By Ahmed Abdi,
SOMALIA’s Islamist militant group Al-Shabaab denied any association with ONLF Liberation Army (ONLA) following governor of Somalia’s Bakool Province accusation on VOA Somali service that he said have evidence fighters from ONLF fought alongside Al-Shabaab in recent fighting in Bakool regions.
“It is a blatant lie, these guys (SFG) never ashamed of telling lies. It is bespeak that ONLF deny and they (ONLF) would not decline if they took part in the fight,” said Sheik Abdi-Aziz Abu Mus’ab, Al-shabab’s Spokesperson on Friday.
“We have no relationship with the ONLF, which we regard them “un-Islamic” as long as it is not fighting for a cause of religious ideology, and it’s banned from the territory under our control,” added Abuu Mus’ab.
The governor, Mohammed Abdi Tool, in his lengthy interview accused ONLF of becoming allies with the Shebaab since they both have a common enemy, Ethiopia. And he justified Liyuu Police’s involvement in the fight as a good intention of chasing ONLF fighters from Somalia.
The Ogaden National Liberation Front did not take part in the Bakool fighting nor does in any other fighting between Al-shabab and the Ethiopian army whether in Somalia or in the Ogaden, stated a press statement issued by the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) on Thursday.
“This unfounded allegation by the so-called regional governor of Bakool is probably instigated by the Ethiopian regime that controls most of Somalia. It is a foolish attempt to link ONLF and Al-Shabaab, while justifying the defeat suffered by the joint Ethiopian and Somalia tribal militias,” reads the press release.
“They said, without clear evidence, that ONLF fought in Jawhar, in Kismayo, and in the central Somalia regions and it seems, whoever is defeated in the battlefield claims that the ONLF is part of the fight. They always say such when they get hurt and the pain of the bullet touches them in a bid to receive Ethiopia’s TPLF assistance against their fellow Somali rivals,” Said Adaani Hirmooge, the ONLF Spokesperson.
“This Man (referring to the Somali governor, Mr. Tool) is neurotic that Ethiopia requested to act as an Ethiopian mouthpiece because he is paid or threatened. It is truly amazing how dirty a country can be towards Somali officials and Ethiopia is a good example.”
In the statement, ONLF mentioned the unreported daily fighting that have been going on for more than two decades and rejected involvement in what it called “the quagmire in the political marshland of Somali”, which it says the big and bad neighbor of Ethiopia always try to capitalize before finally meets its Waterloo.
“As for the Ethiopian surrogates in Somalia regional administrations posing as Somali officials, it is not the responsibility of ONLF if your tribal militias donned Somali National Army uniforms are thrashed by Al-Shabaab. The responsibility lies solely with you, who are incapable of building and managing an effective administration that can create the objective conditions ttowards security and good governance to the Somali people and defeat those who endanger it.”
It’s reported that the heavy-fighting between Al-Shabaab and Ethiopia in Somalia’s Bakool regions has involved the notorious Liyu Police militias, which Human Rights Groups accuse them of committing atrocities and human rights abuses in Somali region of Ogaden.
Liyu Police is not part of the AMISOM mandate in Somalia. And why did the Liyu police enter into Somalia is a story in itself. Trained with funds from Western donors, Liyuu Police is an ethnic Somali paramilitary force that fights along side Ethiopian troops against ONLF National Army.
Reliable sources suggest that Liyu Police militia captured 7 towns in Somalia’s Bakool province including Aato, Rabdhure, Biyabaho, and Laga’lay, but lost at least 40 of its fighters in the recent battle with Al-Shabab.
The ONLF rebel movement is founded in 1984 by Somali intellectuals of Ogaden. The Liberation movement wants referendum for separation of its oil-and-gas rich territory of Ogaden from Ethiopia. Peace-talks between Ethiopia and Ogaden stalled in Oct 17,2012, after the ONLF rejected to accept the Ethiopian constitution.
The ONLF fighters also oppose exploration for Oil and gas in the Ogaden region. In 2007 ONLF attacked an oil venture and killed 74 Ethiopian guards and 9 Chinese Oil workers.