The rebel Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) has agreed to give up its armed struggle against the government in Addis Ababa after it suffered a humiliating defeat last week. The leader of the front, Dawud Ibsa, announced his party’s agreement by signing a reconciliation pact on January 24th with the Oromia regional government in Ambo University, about 125km west of the capital.
Last week, the Ethiopian army disclosed that it had detained 835 OLF militants in western Ethiopia, where many others were killed after a massive counter attack. The counter attack came after armed OLF troops robbed 18 private and government banks and took control of government offices in the region. The Ethiopian Defence Force said early last week that it was disarming troops of the OLF rebel group, also known as ‘Shene’ in western Ethiopia.
The Government and the OLF signed a reconciliation accord in August last year in Asmara, the Eritrean capital, agreeing to terminate hostilities between them and allowing the OLF to conduct political activities in the country by peaceful means.
Following the agreement in Asmara, hundreds of exiled leaders, including Dawud Ibsa, returned to Addis Ababa in mid-September last year, where they received a friendly and warm reception. Some days later, however, the front rejected the
rapprochement, claiming it would not enter a disarmament agreement. The OLF Communication Bureau, in a statement said, OLF militants had killed at least 41 people, including police officers, after they returned home from neighbouring Eritrea in September last year.
Senior leaders of Oromia and the OLF, Abba Gadaas (Oromo traditional leader), elders, scholars, youth representatives and representatives of political parties attended the meeting. Presenting the deal offred by the OLF leaders and Dr Milkesa Mideksa, representing Oromia regional state and Dawud Ibsa, Chairperson of the OLF, pledged to avoid bloodshed, leaving the past behind.
A committee of 71 people was also formed to facilitate the disarmament, and demobilisation process and the reintegration of armed members of the OLF in different parts of Oromia.