Wednesday September 7, 2022
"Afar was given land belonging to Somalis by the various governments that passed through Addis Ababa, ONLF does not recognize this land transfer as lawful, and it must be returned."
Jigjiga (HOL) - Nur Fatulle, one of the top members of Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), said that ONLF believes the Ethiopian government has sponsored the occupation of Somali territory and that the region's people share these sentiments.
Fatulle made these comments during an interview on Monday about the ethnic conflict in the western region of Sitti.
He continued by saying, "It was unfortunate that the Ethiopian federal government did nothing to prevent the violence, provocation and expansionism by Afar against the Somali people living in the Sitti region."
For nearly a decade, ethnic Somalis and Afars in Ethiopia have been at odds over ownership of three Kebeles or wards. The Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), the former multi-ethnic ruling coalition, redrew the border between the two states in 2014. Three towns inhabited by the Issa clan Somalis were relocated to Afar from Somalia.
In mid-August, Afar regional militia attacked the town of Danlahelay, Sitti Zone. The subsequent fighting between Somali and Afar ethnic militias displaced thousands, and there were widespread reports of damage to homes and looting of businesses.
The ONLF is a political resistance movement founded after Somalia's defeat in the 1977 Ogaden War to achieve the right to self-determination for Somalis in Ethiopia's Somali Region. The Ethiopian government once considered the group a terrorist organization, but in 2018, the ONLF signed a peace agreement to end hostilities with President Abiy Ahmed's reform government.