Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) combatants officially disarmed today in a ceremony organized in the Somali region capital, Jijiga.
The regional government has committed itself to integrate ONLF combatants to the region’s security structure. ONLF has handed over about 1,740 combatants to the government, according to a report by FBC.
The ceremony is attended by the regional government officials, ONLF leaders and elders in the region.
Mohammed Mustefa Umer, the region’s acting president who is hailed among many Ethiopian’s as a progressive politician, remarked that ONLF’s disarmament is an important chapter for peace and development of the region.
Yesterday, the regional state council lifted immunity of 12 members who are to be charged in connection with egregious human rights violation some time in July and August 2018, and corruption. Of which 6 of them are already in custody while the rest are belived to be overseas. The region’s former president Abdi Illey is in custody and is charged last week in a federal court in the capital Addis Ababa.
ONLF rebel forces were based in Eritrea and they returned to Ethiopia about two months ago after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration called for armed opposition groups to return to the country and carry on thier struggle peacefully.
Observers says recent moves by ONLF and its expressed support for the ongoing change in the country represents the groups’ new focus on peaceful political struggle. ONLF has in fact expressed interest in continuing political struggle in a peaceful way.
Ethiopia’s experience in connection with armed opposition groups invited to the country for a peaceful struggle various. For example, Oromo Liberation Front, a radical militant ethno-nationalist political organization, refused to disarm after returning to the country and was essentially running a de facto government in the western parts of the country- a development which dragged Ethiopia to what now seems a short lived civil war.