After the first information on the ongoing conflict in Oromia, the reader is offered a series of news from the front, collected from various sources including the Oromo Liberation Army guerrilla formation, the armed wing of the Oromo Liberation Front. All news has been verified within the limits imposed by the heavy censorship on information imposed by the Ethiopian federal government.
After having put the spotlight on the secret war in Oromia, first informations where collected about this conflict that seems to be ignored by the major Western Meanstreams, perhaps in an attempt not to make people understand how serious the situation is in Ethiopia where the horrible conflict in Tigray it seems more and more the tip of the iceberg. Ethiopia is currently the victim of four conflicts. Central government versus federal states: Tigray, Oromia. Ethnic conflict in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, home to the mega dam GERD (Grand Ethiopian Renaissance). Interregional conflict between the states of the Afar and Somali Region (formerly Ogaden).
The information transmitted here comes from various sources including the Oroma Liberation Army, the armed wing of the Oromo Liberation Front which, three weeks ago, decided not to participate in the legislative elections scheduled for May or July 2021 in protest of the arrests of the majority of its political leadership. All news has been verified within the limits imposed by the heavy censorship on information imposed by the Ethiopian federal government.
In mid-March, the Oromo Liberation Army — OLA launched a series of surprise attacks in the Amaro district in southern Ethiopia and in the Guji areas of the Oromo regional state. At least eight people were killed by the attack. Among the victims of the attack there is Dagnachew Echala, head of the Amaro district office of the Prosperity Party, Abyi’s party.
OLA offensive becomes worrying at the end of March when 13 districts 70 km from the capital Addis Ababa fall under their control. The government, feeling threatened and short of men, is turning to the only major military force present in the country: the Eritrean army. The dictator Afwerki moves two divisions intent on fighting in Tigray, sending them to fight in Oromia. Eritrean divisions managed to stop the advance of the OLA on the capital but fighting continues in the western and southern districts of the state of Oromia.
Oromia War Bulletin.
Thursday 8 April 2021 The commander of the federal police Mangasha Abate, in charge of the reinforcement to help the ENDF (Ethiopian Federal Army), Eritrea’s army and the Amhara militias against OLA, was killed during a fight. His body was returned by the Oromo rebels to his family in Gojjam, Amhara state.
Wednesday, April 7, 2021. Violent fighting between OLA and feds troops north east of Meta Robi, western Shewa area, Oromia. The Oromo Liberation Army claims victory and the seizure of many weapons and ammunition.
Tuesday 6 April 2021. At least 30 buses full of Eritrean and Ethiopian soldiers arrived at Horo Gudru Welega village, Shambu area to join forces already deployed by Eritrea, federal government and Amhara leadership. The Oromo Liberation Front claims that the enemy forces they are facing would be made up of 25,000 heavily armed men.
Saturday 03 April 2021. President of the Oromo Liberation Front Jaal Dawud Ibsa’s bodyguards were arrested by the federal police in the town of Finfinee. Jaal Dawud has stated that he will not be intimidated and will continue his work without fear.
Thursday 01 April 2021. The OLA claims victory over a mixed Eritrean Ethiopian battalion made up of 300 soldiers who had launched an offensive on the western front in Oromia. The OLA claims to have repelled the enemy by inflicting heavy casualties.
The Adda Bilisummaa Oromoo ABO (known in the West as Oromo Liberation Front) was founded in 1973 by the nationalists of the Oromo ethnic group to promote the self-determination of Oromia against the feudal rule of the last Amhara emperor: Haile Selassie who a year later will be deposed and assassinated by young army officers who formed the Stalinist-oriented DERG military junta.
The ABO (OLF) was the fruit of over 70 years of Oromo guerrilla warfare against the Amhara Emperors. The Oromo are the main Ethiopian ethnic group. It represents 40% of the population. Of Bantu origin, perhaps from Kenya, the Oromo have always been in conflict with Tigray and Amhara Kingdoms. Subdued by the first Emperor of the Solomon dynasty: Menelik I, the Oromo have been repressed for centuries and considered second-class citizens.
Under the regime of Haile Selassie the OFL was banned from the institutions and not considered as a political party. The conflict also lasted throughout the period of the DERG dictatorship (1974–1991). In the late 1990s, the OLF and its armed wing joined the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and the Eritrea People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) in the fight against the DERG junta.
When the military dictatorship fell, the OLF participated in the ruling governmental coaltion Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) which brought together all the guerrilla groups that had fought aginst DERG, under TPLF leadership. The honeymoon between EPRDF — TPLF and OLF lasted only one year. In 1992, the OLF announced its withdrawal from the government due to the “harassment and murder of its members”. In response, the EPRDF arrested and killed many Oromo soldiers inside the barracks of the newly formed federal army with the (achieved) goal of significantly reducing the fighting power of the OLF and OLA. Suspicions about the instigator of these massacres fell on the TPLF Tigrinya leadership.
