JIGJIGA (Halbeeg News)-Over one thousand fighters of Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) has been merged with Liyu Police in Ethiopia’s Somali regional State barely three after the group’s leaders and Ethiopian authorities agreed to bury the hatchet.
In a ceremony held in Jigjiga town, ONLF disarmed 1,740 of its armed members.
The Somali state and ONLF also agreed to work together to end decades of poverty, human rights abuses and maladministration of the Somali people, according to local media portal Addis Standard.
Mohammed Mustafa Omer, the region’s president who hailed the move, remarked that ONLF’s disarmament is an essential chapter for peace and development of the region.
“This is a good sign that our people decided to join their hand in the development of this region, I hope everything from this moment will be trashed unwanted memory,” he said.
ONLF rebel forces were based in Eritrea, and they returned to Ethiopia about two months ago after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration called for armed opposition groups to return to the country and carry on their struggle peacefully.
The group was among two other groups that were removed by parliament from the list of banned movements – part of a reform driven by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who has extended an olive branch to dissidents.
On August 12, ONLF declared a unilateral ceasefire, and some of its members have returned to Ethiopia.
In 2007, Ethiopian forces waged a large-scale offensive against the group after they attacked a Chinese-run oil facility, killing 74 people.
China’s GCL-Poly Petroleum Investments has been developing two Gas fields in the Ethio-Somali region since 2013.