ASMARA (Halbeeg News) – Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) on Sunday announced that it has unilaterally suspended all operations using firearms to show its support for the ongoing political changes undertaken by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
The group welcomed ‘positive steps’ by the Ethiopian government saying it was committed to a peaceful negotiated settlement.
In a press statement, ONLF declared unilateral ceasefire which takes effect on Sunday.
“The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) declares a unilateral ceasefire from today 12:00 pm August 12, 2018,” the statement reads, And will cease all military and security operations directed against the Ethiopian security apparatus in the Somali territory.”
The rebel group called on the Ethiopian government to respond positively to end the hostilities.
“The ONLF calls Ethiopian government to reciprocate in kind in order to halt any further acts that could hamper the initiated peace process and hasten the proposed peace talks,” the group said.
The group based itself in Ethiopia’s neighbouring Eritrea for decades and insisted its armed operations were to defend Somalis in Ethio-Somali region.
ONLF claimed reaposibilityFor several deadly since the beginning of 1994 aimed at Ethiopian forces in Somali areas.
The region the ONLF operates in contains four trillion cubic feet of gas and oil deposits.
In 2007, Ethiopian forces waged a large-scale offensive against them after the group attacked a Chinese-run oil facility, killing 74 people.
China’s GCL-Poly Petroleum Investments has been developing two gas fields since 2013.
But the ONLF was among two other groups that were removed by parliament from a list of banned movements – part of a reform drive being led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who has extended an olive branch to dissidents.