By Ahmed Abdi,
THE Ogaden Community in South Africa (OCSA) has called on the International Community to hold UN-Sponsored self-determination referendum for the people of Occupied-Ogaden region, which the people have been seeking since British handed over to Ethiopia in 1954.
In a statement issued following its 11th meeting last last week, its leaders thanked the government of Kenya for its efforts to broker ONLF-Ethiopia peace-talks in a bid to find a political solution to the Ogaden-Ethiopia conflict.
“We encourage continued efforts to seek international support for the Ogaden self-determination,” read the statement released on February 18.
Head of the Ogaden Community in SA, Mohammed Dahir, appealed to the government of South Africa, African Union, United Nations and International Community to hold those accountable for committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Ogaden region.
The OCSA held its 11th election and re-elected Mohamed Dahir as its chairperson for the year 2015. It will likely undertake campaigns to mobilize the Ogaden Community in South Africa and assist legal fighters as well as raising funds to support the Ogaden cause besides working together with other communities to highlight the hidden genocide in Ogaden.
During the meeting, the Ogaden community urged ONLF leadership to translate its words into action and work closely with the Ethiopian opposition groups, including Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), Sidama Liberation Front (SLF), Benishangul People’s Liberation Movement (BPLM), Afar and Gambella fighters that it has already pledged to do so.
Community members congratulated the liberation movement, Ogaden National Liberation Armies (ONLA), for their recent victory over the Ethiopian Security Forces at which the ONLA claimed up to 120 Ethiopian Liyuu Police militia killed in clashes between February 8 and February 12.
ONLF lost an army Commander, Mustafe Haybe, and several fighters during the battles around southern Ogaden town of Gode and near the town of Sagag.
Government-run media has confirmed of the clashes and published images of killed journalist, Mohamed Dawil and his cameraman. The images appeared to show the use of severe torture.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn later this month asked Turkish President Recep Tayyib Erdogan to act as mediator between the government and the ONLF, taking an advantage of Erdogan’s visit to Ethiopia, according to Africa Intelligence.
ONLF was founded in 1984, and it has been engaging in armed struggle with the Ethiopian occupying force stationed in Ogaden since 1994, after the Ethiopian government cracked down its members following an overwhelming yes vote for self-determination.
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Ahmed Abdi is a freelance journalist and can be reached at [email protected]