Ethiopia re-integrates 1,700 separatist rebels
Addis Ababa, Feb 9, 2019 (AFP) - Ethiopia formally re-integrated some 1,700
former fighters with the separatist Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF)
which waged a three decade insurgency in the eastern Somali regional state,
local media said Saturday.
The ex-rebels, who will have a choice between returning to civilian life or
joining regional or federal security forces, were formally re-integrated
during a ceremony in the eastern city of Jijiga, reported the state media
outlet Ethiopia News Agency.
The fighters, who were based in Eritrea, returned to Ethiopia in November
2018, shortly after a peace agreement was signed between the ONLF and the
Formed in 1984, ONLF had been fighting for the rights of ethnic Somalis
living in eastern Ethiopia to self-determination, including the option of
The rebel group made international headlines on April 24, 2007 when it
launched a deadly raid on a Chinese run oil field in the Somali regional
The attack left 65 Ethiopians and nine Chinese dead.
After the attack, Addis Ababa launched a large scale counterinsurgency
campaign, with rights groups alleging widespread abuses including torture,
rape and murder.
Since taking office in April, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has released
imprisoned dissidents and prioritised reconciling with the country's various
The Ethiopian parliament in July removed the ONLF from a terror list, which
prompted the group to declare an indefinite unilateral ceasefire in August.
Ethiopia's breakneck diplomatic thaw with former rival Eritrea since July
2018, also helped turn Asmara from a chief sponsor of ONLF to one that is
mediating between the two sides.