What remained of the OLF / OLA forces started a guerrilla war in Oromia. Despite the initial victories reported by the federal army, the numerical and armed superiority of the EPRDF, Addis Ababa government was unable to completely defeat OLF
In 2006, OLA guerrillas from southern Oromia were forced to retreat to Kenya in an attempt to reorganize themself. In the same year, Ethiopian Army Brigadier General Kemel Gelchu with 100 of his soldiers joined the OLF creating bases in Eritrea. Perhaps corrupted by the federal government in 2008, General Gelchu claimed leadership of the OLA and struck a peace agreement with the TPLF, ordering the Oromo guerrillas to lay down their arms and surrender to the government. The leadership of the OLF expelled General Kemel Gelchu from the party but lost all the guerrillas under his command in the Eritrean bases.
The Oromo Liberation Front managed to reunify its forces only in November 2012. In 2015, OLF launched a series of attacks in the city of Moyale in response to the attack suffered in the military camp of Sololo (Kenya) carried out by the Ethiopian federal army that had crossed the Kenyan border. In March 2018, the OLA / OLF troops launched a major offensive in western Oromia to better negotiate at the peace table. The agreement, that sanctioned the end of hostilities and the restoration of the OLF as a political party, was proposed by the newly elected Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali. The peace agreement ended the 45-year Oromo conflict, strengthening Abiy’s international image as a peacemaker and democratic reformer.
The armed wing of the OLF, dissatisfied with the peace negotiations, separated from the OLF and continued to carry out armed attacks. The Oromo guerrilla forces indulged in attacks against ethnic Amhara civilians, giving the Ethiopian Premier the opportunity to repress the Oromo population by starting to arrest some leaders of the OLF political wing accusing them of terrorism. In August 2020, the OLA was divided into two separate groups in the south and west of Oromia. With few men and scarce armament, the Oromo guerrillas no longer posed a threat to national security.
The OLA guerrillas were considered defeated until last March, when they managed to launch a general offensive with thousands of well-armed men. Having reached 70 km from the capital, the Ethiopian Premier asks for the intervention of two infantry divisions and a battleship offered by Eritrea to block the OLA offensive and save the capital Addis Ababa. Since then there has been an escalation of the Oromo conflict and the rapprochement between OLF and OLA.
OLA guerrillas leaders are Jaal Marroo, commander of the western front, and Jaal Gollicha, commander of the southern front. Containing them is Eritrean General Haregot Furzun, who commands the Eritrean divisions and those of the Ethiopian federal army. The Fano Amhara militiamen joined them. Oromia regional defense forces (under federal control) are little used in the fighting. Asmara and Addis Ababa do not trust their loyalty and fear that they may join the OLA guerrillas.
According to Oromia Conflict Update Twitter page, last week at least 400 (some sources say up to 600), Oromia Special Force troops have been arrested after refusing to fight OLA in West Shewa. Reports from the Southern Front also cite governmental forces suffering from mutinies, which are occurring more often on larger scales, as well.
Ironically, Eritrea has supported Oromo fighters for over a decade by training them at the OLF barracks in Qorioli, southern Somalia and ensuring regular supplies of weapons and ammunition. In 1999, the OLF / OLA fought alongside Eritrean troops in the Ethiopia — Eritrean war, attacking the federal army from the South Shabelle region of Somalia. It also provided propaganda support for Eritrea through its radios: SBO — Segalee Bilisummaa Oromoo and VOL — Voice of Oromo Liberation which broadcast in Afar, Oromo and Amarica languages.
On the social pages close to the OLF, the Oromo fighters spread war propaganda that portrays them as disciplined soldiers who do not mistreat prisoners, treat them and feed them sufficiently. Usually these news are associated by news of Oromo militiamen captured and shot down mercilessly by Eritreans, federal soldeirs and Fano militias. Impossible to assure the veracity of these information disseminated by the OLA that seems to much linked to war propaganda.
It is clear that Oromo guerrillas, reduced to a minimum a year ago, received large quantities of weapons and ammunition in order to launch a large-scale military offensive. For the “cannon meat” to be recruited there are no problems. Both the TPLF and Premier Abiy’s Prosperity Party have never solved the scourge of youth unemployment despite staggering double-digit economic growth for over 12 years. Thousands of Oromo youth are joining the OLA in the hope of a better future and life.
The capture of some Oromo guerrillas by federal soldiers has opened suspicion that Sudan is aiding the rebellion in Oromia. Captured guerrillas were founded in possession of Terab CQ 5.56 automatic rifles and 45 caliber bullets manufactured only in Sudan. OLF and the Kartoum government deny it, claiming it is fake news created by Addis Ababa. Another suspected supporter of the OLF / OLA is Egypt. There are strong suspicions that General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi would be using the Oromo guerrillas to weaken the Ethiopian government within the very dangerous dispute over the exploitation of the Nile waters and the mega dam GERD.
The umpteenth meeting between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt on the waters of the Nile held in Kinshasa (capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo) under the mediation of President Felix Tshisekedi ended on Tuesday without the long-standing disputes over dam reservoir t functioning and filling operations have been resolved. General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has issued a warning to Ethiopia. “The waters of the Nile River are untouchable. All options for defending the Nile and Egypt are now open “.