• World - Africa
  • Updated: April 24, 2023

Ethiopia's Government To Hold Talks With Rebels Terrorising Largest Region

Ethiopia's Government To Hold Talks With Rebels Terrorising

Ethiopia's Government Set To Hold Talks With Rebels Terrorising Country's Largest Region

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced on Sunday evening that peace talks would begin on Tuesday with the OLA, a rebel group active in the country's largest and most populous region of Oromia, which surrounds the capital Addis Ababa.

Abiy stated that "peace talks" with the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) "will start on Tuesday in Tanzania." 

"This negotiation is necessary for the Ethiopian government and the people. I urge everyone to contribute in some way."

The OLA "confirms Abiy Ahmed's statements and can attest that the Ethiopian regime has accepted our conditions for peace negotiations, which include the participation of an independent third party mediator and a commitment to maintaining transparency throughout the process," the OLA said in a statement released overnight.

The organization continued, "It is encouraging to see that the regime has finally reached the same conclusion. Since the start of the conflict, OLA has consistently called for peaceful dialogue as the only workable solution.

Neither Abiy nor the OLA made it clear who would serve as the mediator, and where and how the negotiations would take place.

In Tigray, a region in northern Ethiopia, a peace agreement signed on November 2 put an end to two years of conflict between the Ethiopian government and local authorities who rebelled against the central government. Abiy was speaking at a ceremony for participants and sponsors of the peace process there.

The historic Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), which renounced armed conflict that year, and the "official" OLA split, and the "official" OLA has been fighting the Ethiopian federal government since that time.

It has given rise to a hazy coalition of armed organizations that claim to be its own but have tenuous ties.

The OLA's strength, which was estimated at a few thousand men in 2018, has significantly increased in recent years, but observers believe it is still insufficiently organized and armed to pose a serious threat to the federal government.

With internal political conflicts, territorial disputes, and intergroup hostilities, the situation in Oromia is incredibly tumultuous.

Especially in the Wollegas, a remote area in the far west, where they primarily target the Amhara group, a minority in the area, Oromia has recently been the scene of ethnic massacres, the perpetrators of which are not identified.

The OLA consistently denies Abiy's government's repeated accusations that it was behind these massacres.

The government is accused of indiscriminate repression that fuels Oromo resentment against the federal government in Addis Ababa.

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