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OLF says it is working to disarm soldiers

The Oromo Liberation Front (OLF)/ABO which is said to have around 4,300 soldiers in the country and of which only 1,500 have disarmed thus far, told The Reporter this week that it is working with authorities to fully disarm its fighters and further its peaceful engagement in the political space in Ethiopia.

Those who are disarmed are those who recently have returned back to Ethiopia from Eritrea, Ibssa Negewe, executive member of the party, told The Reporter; adding that the disarmed soldiers are now in a temporary shelter in Shashemene, in Oromia Regional State.

“We came to engage in peaceful political activism in Ethiopia,” Ibssa said in phone interview, but the process of fully disarming the soldiers is a task which is being accomplished at moment, he asserted.   

Few days back, on his Facebook page, Addisu Arega, Executive Member of the Oromo Democratic Party and former Communication Bureau head of the Region, asked OLF to disarm its soldiers as soon as possible.

Addisu in his official facebook account wrote in Oromiffa that the government was carefully and patiently looking at armed groups who are active in the name of OLF. He indicated in his post that these groups are active in different parts of Oromia.

Moreover, he indicated that those who are operating in the name of OLF were behind the attacks along the borders of Beinshangul Gumuz and Oromia Regional States which led to the displacements of thousands of people.

He further demanded OLF to quickly disarm its soldiers and relocate them to government shelters.

In this regard, Tolera Adaba, a high ranking official of OLF, admitting that there are still a number of armed OLF soldiers in different parts of Oromia, said that the party is working with the government to disarm the soldiers.  

Tolera, however, denied any connection between the said OLF soldiers and the attack in Benishangul.

OLF is a political party established back in 1970’s. The party has been struggling for the self-determination of the Oromo people. In early 1990’s the party and its leaders were part of the transitional government after the down fall of the Marxist Derg.

Following a disagreement with the incumbent EPRDF, the then senior leaders of the OLF including Leencho Letta went in exile and lived abroad for more than two decades.

“We are now here for good and constructive engagement,” underscores Ibbsa.