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ONLF army returns to Somali from Eritrea

Following the deliberation between the Government of Ethiopia and the leaders of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) since September in the capital city of the neighboring Eritrea and having signed a peace deal; the army of the ONLF, on Wednesday, November 21, 2018, returned to the Somali Regional State from their base in Eritrea.

Having arrived in the capital city of Somali, Jigjiga, the army wing of the front were greeted and welcomed by both residents of the city and other senior officials of the region.

It is to be remembered that the newly appointed Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed (PhD), extended his invitation to all political groups irrespective of their political agenda and mechanism to come back home and conduct their political activities peacefully. Hence, the government of Ethiopia and the leaders of the front had deliberated on numerous issues including the modalities of the negotiation and other related matters.

The two sides reached a historic deal that allowed the ONLF to undertake a peaceful political struggle in Ethiopia back in October. The agreement was signed by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Workneh Gebeyehu (PhD) and the Chairman of the ONLF Admiral Mohamed Umer Usman.

According to a Joint statement issued by the government of Ethiopia and ONLF after the signing of the peace deal; both sides have reached a common understanding on the issues discussed and the way forward. The decision to come home this week is therefore the result of the discussions and agreements by both sides.

The ONLF is one of the oldest separatist rebel groups established in 1984.  The group has been on Ethiopia’s terror list until recently when the Ethiopian parliament removed its name off of the list.

On August 12, 2018, ONLF declared a unilateral ceasefire and some of its members have returned to Ethiopia.