Ethiopian government claimed to have killed and captured fighters including the logistics head  of Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF).

An ONLF unit crossing into the country through the southeastern border with Somalia was captured on Monday night, according to the statement from the government.  

Special police (Liyu police) of Ethio-Somali region confronted the ONLF unit in Shabelle (Gode) zone, Ferfer district, Farajano kebele, on Monday night at 11pm.

Four ONLF fighters, including the leader of the team, were killed, while three were captured, the government stated.

Ahmed Ismael (a.k.a. Ahmed Deri), logistics head of ONLF, is among the captured, the statement said. Adding that, seven heavy and light weapons were captured.

The ONLF unit was trained and deployed from Eritrea, the government said.

The government provided no further details.

Map - Ethiopia Somalia border
Map – Ethiopia Somalia border

The Special police (Liyu police) was established in 2008 as a part of counter-insurgency operations against ONLF. The force have been accused rights violations in the years since.

Last month, the police force killed dozens of civilians on the border with Somaliland, around Gashamo. Government sources claim the force was tackling contraband smugglers, yet admit it used disproportionate force. 

ONLF is a separatist group of Ethio-Somali region, which, it claims, “has been colonized” by Ethiopia. In 2012, Addis Ababa inked a peace agreement with the then chairperson of ONLF. Yet, another faction continued the insurgency.

According to a 2014 UN report, ONLF receives logistical support from Eritrea and established similar cooperation with Somalia’s Al-Shabaab.

The report claimed Eritrea channeled finance for ONLF through a bank in Dubai and United Arab Emirates at the time. Eritrean military official Colonel Tewelde Habte Negash and President’s aid Colonel Tesfaldet Habteselasie were listed in the report as being in charge of overseeing ONLF.


Daniel Berhane

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