene, which is the other wing of Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), nevertheless there has not been war,” administrator of the Qondila district Belete Iticha was quoted as saying by Deutsche Welle Amharic.

Members of the defense forces have been deployed in four districts of Wellega zone, which is still under the military rule otherwise called command post.

Several hundred OLF fighters had come out of the bushes and reportedly integrated into the regional security forces in line with a peace pact agreed upon in January this year by OLF and the governing party of the regional state - the Oromo Democratic Party (ODP).

OLF leaders who agreed to operate peacefully in the country and had disclosed that the front had disarmed all its troops after the agreement was reached with ODP.

Just a few days ago, several Oromo political parties, including the OLF, had once again agreed to work for a common goal.

Meanwhile, a planned pro-Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed rally, which was set to be staged in Ambo city, was called off.

The rally was reportedly called off after anti-Abiy forces disseminated information that the demonstrators could face attacks.

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