One of the rebel groups in troubled Ogaden region of Ethiopia – the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) – has signed three-months ceasefire agreement with the government of Addis Ababa in Germany according to Somali source.
In a press conference held in Nairobi, the commander of the front’s armed wing, Mr Hussein Mursal told local reporters that a temporary ceasefire agreement has been reached between a wing of the ONLF led by Salahdin Abdulrahman Maow and the Meles Zenawi administration in a meeting between the two in Frankfurt, Germany, on the 15th of June. According to Hiiraan Online, the meeting was participated by members of Ethiopia’s federal government, state MPs from the Somali State of Ethiopia and the ONLF front.
Mr. Mursal said the deal includes a three-months temporary ceasefire designed to “prevent further loss of life” and a framework agreement for future talks.
Mr. Mursal concluded his press by requesting his men to halt all military activities against the Addis Ababa regime and the Somali State troopers until further notice from the leadership.
The announcement of the breakthrough was reconfirmed by Mr. Salahdin Maow, who is one of the leaders of the front, during an interview with VOA’s Somali services. During the interview Mr. Maow said the ceasefire is an important first step and it was his side that proposed the agreement. Mr. Maow has urged other leaders of the liberation front to endorse the agreement and try to emulate the terms and conditions on which the two sides agreed.
The exact details of the deal are not clear, but the fact the two sides have signed an agreement, which took in a neutral venue with a third neutral party mediator is a significant step forward in the peace process in eastern Ethiopia.
The Ogaden National Liberation (ONLF) was founded in 1984 as a social and political movement in the Ogaden province of Ethiopia which is inhabited by mainly Somalis. However many of the local Somalis who do not belong to the Ogaden tribe do not support the organisation and often accuse them of committing atrocities in the name of freedom.