Ethiopia’s Somali regional state on Friday signed an agreement to disarm and reintegrate members of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) into the state’s security forces and civil service.
Over 1,740 fighters of the Ogaden National Liberation Front are now ready to join the Somali regional state’s security forces and civil service.
The decision came after the group fully agreed to abandon the armed struggle following Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s call for the group to return to Ethiopia and pursue peaceful political discourse.
It is indicated that those who choose to stay in military related jobs are expected to take rehabilitation training before joining the government forces.
Deputy President of Somali Region of Ethiopia Mustafa Mohamed has made welcoming speech expressing his gratitude for the Group to accept the call and decided to end the arms struggle.
Hundreds of Somalis celebrated the historic agreement in the state’s capital of Jigjiga.
ONLF is one of the many rebel groups, which have decided to end arms struggle with Ethiopian regime and advance their political agenda peacefully.
The ONLF, established in 1984, demands for autonomy of the oil and gas rich Ogaden region and has claimed responsibility for several attacks since the beginning of 1994 against Ethiopian forces in the area.
Below is a timeline of events leading up to Friday’s historic agreement:
– July 5, 2018: Ethiopia’s parliament removes ONLF from list of terrorist organisations
– August 12, 2018: ONLF declares unilateral ceasefire in Ogaden region
– September 18, 2018: Ethiopia govt holds peace talks with ONLF in Asmara, Eritrea
– November 21, 2018: ONLF rebels return to Ethiopia (Jigjiga) from their base in Eritrea
– December 1, 2018: ONLF leaders return from Eritrea to Ethiopia (Addis Ababa)
– February 8, 20148: ONLF disarms fighters, signs agreement with Somali state
Formed in 1984 amid a resurgence of separatist sentiment in the ethnically Somali Ogaden region on Ethiopia’s border with Somalia, ONLF describes itself as “a national liberation organisation that struggles for the rights of the Somali people in Ogaden and has no involvement whatsoever in Somalia’s multifaceted conflict at all.”
The Ogaden region is almost entirely populated by Muslim, Somali-speakers. The region has kept its own distinctive identity, doing the bulk of its trade with Somaliland, Somalia and the Middle East rather than the rest of “highland” Ethiopia.
#Ethiopia: Ogaden Liberation Front (#ONLF) has today disarmed 1,740 of its armed members. As per an agreement ONLF & #Somali regional state signed late this afternoon, the disarmed members will be reintegrated into the regional state either as security forces or as civil servants pic.twitter.com/RptGnIh9hI
— Addis Standard (@addisstandard) February 8, 2019
The Somali Regional state today is the most peaceful area in the Horn of Africa due to the determined efforts of #ONLF and H.E Abiy’ Government. Spoiler will not succeed in derailing the peace and stability achieved. #Ethiopia #Ogaden #Somali https://t.co/Am9ucfsGXc
— ONLF (@ONLFofficial) January 29, 2019
* AfricaNews and GOOBJOOB contributed to the story