I witnessed that in 1978 in Shangani, Mogadishu, Somalia, the offices of the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) and the office of the Western Somali Liberation Front (WSLF) [now known as the Ogaden National Liberation Front] were located in close proximity. . The office of the Somali Liberation Front Abbo was located a short distance away [now known as the Oromo Liberation Front]. These three pro-independence factions were treated equally by the Somali government of Mohamed Siad Barre in military, financial and political support. In the same way, the Somali people, wherever they are, have paid tribute to the rebels for their liberation from Ethiopian colonial rule. There is a Somali proverb that says “there is a man who rewards you but no man who repays you.”
With the fall of the communist regime of Mengestu Hailemarima, Eritrean and Tigrayan forces invaded the Ogaden. Eritrea’s secession from Ethiopia was an agreement between the TPLF and the EPLF and both denied the Somali reward.
The devil who creates conflict, disease and famine in the Horn of Africa is the dictator of Eritrea Issaias Afwerki who rules by force of the honorable people of Eritrea. He does not know what an election is, no country in the world has a relationship with him, oppresses the people of Eritrea and sows evil in the Horn of Africa.
It is unfortunate that Abiy Ahmed and Mohamed Farmajo are now sitting behind Afwerki asking for advice on how to stay in power for many years. Abiy Ahmed was awarded the 2019 International Peace Prize, and Mohamed Farmajo was democratically elected by his country’s parliament, which remains politically unstable.
During his presidency in Eritrea, Afwerki invaded Sudan, Yemen, Djibouti and Ethiopia without any evidence of coercion.
Prior to 1998, the ONLF and Eritrea were not friends and on one occasion Eritrean forces clashed with ONLF forces in the Ogaden. The war in Eritrea-Ethiopia gave the ONLF a chance to gain an ally in the war against Ethiopia. ONLF Foreign Secretary Dr. Mohamed Sirad Dolal was immediately invited by the Eritrean government to Asmara where he met with Eritrean President Issaisa Afwerki and senior Eritrean military officials. Dr. Dolal promised the Eritrean government full support to intensify the ONLF’s war against Ethiopia. ONLF training camps were recently opened in Asmara, media training for Ogaden youth was also provided, and a Somali-language version of Eritrean Television was provided by Eritrean Television. Asmara was soon filled with young Ogadenis and ONLF leaders were given offices in Eritrea where they remained until 2018.
In 2004, Dr Dolal and the Eritrean government argued over the deployment of large numbers of ONLF troops inside the Ogaden. Dr. Dolal believed that it was inappropriate to send more troops inside to fight Ethiopia face to face. When it became clear that the Eritrean government had indirectly taken over the ONLF’s decision-making process, Dr Dolal said in an interview with Focus on Africa that “if only one government had decided on our political future we would have allowed it in Somalia.” As a result of the interview, Dr Dolal was detained in Asmara for five days and deported to Britain where he was living.
There have been rumors that top ONLF members have close ties to the Eritrean government, which means that the Eritrean government has a say in the ONLF’s political decisions. A dispute within the ONLF eventually led to the assassination of Dr. Dolal in the Ogaden.
For 20 years, Afwerki pretended to be loyal to the Ogaden National Liberation Front. Eritrea has supported Admiral Mohamed Omar Osman for 18 years as the leader of the ONLF. Eritrea’s military, financial and media support to the ONLF was in its own interests, and it later forced the ONLF to surrender to the Ethiopian occupation.
The ONLF’s 37 years of existence have ended in loss and remorse for the collapse of Admiral Mohamed Osman. The ONLF’s state of political existence is on the brink of collapse after its surrender in 2018.
The failure of the ONLF’s political agenda was masterminded by the dictator Issaias Afwerki. The ONLF is now in a state of political turmoil, fragmentation and loss of public trust. The ONLF has handed over 40,000 fighters, 10,000 seriously wounded, 8,000 unarmed fighters from Kenya’s refugee camps and 15,000 to Ethiopia. released from Ethiopian prisons. Supporters and leaders of the ONLF convinced themselves that a peace agreement had been reached with Ethiopia and all of them gathered in Addis Ababa and other towns in the Ogaden region, believing that the struggle for independence would continue peacefully inside Ethiopia.
75,000 ONLF fighters are in Jijiga and nothing has been done by the Ethiopian government. The ONLF’s agreement with Ethiopia includes the re-activation of the militants to start a new life.